Classics Du Jour


We Are The World: In Order of Appearance

Thirty-seven years ago, a phenomenal cast of superstars banded together to raise money for humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the U.S. And thirty-seven 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.

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“We Are the World” Soloists (in order of appearance)

Time codes indicate start of first solo

Lionel Richie – 0:26
Stevie Wonder – 0:39
Paul Simon – 0:43
Kenny Rogers – 0:53
James Ingram – 0:59
Tina Turner – 1:06
Billy Joel – 1:13
Michael Jackson – 1:19
Diana Ross – 1:32
Dionne Warwick – 1:48
Willie Nelson – 2:02
Al Jarreau – 2:09
Bruce Springsteen – 2:15
Kenny Loggins – 2:21
Steve Perry – 2:28
Daryl Hall – 2:36
Huey Lewis – 2:48
Cyndi Lauper – 2:54
Kim Carnes – 3:02
Bob Dylan – 3:48
Ray Charles – 4:27

“We Are the World” Chorus (alphabetically)

Dan Aykroyd
Harry Belafonte
Lindsey Buckingham
Mario Cipollina
Johnny Colla
Sheila E.
Bob Geldof
Bill Gibson
Chris Hayes
Sean Hopper
Jackie Jackson
La Toya Jackson
Marlon Jackson
Randy Jackson
Tito Jackson
Waylon Jennings
Bette Midler
John Oates
Jeffrey Osborne
The Pointer Sisters
Smokey Robinson

“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

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This article was updated on January 28, 2022 from a previous version.

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