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Is the World Still Listening? : A 10th-anniversary celebration of the recording of 'We Are the World' is scheduled for January.

October 30, 1994|Steve Hochman

We're barely done with Woodstock '94 and already there are plans for another anniversary reunion: USA for Africa '95.

Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie and Tina Turner are among those expected to be on hand Jan. 30 at the A&M Records lot in Hollywood for a 10th-anniversary celebration of the recording of "We Are the World," the song written by Jackson and Richie to benefit African famine relief.

Recorded Jan. 28, 1985 by an all-star cast (including Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan) in an all-night session following the American Music Awards telecast from the Shrine Auditorium, the song helped raise more than $100 million.

Ken Kragen, one of the project's original organizers, hopes that the reunion will rekindle that spirit.

"The legacy we want to leave was that what we did worked, it wasn't enough (to end hunger), but it did work," says Kragen, who managed Kenny Rogers and Richie, among others, at the time. "We want to say to people that you can do something to save lives."

The reunion will again follow the American Music Awards telecast, and that show will itself feature a tribute to USA for Africa, likely including appearances by some of the original performers. Kragen says that other events planned to mark the occasion include a worldwide simultaneous radio broadcast of "We Are the World" and a one-hour television special recapping the recording session and showing how the funds have been spent.

Kragen says that the last of those funds will be distributed to a variety of charities that night.

But with all those stars at a recording facility, won't someone get them to do a new song?

"There are no plans at the moment, but you never can tell," says Kragen. "But that's not the objective of this. The objective is to use the anniversary to do some positive good. This was a success . . . and we want to draw attention to what else is going on out there and let people know the process will work."

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