Song Lyric Sunday | “We Are the World” – USA for Africa

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “unity”. 


Penned by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, and produced by Quincy Jones, We Are the World was written specifically to raise funds for famine-stricken and disease-plagued Africa following the success of Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? UK-project.

The recording took place on the night of the American Music Awards, January 28th, 1985. This was the perfect way to assure that most of the artists would all be free on a single date.

The instrumental tracks were recorded ahead of time and sent out by Jones to the interested musicians. With each tape, he sent a letter that stated they should “check their ego at the door.” When they arrived in the studio, there was a piece of tape on the floor for each person to stand on, arranged around six microphones in a semi-circle.

800,000 copies arrived in stores on Tuesday, March 7th 1985. They were sold out by the first weekend. It entered the Billboard Hot 100 on March 23rd, at number 21. At the time it was the highest debuting single since John Lennon’s Imagine and was number one in three weeks, which at the time was the fastest rising chart-topper since Elton John’s Island Girl in 1975. It was the eighth consecutive year the Lionel Ritchie had written a number one song. At the 1986 Grammy Awards, the song and its accompanying music video won four awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Music Video, Short Form. We Are the World would raise more than $63 million ($141 million, adjusted for inflation), of which 90% was sent to Africa.

We Are the World’s video is one of my all-time favorites! So much God-given talent in one room at one time! Fans and children of the 80s can appreciate seeing Dionne Warwick and Willie Nelson, Kenny Logins and James Ingram, Billy Joel and Tina Turner, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dyan, just to name a few, blend their own styles together to sing a song which would sell more than twenty million copies. In a couple of video scenes Hollywood icon, Harry Belafonte, can be seen  in the top back row of the group. Belafonte is recognized as the original organizer of USA for Africa.


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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

 “We Are the World/USA For Africa”

Written by Michael Joseph Jackson and Lionel Richie, Produced by Quincy Jones

There comes a time when we heed a certain call (Lionel Richie)
When the world must come together as one (Lionel Richie & Stevie Wonder)
There are people dying (Stevie Wonder)
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life (Paul Simon)
The greatest gift of all (Paul Simon/Kenny Rogers)

We can’t go on pretending day by day (Kenny Rogers)
That someone, somehow will soon make a change (James Ingram)
We’re all a part of God’s great big family (Tina Turner)
And the truth (Billy Joel)
You know love is all we need (Tina Turner/Billy Joel)

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let’s start giving (Michael Jackson)
There’s a choice we’re making we’re saving our own lives (Diana Ross)
It’s true we’ll make a better day just you and me (Michael Jackson/Diana Ross)

Well, send’ em your heart so they know that someone cares (Dionne Warwick)
And their lives will be stronger and free (Dionne Warwick/Willie Nelson)
As God has shown us by turning stone to bread (Willie Nelson)
And so we all must lend a helping hand (Al Jarreau)

We are the world, we are the children (Bruce Springsteen)
We are the ones who make a brighter day so let’s start giving (Kenny Logins)
There’s a choice we’re making we’re saving our own lives (Steve Perry)
It’s true we’ll make a better day just you and me (Daryl Hall)

When you’re down and out there seems no hope at all (Michael Jackson)
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall (Huey Lewis)
Well, well, well, let’s realize that a change can only come (Cyndi Lauper)
When we (Kim Carnes)
stand together as one (Kim Carnes/Cyndi Lauper/Huey Lewis)


(additional ad-lib vox by Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, James Ingram)

 Artists who participated in USA for Africa
  • Dan Aykroyd
  • Harry Belafonte
  • Lindsey Buckingham
  • Kim Carnes
  • Ray Charles
  • Bob Dylan
  • Sheila E.
  • Bob Geldof
  • Hall and Oates
  • James Ingram
  • Jackie Jackson
  • LaToya Jackson
  • Marlon Jackson
  • Michael Jackson
  • Randy Jackson
  • Tito Jackson
  • Al Jarreau
  • Waylon Jennings
  • Billy Joel
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Huey Lewis and the News
  • Kenny Logins
  • Bette Midler
  • Willie Nelson
  • Jeffery Osborne
  • Steve Perry
  • The Pointer Sisters
  • Lionel Richie
  • Smokey Robinson
  • Kenny Rogers
  • Diana Ross
  • Paul Simon
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Tina Turner
  • Dionne Warwick
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Michael Boddicker – Synthesizers, Programming
  • Paulinho da Costa – Percussion
  • Louis Johnson – Bass
  • Quincy Jones – Producer
  • Michael Omartian – Keyboards, Producer
  • Greg Phillinganes – Keyboards
  • John Robinson – Drums


Compiled from Google, Wikipedia and

9 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday | “We Are the World” – USA for Africa

  1. Still the best after all these years! A lot of people complained when modern artists remade this for the devastation in Haiti, but I think it spoke to the fact that you can’t top this song, there’s no better sound and no better lyrics. Thanks, Fle, I’d forgotten the whole lineup and it was fun to feel the surprise again of “oh, look it’s… and there’s…! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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