"We Are the World" received worldwide radio coverage in the form of an international simultaneous broadcast in 1985.
Upon spinning the song on their local stations, Georgia radio disc jockeys, Bob Wolf and Don Briscar came up with the idea for a worldwide simulcast. They called hundreds of radio and satellite stations asking them to participate.
On the morning of April 5, 1985 (Good Friday of that year) at 10:25 am, over 8000 radio stations simultaneously broadcast the song around the world.
Everyone knows that song, its coverage was huge and it was one of the most memorable commercial successes.
In the next few weeks, the song goes to #1 in US and the UK.
The USA For Africa project began as an idea of the singer Harry Belafonte. His original concept was about a benefit concert, for victims of famine in Africa, featuring black musicians. Later, together with Ken Kragen, the project became wider, including the participation of other big artists, like Lionel Richie, in order to raise more money and make a bigger impact on the audience.
A talented trio dealt with the development of the project into a original song. The trio was made up of Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, who wrote this song, and Quincy Jones as a producer.
Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn't get a solo.
The song has just two verses and follows a basic structure of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus. E
ven though its simple structure, it became a commercial success due to the stars who took part in the project. In fact, on January 28, 1985, the night of the American Music Awards, the American music’s elite was all in town for the award. It was much easier to get all the artists together to record the single.
Just to mention some of them, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan and Ray Charles ….they all were featured on the song.
About that night, the Billy Joel’s words amaze:
"Most of us who were there didn't like the song, but nobody would say so. I think Cyndi Lauper leaned over to me and said, 'It sounds like a Pepsi commercial.' And I didn't disagree."