We are the world...
March 10, 2015 4:56 PM   Subscribe

It's been a long winter, everyone's a little loopy, and that's probably as good a reason as any for the Internet to have delved into the 30th anniversary of "We Are the World" a bit more (and more entertainingly) than strictly necessary:

Rolling Stone offers A Minute by Minute Breakdown of We Are The World featuring some pretty excellent details about Cyndi Lauper's jewelry and Billy Joel's least favorite key.

Vulture ranks the 37 contributors

The Atlantic reminisces about a time when music was allowed to be unironic.

And Boston radio station WZLX provides a brief history of other charity supergroups.

(Previously on the blue, we discussed the 25th anniversary remake of the song.)
posted by Stacey (32 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
The eternal question when I think of this song still is (and always has been): "What is Dan Aykroyd doing there??" I mean, Blues Brothers and all, but Dan Aykroyd? And I say that as a big Aykroyd fan.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:08 PM on March 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've always preferred the incredibly juvenile We Are the Weird...
posted by ropeladder at 5:09 PM on March 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Earlier on this evening, Richie had hosted the American Music Awards, where Prince's Purple Rain beat out Michael Jackson's Thriller in the category of favorite pop/rock album.
. . .
According to Richie, during a break from recording, when Ray Charles asked where the bathroom, Wonder said, "I'll show you where it is, Ray. Follow me!" Wonder took Charles by the hand and led him down the hall to the appropriate door, while the other stars watched gobsmacked at the blind literally leading the blind.

The Rolling Stone article is full of good stuff.
posted by Atom Eyes at 5:11 PM on March 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


More grist for the Stevie-Wonder-isn't-really-blind conspiracy theory.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:13 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The whaaat??
posted by Atom Eyes at 5:24 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ohhh, so that explains it...

Hello, Dan Aykroyd! Wait — Dan Aykroyd?! With a jacket, tie, and big glasses, looking like a junior accountant more than a movie star? Admittedly, he did have a Number One album (Briefcase Full of Blues, with the Blues Brothers in 1978), which is more than some people in the room could claim. So how did he end up as part of USA for Africa? "Totally by accident," he told New Hampshire Magazine in 2010. "My father and I were interviewing business managers in L.A. and we walked into this office of a talent manager" — presumably, Kragen — "and realized we were in the wrong place. I was looking for a money manager, not a talent manager. I managed myself at that time and always have. But he said, so long as you are here, would you like to come and join this 'We Are the World' thing? I thought, 'How do I fit in here?' Well, I did sell a few million records with the Blues Brothers and in my other persona I am a musician, so I showed up and was a part of it."
posted by Servo5678 at 5:55 PM on March 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


It my ongoing effort to tie every FPP to an episode of Yacht Rock, I present the Finale of Yacht Rock, Episode 12:

But I Just Want To Help Save A People
posted by creade at 6:05 PM on March 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Long winter? A couple rainstorms and the rest of the time sunny, warm, clear and dry? Grrrr.
posted by telstar at 6:09 PM on March 10, 2015


I was gonna protest Daryl Hall's ranking on the Vulture list, but you know what? They're right. It's his standard awesome singing.

Besides, he did better on the "Sun City" single (and that's a much better song).

Then again, "We Are the World" wasn't nearly as culturally tone-deaf and condescending as was what I call "That Other Song", so bless. "Sun City" named names and called out bullshit, though, so it will always be the socially-conscious pop tune done by a parade of legends that's dearest to my heart.
posted by droplet at 6:11 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the Rolling Stone article immensely, but I have to add to the chorus of "Ohhh, THAT'S why Danny Aykroyd was there. Because he showed up! OF COURSE."
posted by Ruki at 6:12 PM on March 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, not gonna lie, when I get super nostalgic for the 80's, usually at like, two in the morning when I should be sleeping, I bring this video up on YouTube.
posted by Ruki at 6:13 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Michael followed by Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, then Kim Karnes! Wow! Seriously, The most versatile voices of those times. Loggins to Perry, to Hall was great, but Loggins to McDonald would have been better. I'm watching it again now.
posted by Flex1970 at 6:22 PM on March 10, 2015


My favorite part of "We Are the World" has always been the Doonesbury cartoon. Since it didn't really have any meaningful illustration, just imagine one of the characters explaining that it was interesting watching all these superstars come together... interrupted by someone off-"camera": "No, Miss Ross, ALL egos have to be checked at the door."
posted by IAmBroom at 7:15 PM on March 10, 2015 [2 favorites]




Ah, memories.
Jimmy Kimmel and Bette Midler discussed this. He's right, she didn't belong in LaToyaville. http://youtu.be/EjDEfubFBmA
posted by NorthernLite at 7:46 PM on March 10, 2015


