Stars gather to cover We are the World for Haiti

2010-02-02 09:59

More than 75 stars gathered to re-record the 1985 charity anthem We

are the World in the same Hollywood recording studio where the original was cut

25 years ago.

Pink, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole, the Jonas Brothers, Kanye West,

Tony Bennett, Jennifer Hudson, Akon and other musical luminaries stood shoulder

to shoulder yesterday on risers at Henson Recording studios, singing their

hearts out and hoping to help Haiti.

There were some conspicuous no-shows, including Beyonce Knowles,

Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga.

At one point during the session, the musicians broke out into an a

cappella version of the pop classic Lean on Me.

True to her diva reputation, Barbra Streisand recorded her solo

over and over, completely absorbed in the recording process and stopping only to

correct her pitch.

Rapper Lil’ Wayne was told he would do Bob Dylan’s part in the

original song.

“I said, ’Are you kidding?“’ he said. He felt blessed to record the

song but admitted, “I don’t know how to sing.”

Asked how the earthquake had affected him, he said he had Haitian

friends in Miami who lost relatives in the disaster.

“I think it’s amazing what’s been done for Haiti, but I think it’s

amazing what hasn’t been done for New Orleans,” said the Crescent City


Quincy Jones, who produced the 1985 anthem, announced last week

that he planned to redo the song to benefit recovery from the deadly January 12

earthquake in Port-au-Prince.

Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, the original We are

the World thundered up the charts when it was released on the radio and in

record stores in March 1985.

An unprecedented number of top pop musicians gathered at A&M

the night of January 28, 1985, following the American Music Awards, to record

the tune. The song featured 45 American superstars, including Jackson, Richie,

Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Bob

Dylan and Cyndi Lauper.

None of the original performers returned for the re-record.

The 1985 record raised more than $30 million for USA for Africa, a

nonprofit organisation founded by the singers to fund hunger relief in African


While reporters watched a video feed of the session in a nearby

room, stars like West mingled outside with friends and greeted his buddy, Snoop

Dogg, with a hug.

Nicole Richie and Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden showed up with

their 2-year-old daughter Harlow, whom Madden bounced in his arms to the beat of

the music.

Julianne Hough from Dancing with the Stars, who is also a country

singer, was only 3 years old when the original tune came out. She said she felt

honoured to lend her voice to the effort and sing next to so many talented


“It’s just iconic. Celine (Dion) is just so gracious and amazing

and such a pro,” she said.

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