Photo: Henry Diltz (photographer). Distributed by Columbia Records. - Public Domain

‘We Are The World’ Documentary En Route

The Greatest Night in Pop is the forthcoming documentary surrounding the history of the 1985 charity smash, “We Are the World.” 

Premiering at the Sundance film festival on January 19, and streaming on  Netflix come January 29, The Greatest Night in Pop will feature a massive amount of previously-unseen footage that lays out the “We Are the World” story from its initial planning stages through to the all-star recording session in Los Angeles. The film will cover Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson’s writing sessions and the work that went into getting 46 of the globe’s biggest music stars in the same studio on the same day to record the iconic song.

Producer Quincy Jones famously placed a sign on the door to the studio that read “Check your egos at the door,” and The Greatest Night … ” will feature interviews with several of the artists who appeared on the song, including Richie, Bruce Springsteen, Smokey Robinson, Cyndi Lauper, Dionne Warwick, Huey Lewis, and Kenny Loggins, and the session musicians, engineers, and production crew, who share their recollections. 

Following the success of the Band Aid charity Christmas single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” “We Are the World” was the brainchild of Harry Belafonte, who came up with the idea. The song was recorded on Jan. 28, 1985, at Hollywood’s A&M Studios (now known as Henson Studios), with many of the artists heading to the session following that night’s American Music Awards. 

Upon its March 1985 release, “We Are the World” became one of the biggest songs ever made, selling 20,000,000+ copies worldwide and becoming the first single to earn multi-platinum certification from the RIAA. It is estimated that the song helped raise over $63,000,000 million in 1985 dollars for humanitarian aid in Africa. 

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Author: Saul Goode

Photo: Henry Diltz (photographer). Distributed by Columbia Records. – Public Domain