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We Are The World: 25 For Haiti

by

Artists For Haiti



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This is a remake of the benefit single for victims of famine in Africa in 1985. The new version was recorded in support of Haitian earthquake relief. Prior to the quake that devastated the country on January 12, 2010, Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie had planned to organize a re-recording of "We Are the World" on January 28, 2010 - the 25th anniversary of the original recording of the song. However, because of the disaster these plans were postponed. The new version of the song was recorded on February 1, 2010 with proceeds initially going to the newly formed charity We Are the World Foundation LLC, before being distributed to Haiti.
Added to the original song's inspirational lyrics are a newly penned hip-hop break penned by LL Cool J that makes reference to the Haitian earthquake. "Mr. [Quincy] Jones just called me and asked me if I would take a shot at writing the hip-hop section or the rap section of the song," LL Cool J told MTV News. "And I took a shot at it and recorded it."
Will.i.am and Kanye West also wrote another section of the rapped middle eight. The whole rap section starts with Cool J and Snoop Dogg and Will.i.am and Xzibit and West and Lil Wayne, then goes into Will.i.am and West trading lines with each other.
Here are the artists who took part: Akon, India.Arie, Patti Austin, Tony Bennett, Justin Bieber, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Ethan Bortnick, Brandy, Jeff Bridges, Zac Brown, Kristian Bush, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick Jr., Kid Cudi, Miley Cyrus, Snoop Dogg, Drake, Earth Wind & Fire, Faith Evans, Melanie Fiona, Jamie Foxx, Sean Garrett, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Groban, Anthony Hamilton, Keri Hilson, Julianne Hough, Jennifer Hudson, Enrique Iglesias, LL Cool J, Randy Jackson, Taj Jackson, Taryll Jackson, TJ Jackson, Al Jardine, Joe Jonas, Kevin Jonas, Janet Jackson, Kanye West, Nick Jonas, Rashida Jones, Gladys Knight, Adam Levine, Jimmy Jean Louis, Benji Madden, Joel Madden, Mary Mary, Katharine McPhee, Jason Mraz, Mya, Jennifer Nettles, Orianthi, Freda Payne, Pink, A. R. Rahman, Nicole Richie, Raphael Saadiq, Carlos Santana, Nicole Scherzinger, Isaac Slade, Trey Songz, Musiq Soulchild, Jordin Sparks, Barbra Streisand, T-Pain, Robin Thicke, Rob Thomas, Usher, Vince Vaughn, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Will.i.am, Anne Wilson, Brian Wilson, Nancy Wilson, BeBe Winans, Lionel Richie, Wyclef Jean, Celine Dion, Quincy Jones, RedOne, Ricky Minor.

A couple of quick tid-bits:
At 83 years old, Tony Bennett was the elder statesmen on the recording, while 15-year-old Justin Bieber who opened the song was the youngest.
Miley Cyrus is the only artist to feature on both this song and the "Everybody Hurts" Haiti benefit singles.
Rapper Lil Wayne said in the media room after the recording that he was surprised when told he would be singing Bob Dylan's part from the original. He said: "When I got here, I was like what am I doing, will I be rapping or what? Then they told me I was doing Bob Dylan's part and I was like, you guys are real good comedians. But I approached it the best way I knew how. Did I do a better job than Bob Dylan? Hell, no. But after I did his part, it hit me that this was something way more important than I could ever imagine."
Grammy-winning producer RedOne, who is best known for his collaborations with Lady Gaga, told MTV News that when he received a phone call from Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones, asking him to produce a remake of "We Are the World," he was in complete shock. "I was like, 'Oh my God!' " he said. "This is Lionel and Quincy, you know, the fathers of music, of hits, of music, of charity, of everything. It was big. So that night, before I started working on it, I had nightmares about the whole track. 'They didn't like it. Oh, they need a new track.' But, thank God, they loved it."
RedOne added: "I just keep the class of the original one. But I didn't want to change any course. I didn't want to mess it up, because it's too good. I tried to keep it on the same level and tried to make it sound more now and current. I kept the whole chord progressions, the feeling and the vibe, but brought fresher sounds that are more now."
Despite passing away in June of the previous year, Michael Jackson not only features on the hook, but he also makes a cameo appearance on the music video, in which he appears posthumously in a split-screen with his sister Janet Jackson joining him. The idea of putting him in the project came from Michael's mother Katherine Jackson and Janet. Richie said to Access Hollywood of Michael's duet with Janet, "It was all put together with fabulous choreography. It's magical." (The late King of Pop co-wrote the original "We Are The World" with Lionel Richie).
The song premiered on US TV channel NBC on February 12 during their coverage of the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Executive producer Randy Phillips told Billboard magazine about the talent booking for the song: "When you're doing these things, one person tells you an act's in, another person says they aren't, it's always a fluid thing until you get there. All of these things come together like that, much of it at the last minute. [Barbra] Streisand came in the day before. Of the list we went after, I'd say we ended up with 80% of the people we wanted."
Artists For Haiti
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Comments (1):

Talk about taking a song that was already bad and making it even worse! The original "We Are The World" was not "Imagine" by any means, but lots of talented artists were on board there...Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Ray Charles. (And hey, if Elvis were alive, he'd be on there too!) But this completely unnecessary re-recording is another story. 95% of the artists here are terrible. They rely on the horrible Autotune for some of the singers, including Lil Wayne. They even up the ugliness ante by including RAP! And there is no excuse to have Tony Bennett and Justin Bieber on the same recording. If you really felt bad for Haiti (and I did), why not just send money to the poor country instead of wasting it on this abomination?
- Miles, Vancouver, Canada
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