by Greg Cunningham
The world must come together
“Check your egos at the door.”
This sign, inscribed by Quincy Jones, greeted 46 world-famous singers who showed up at the A&M Studios in Los Angeles the night of January 28, 1985, to record We Are the World for USA For Africa to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. A drought of a magnitude never seen in the region had caused famine-scale food shortages. Thousands were dying every month and horrific images of starving children haunted nightly news broadcasts around the world.
The song soared up the charts as soon as it was released, juiced by a promotion hatched by Georgia DJs Bob Wolfe of WROM-AM and Don Briscar of WKCX-FM that brought it to a wide audience, including President Ronald Reagan aboard Air Force One.