In 1985, Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson brought together dozens of major artists to record a song they had written for famine relief in Africa. 35 years later, “We Are the World” is hitting home again for Richie amid the Coronavirus outbreak.
The 70-year-old told People the message of the song is relevant again and he wants to bring new attention to it one way or another.
“What happened in China, in Europe, it came here,” he said. “So if we don’t save our brothers there, it’s going to come home. It’s all of us. All of us are in this together,”
Richie says he has thought about writing a new song, but he always comes back to the original lyrics, especially: “There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives.”
“Two weeks ago, we said we didn’t want to do too much because this is not the time to sell an anniversary. But the message is so clear,” he said. “’We Are the World’ is a statement we wanted to make. What do we do to save our own?”
The original “We Are the World” included a who’s who roster of star musicians including Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Huey Lewis, Steve Perry, Diana Ross and Willie Nelson. The single sold more than 20 million copies, topped music charts around the world and raised more than $60 million.
Richie didn’t say what his specific plans were for current times, but he knows he wants to help victims of the coronavirus.