Thirty-six years ago, a phenomenal cast of superstars banded together to raise money for humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the U.S. And thirty-six years later, “We Are The World” still gives us chills.
Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and produced by Quincy Jones, the charity single was recorded on this day in 1985 and released on March 7th of that year.
“We Are the World” went on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide and along with the associated merchandise, has raised over $63 million (roughly $147 million in today’s dollars) for humanitarian aid across Africa and in the US. It was the first ever single to be certified multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and today is the 8th best-selling physical single of all time.
While we’ve seen plenty of charity singles in the decades since, including “We Are The World 25 For Haiti”, none have the same superstar power that “We Are The World” still holds all these years later.
Here is a complete list of the artists who participated in the supergroup, dubbed United Support of Artists (USA) for Africa, with soloists in order of appearance.
“We Are the World” Soloists (in order of appearance)
“We Are the World” Chorus (alphabetically)
La Toya Jackson
The Pointer Sisters
“We Are the World” Instrumentalists
David Paich – synthesizers
Michael Boddicker – synthesizers, programming
Paulinho da Costa – percussion
Phil Collins – percussion
Louis Johnson – synth bass
Michael Omartian – keyboards
Greg Phillinganes – keyboards
John Robinson – drums
This article was updated on January 28, 2021 from a previous version.