Today in 1985, We Are The World was recorded

‘I am responsible for two of the worst songs in history. One is Do They Know It’s Christmas? and the other one is We Are The World.’ – Bob Geldof

Today in 1985, the recording took place for We Are The World the US equivalent of Band Aid at A&M Studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie the all star cast included Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, (who contributed four lines to the charity single), Ray Charles, Daryl Hall, John Oates, Cyndi Lauper, Steve Perry and Bob Geldof. The session was produced by Quincy Jones.

On January 24, 1985, after a day of pre-recording rest, Jones shipped Richie and Jackson’s vocal guide to all of the artists who would be involved in “We Are the World”‘s recording. Enclosed in the package was a letter from Jones, addressed to “My Fellow Artists”:

The cassettes are numbered, and I can’t express how important it is not to let this material out of your hands. Please do not make copies, and return this cassette the night of the 28th. In the years to come, when your children ask, ‘What did mommy and daddy do for the war against world famine?’, you can say proudly, this was your contribution.

Upon entering the recording studio, the musicians were greeted by a sign pinned to the door which read, “Please check your egos at the door”. They were also greeted by Stevie Wonder, who proclaimed that if the recording was not completed in one take, he and Ray Charles, two blind men, would drive everybody home.

The song hit #1 on the Australian, Canadian, Dutch, Ethiopian, Irish, French, Italian, New Zealand, Norwegian, Swedish, Swiss, Thailand, UK and US Single Chart. Only on the Austrian Singles Chart did it reach #2.