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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

MisenPOPic Special Analysis: We Are The World 25th Anniversary

I know I am probably beating a dead horse into the ground, but for some reason I am truly intrigued that Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie have decided to revive their massive hit single, We Are The World for an updated recording. If only Michael Jackson were still alive to be a part of the process since he also wrote the song with Lionel Richie. If you haven't heard already, since it's the 25th anniversary of the Grammy winning song that raised tons of cash for the starving people in Africa back in 1985, and of course since there is plenty of devastation in Haiti after the massive earthquake a few weeks ago, a new group of musicians went into the studio where the original tune was recorded yesterday to record an updated version of the song to raise money. The new version will be released to the world on February 12th during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics and it's expected to raise more than $50 million to aid Haiti.

The 1985 original featured the cream of the crop in the music world during the 80's with big names such as Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, and Kim Carnes (okay, well maybe they all didn't have staying power!) on board. It was a massive who's who of the top musicians during the 80's. And not one of them was asked to return to add their vocals to the new track. Although I do hope that Lionel Richie will sing the same opening line from the original, although it's doubtful.

Below is the list of performers broken into five groups which will be properly explained. The final list hasn't been announced and some of the names on here might be recording parts later in the week or might not be on the tune at all. There truly is a smorgasbord of artists from different genres and different decades, and the result may just be a massive train wreck that damages the reputation of the original classic.

BIG GUNS (The following are the pop stars participating in the project that make the most sense and have earned the right to sing on this classic. Whether I like or dislike the artists is irrelevant. What matters are they are to 2010 what Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis And The News, and Hall & Oates were to 1985):
Janet Jackson (It's confirmed that although she was not able to make the recording session, she will record her brother Michael's lines from the original)
Kanye West
Lady Gaga

Justin Timberlake (Of course!)
Josh Groban
Jennifer Hudson

Jordin Sparks
Lil Wayne (he is actually singing Bob Dylan's verse! Makes sense since both can't sing very well!)
Jamie Foxx

Jason Mraz

Miley Cyrus


Wyclef Jean

Nicole Scherzinger
Keri Hilson
Rob Thomas
Enrique Iglesias
Adam Levine from Maroon 5

Isaac Slade from The Fray (I hope he gets to sing Steve Perry's original verse)
Celine Dion (because she wasn't around for the original, and Voices That Care was just not good enough for her!)

I have heard mixed reports, but the following artists would make the most sense: Beyonce, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Fergie, Carrie Underwood, and of course God's gift to humanity, the one and only Bono who needs to set the record for singing on the most charity tunes of all time.

Music Legends (These are the legends of the music world who probably regret passing up the chance to be included in 1985):
Barbra Streisand (The fact that she blew off the original must have been killing her for years, especially since after declining to be a part of the original, she ended up on the Hands Across America tribute song a few years later which made very little impact!)
Carlos Santana
Natalie Cole

Gladys Knight
Ann & Nancy Wilson from Heart
Brian Wilson & Al Jardine from The Beach Boys
Tony Bennett

Patti Austin (yes you read that correctly! In 1985, absolutely! In 2010, what a joke! Maybe she just hid in the closet and hibernated at the Jim Henson studio in the late 80's and decided to come out at such an appropriate time as now.)

The Dan Aykroyd Crew (Actors who many people including me wonder what the fuck they are even doing there! The props go to Dan Aykroyd who was probably the most random person included on the original version of We Are The World! Although he did have some hit records as part of The Blues Brothers, so maybe it did make some kind of sense!)
Vince Vaughn (He definitely wins the Aykroyd award for the most random celebrity participating)
Jeff Bridges (Okay, we know he is going to win the Oscar for portraying a washed up country singer in Crazy Heart, but is there any other reason for him be a part of this?)
Rashida Jones (Well, she is Quincy Jones' daughter, so I guess a little nepotism can't hurt)
Nicole Richie (See above, only change Quincy Jones to Lionel Richie)
Randy Jackson (Okay I know he's a music producer and played bass for Journey in 1986, but if he's here, why not bring in Paula Abdul as well?)

The ???? List (Musicians who I know very little about, which obviously means what the fuck are they doing appearing on this song if only to use it as a springboard to gaining notoriety?)
Mary Mary
Melanie Fiona
Raphael Saadiq
Musiq Soulchild
Trey Songz
Ethan Bortnick
3T (Tito Jackson's three sons)
Jimmy Jean Louis
Sean Garrett

And last but not least, The WHAT THE #$#$! List (This list features the most people of which there is absolutely is no justifiable reason for any of them to be included)
Justin Bieber (Am I missing something here with this kid?)
Orianthi (She is talented and I predict big things for her! But just because you were Michael Jackson's guitarist for his tour which obviously never happened does not mean you should be participating)
The Jonas Brothers (I think their star has faded, maybe the right move to be included before we don't hear from them again until the Where Are They Now? VH1 5 special happens in 2030.)
Julianne Hough
BeBe Winans
Mya (Still trying to cash in on her Dancing With The Stars performance!)
Tyrese Gibson
Joel and Benji Madden (Huh? The only thing still keeping Good Charlotte relevant is Joel's marriage to Nicole. A big thanks is in order to his father-in-law)
Katharine McPhee (David Cook, Daughtry, or Taylor Hicks weren't available!)
Kid CuDi
LL Cool J
Snoop Dogg (Probably just showed up to see if he can score some premium hash!)
Faith Evans
Robin Thicke (I'm still on the fence about this one)
Zac Brown
Harry Connick Jr.

AR Rahman
One of the guys from Bone Thugz And Harmony

I truly can't wait to hear this song, but my expectations are really low! There isn't anybody performing on the new version that I care much about. Unlike 1985 which features many of my favorite artists of all time (Billy Joel, Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Lindsey Buckingham, Steve Perry, Huey Lewis, Hall & Oates, Stevie Wonder, James Ingram, Bruce Springsteen, Jeffrey Osborne, and Cyndi Lauper). A remade version of the song was eventually due, but would it be so wrong if some of the original musicians could be included on the update? How about a B side with the original musicians since all are still alive except Michael Jackson (who could be replaced by his sister or his gold digger brother Jermaine) and Ray Charles (put in John Legend and nobody would bat an eyelash!)?

We Are The World is one of my favorite songs off all time, and makes me reminisce about a time in my life when being a kid with no issues or responsibilities was so incredible. I still own my original 45 vinyl of the 1985 We Are The World recording, maybe I should cash in while it's hot. And I'm sure any reader under the age of twenty one has no idea what a 45 vinyl even means! Let's hope that this new version of We Are The World will mean to today's youth what the 1985 original meant to me.


  1. You took the words right outa my mouth! If they want to use all new singers, get a new song! I hope it does raise alot of money for Haiti, but I'm sure that it will never match up to the greatness of the original!

  2. exactly! For in this day and age of lack of creativity due to fear of losing money, it doesn't surprise me one bit that they just rehash this song with hopes of maybe building some new talent along the way. If they actually recorded it with a mix of new talent and original talent from the 1985 track, they might even make more money for Haiti. :)