See also the post on "Do They Know It's Christmas"
posted by Sys Rq at 8:34 PM on March 10, 2015


I've always loved that all of the singers in "We Are the World" give it their all when doing their solos, even when it's just a line or two. Cyndi Lauper is actually jumping up and down. And that all the Jacksons were there.
posted by orange swan at 8:38 PM on March 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


"We believe it's time for caring people who care about people to stand up and be counted... As Joey Ramone If you're not in it, you're out of it." Won't you please lend a hand? Hands Across Your Face.
posted by stargell at 8:58 PM on March 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Randy Newman
posted by Sys Rq at 9:29 PM on March 10, 2015




And then SNL made a skit where Prince, who was a no-show, made his own video.
posted by Quaversalis at 12:38 AM on March 11, 2015


From the other side of the pond, I feel its important to point out that We Are The World would never have happened if Do They Know Its Christmas hadn't been a massive huge runaway success way beyond anyone's expectations two months previously.
posted by memebake at 2:50 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


That bit in the Rolling Stone article about Prince being offered a solo line and turning it down is the first I've heard of that; I always thought that he'd been stuck in the chorus and declined for the implicit insult that it was.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:34 AM on March 11, 2015


There's a good article here about Prince's no-show, evidently he was being a bit of a dick that night. He did however contribute a track to the We Are The World album.
posted by memebake at 6:40 AM on March 11, 2015


I still unironically love this song. It's really a catalog of the greatest pop voices of the 80s at their absolute peak.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:35 AM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Besides, he did better on the "Sun City" single (and that's a much better song).

That is a bar set too low to limbo under.
posted by y2karl at 12:39 PM on March 11, 2015


the other stars watched gobsmacked at the blind literally leading the blind.

This still bothers me for its "look at him doing tricks" tone. Is it really that surprising to either the people in the room or to Rolling Stone that a blind person would have good spatial awareness and memory?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:24 PM on March 11, 2015


Eh, I'd take 'Do They Know It's Christmas' over 'We Are The World' any day of the week. The former is a well-meaning but genuinely weird piece of British megastar pop, while the latter is a bombastic exercise in American ego hegenomy. And as noted above, the Brits did it first anyway.

And while we're on the topic, the contribution by my fellow Canucks to the "Save Africa" sweepstakes -- 'Tears Are Not Enough' -- was little more than elevator muzak with a cameo by Geddy Lee. I am loathe to admit it, but upon retrospect it is horribly true.

posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 5:07 PM on March 11, 2015


And while we're on the topic, the contribution by my fellow Canucks to the "Save Africa" sweepstakes -- 'Tears Are Not Enough' -- was little more than elevator muzak with a cameo by Geddy Lee. I am loathe to admit it, but upon retrospect it is horribly true.

It's been a long time since I've seen that. I'm kind of surprised the calibre of stars is as high as it is; I'd have assumed the roster was more along the lines of that godawful O Canada superslog with Rita MacNeil and Maestro Fresh Wes.

I mean, heck, most of the participants are even recognizable! There's Gordon Lightfoot, Burton Cummings, Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, some guy with a beard, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, two other people, Ronnie Hawkins (the t-shirt helped) and some other people, Corey Hart (who is ridiculous), some Quebeckers probably, Bruce Cockburn, Geddy Lee, not Lionel Richie, dunno, the singer from Rough Trade and some other guy, the hair from Platinum Blonde and Martha of the Muffins and someone else, that guy again (oh, I think maybe it's the Loverboy guy?), "yeaagh!," and I think Andy Kim is in the crowd there, and hey there's Paul Shaffer, and Jane Sibery, and a gigantic blue sweater, and that guy in the hat (Gordon something, I think), and is that Eugene Levy in the back?, and some guy with a moustache who can sing real high.

In all honesty, although it's boring as all get-out, it's my favourite of all of these.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:40 PM on March 11, 2015


I have to admit, the lyrics of "Tears Are Not Enough" are the best (by which I mean, the least cheesy and offensive) of the three songs.
posted by orange swan at 6:59 PM on March 11, 2015


You couldn't pull this sort of thing off today; most of today's pop stars are a bunch of no-talent divas who need a computer to correct their pitch.
posted by Renoroc at 10:38 AM on March 12, 2015


Renoroc: You couldn't pull this sort of thing off today; most of today's pop stars are a bunch of no-talent divas who need a computer to correct their pitch.
"You couldn't pull this sort of thing off today; most of today's pop stars are a bunch of no-talent divas who need a microphone to reach the back seats."

"You couldn't pull this sort of thing off today; most of today's pop stars are a bunch of no-talent divas who need printed music to learn the tune."

"You couldn't pull this sort of thing off today; most of today's pop stars are a bunch of no-talent divas who need words to chant to Oo-Ra."

Plus ca change.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:23 PM on March 15, 2015


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