This may have been the most impressive group to ever assemble in a recording studio. It happened in January 1985. After the American Music Awards a group of musicians gathered at the A&M Studios in Hollywood, California to record a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, “We Are the World.” The single was a worldwide success that raised over $63 million for famine relief in Africa (wikipedia.) The nature of the cause, Michael Jackson’s enormous 80’s star power, and Quincy Jones’ power of persuasion, were no doubt the reasons that so many musicians took part. It was amazing to watch the interaction of people like Diana Ross and Bob Dylan, or Stevie Wonder helping Bob Dylan work out his solo, so seeing Ray Charles improvising on the theme during a break. In the 80’s it was easy to like Michael Jackson, he was on top of the world, and regardless of what happened later, his charity saved coutless lives, his dancing set a new standard, and along with Quincy Jones he created some very memorable music. So for a few minutes, forget Neverland, Thriller and Bad and enjoy this special event.
the end result
UPDATE: Feb 2010 – I just interviewed the session guitarist who played on all of Michael Jackson’s early hits with the Jackson Five. If you are a Michael Jackson fan you’ll be interested in his account of young 11 year old Michael Jackson in the studio. Check it out.
The Pointer Sisters