With the $9.98 "We Are the World" record album certified gold (500,000 copies sold) after only two days in the nation's record stores, 65 gospel music stars gathered in Nashville early Thursday to record their own anti-famine superstar charity-song record.
"We felt the Christian community dropped the ball because we should have been doing it first," said Bob Angelotti, director of publicity and special markets for Sparrow Records in Canoga Park and one of the organizers of the all-night gospel session.
All-star gospel singers join British rock, U.S. pop, reggae, Canadian pop and country and Western stars in what has become a music industry trend: gathering with peers for a marathon recording session to create records, videos and pictures to be sold to aid the sick and starving in six famine-plagued African nations.
At an all-star session featuring Julio Iglesias and Jose Feliciano, among many other international vocalists, the Latino answer to "We Are the World" will be recorded next week at A&M Records in West Hollywood.
The gospel choir, featuring Christian music stars including Amy Grant, Al Green, Sandi Patti, Evie, Phil Driscoll, the Second Chapter of Acts and the Imperials, recorded their song between midnight and dawn, following the Gospel Music Assn.'s presentation of its annual Dove music achievement awards. Country star Charlie Daniels was also scheduled to do a cameo solo on the record, according to Angelotti.
The song, "Do Something Now," was written by Sparrow recording artist Steve Camp. Sparrow will distribute both a 7-inch and a 12-inch 45 rpm version of the song, Angelotti said. Like the Jan. 28 overnight recording session for "We Are the World," the "Do Something Now" session was videotaped and will be packaged for sale as both a long-form home videocassette and a music video.
"Steve's feeling is that we should do something like this on a regular basis," Angeloti said.
All proceeds go to Compassion International, a child development agency that channels funds to organizations around the world for the education, feeding, clothing and counseling of children, according to Angeloti.
"But all the money for this project will go directly to Africa," he said. "The message (of the song) is that we need to do something now. It is a call for action to those of us eager to use our faith to help people."
The "We Are the World" single, which officially became No. 1 on the Billboard magazine weekly Top 100 this week, had sold more than 4.5 million copies as of Thursday. The foundation also had raised $16 million as of Thursday. Columbia Records, which distributes both the single and the album, announced Wednesday that the album had sold more than 1 million copies, though the Recording Industry Assn. of America has not yet officially certified the album platinum (1 million copies sold).
The single has been certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum by the RIAA.
The album version of "We Are the World" was recorded by 46 stars, including Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.
Pat Benatar, one pop star who was invited to the Jan. 28 "We Are the World" session, did not participate because of her pregnancy, but did announce this week that she is contributing the proceeds from her Top 10 single "We Belong" to the USA for Africa Foundation.
"Patty was beginning her eighth month of pregnancy, but the baby hadn't dropped and was pushing up on her diaphragm," said Rick Newman, Benatar's manager. "The baby was too high up, so Pat's voice wasn't."
Newman estimated that Benatar's share of the profits from "We Belong" totaled about $46,000. He said she would round it off and present a $50,000 check to the foundation.