Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The original was recorded back in 1985 for African famine relief, and included Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson (who co-wrote the tune with Lionel Ritchie), Cyndi Lauper, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan. The original was a patchwork quilt with an eighties sheen, synthesizer washes and drum machines, but somehow it all came together.

We Are The World, 1985

The song is back, this time to benefit victims of the earthquake in Haiti. There are plenty of new singers this time around, probably half I've never seen before. Kanye West is in there, and Pink, and Celine Dion, and Jennifer Hudson, some American Idol types, and even a couple of oldies, Tony Bennett and Barbara Streisand. Jamie Foxx does his award-winning Ray Charles impersonation. There is a phalanx of rappers to keep it real toward the end. Thanks to digital trickery, Michael Jackson returns to sing his part, and relying nearly as much on modern technology, Lil Wayne sings the Bob Dylan part with the robotic help of Auto-Tune. So what happened? They've kept the sheen, but the plane never quote leaves the runway. Lil Wayne is no Bob Dylan. Even so, I hope it raises lots of money for the Haitians.

In case you were in a coma in the eighties, or off celebrating Reaganomics and missed it, here is a reprise of the original.

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