USA For Aftrica
In 1985, USA - United Support of Artists, comprised of 46 major artists - formed and
sang, "We Are The World," to raise money to feed starving people in the U.S. and Africa, especially to help famine relief efforts
"We Are the World" was written by Michael Jackson & Lionel Richie,
and produced plus conducted, by Quincy Jones.
Harry Belafonte initiated the idea. His manager, Ken Kragen, suggested the multi-artist
approach, inspired by the success of the British super-group Band Aid and their 1984 fundraising single "Do They Know
The performers gathered at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood, California, on January
28, 1985. Kragen selected the night of the American Music Awards to ensure as many artists as possible could attend.
Jones famously advised them, in his written invitation, to "check your egos at the door." In all, 45 musicians attended
the recording session, plus Bob Geldof, who had arranged the Band Aid effort in the United Kingdom.
Lead vocals were rotated among 21 of the 46 major artists who supported this cause..
In the order of their singing appearance, they were Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram,
Tina Turner, Bill Joel, Michael Jackson. Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, All Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny
Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan, and last but not least Ray Charles
Columbia Records donated its manufacturing & distribution costs to the effort.
- "We Are the World" hit stores on Tuesday, March 7, 1985.
- All 800,000 copies sold out before the end of the weekend.
- It debuted at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart .
- On Good Friday in that year, April 5, more than 5,000 radio stations simultaneously played
- The song first charted March 23 1985.
- It became the #1 U.S. Hit single on April 13, 1985.
- It was the #1 Hit for 4 Weeks and on the Top 40 for 12 weeks.
- It was the #1 Adult Contemporary Hit for 2 Weeks.
- It was the #1 R&B Hit for 2 Weeks.
- It was the #1 Hit Single in sales for 5 weeks.
- It was the # 1 Hit Single in airplay for 4 weeks.
The single sold 7.5 million copies ( 7X Platinum) in the US. It was released on
an album, We Are the World, which sold over three million (3X Platinum) copies.
The song won three Grammys for the year of 1985
Including revenues from the single, album, video and merchandise,
"We Are the World" raised about $50 million for famine relief.
The entire roster of USA, United Support of Artists follows: 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 Loggins, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, Jeffrey Osborne, Steve Perry, The Pointer Sisters,
Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, Stevie