We Are The World documentary now streaming on Netflix, 'The Greatest Night in Pop'

Recorded by the supergroup USA for Africa, "We Are The World" sold over 20 million copies, making it the 9th best-selling physical copy single of all time.
Cover Of The 'We Are The World' Album
Cover Of The 'We Are The World' Album / Blank Archives/GettyImages

The charity single "We Are The World" was written by two of the 20th Century's most significant musicians, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, seven weeks after the release of the UK charity band Band-Aid's release of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Produced by Quincy Jones, "We Are The World" brought together some of the most famous musical talent from the 80s to raise funds for famine relief in Africa.

On January 29, 1985, the supergroup USA for Africa recorded the single that would break records for best single, best selling, and more, while bringing together what is perhaps the most star-studded lineup in music history.

USA For Africa Button
USA For Africa Button / Blank Archives/GettyImages

Netflix recently released a documentary, The Greatest Night in Pop, which chronicles the recording session of the single that took place in only one night. The doc features archival footage of the recording session with interviews from some of the stellar talent involved, including Lionel Richie, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, and Kenny Loggins.

Directed by Bao Nguyen and Julia Nottingham, the same team who are responsible for the acclaimed Bruce Lee documentary Be Water, The Greatest Night in Pop does its best to convey the shear magnitude of talent, from many different musical backgrounds, that joined together to create something extraordinary.

Released on March 7, 1985, "We Are The World" was an anthem that brought more attention to the plight of those in dire need in Ethiopia and Sudan and, within four months, raised $10.8 million from record sales alone. Others donated outside of record sales, which amounted to approximately $ 1.3 million during that time.

The Album We Are The World was released in April 1985 and featured several other singles by outstanding performers like Steve Perry, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Prince & the Revolution, Tina Turner, and more.

We Are The World track list

Side one

  1. USA for Africa – "We Are The World" (Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie)
  2. Steve Perry – "If Only For The Moment, Girl" (Randy Goodrum, Steve Perry)
  3. The Pointer Sisters – "Just A Little Closer" (Robbie Nevil, Mark Mueller)
  4. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – "Trapped" (Live at Meadowlands, August 6, 1984) (Jimmy Cliff) 

Side two

  1. Northern Lights – "Tears Are Not Enough" (David Foster, Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance) 
  2. Prince & The Revolution – "4 the Tears in Your Eyes" (Prince) 
  3. Chicago – "Good for Nothing" (Richard Marx, Robert Lamm, David Foster) 
  4. Tina Turner – "Total Control" (Martha Davis, Jeff Jourard)
  5. Kenny Rogers – "A Little More Love" (Thom Schuyler, J. Fred Knobloch) 
  6. Huey Lewis and the News – "Trouble in Paradise" (Live in San Francisco on February 21, 1985) (Johnny Colla, Bill Gibson, Chris Hayes, Sean Hopper, Huey Lewis, Mario Cipollina) 

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