A song written and recorded in 1985 to help raise money to benefit an African famine has made a smashing comeback 35 years later in the wake of COVID-19, which has become known as the coronavirus that has become a worldwide pandemic.
The lyrics of “We are the World” seem to ring true in early 2020 just like they did when the supergroup USA for Africa first recorded the song to raise money for a famine in Ethiopia.
The song was remade in 2010—the 25th anniversary of the song—to benefit Haiti earthquake victims. Lionel Richie, who was one of the original song writers along with Michael Jackson, has spoken stated he was open to doing another version during the coronavirus times.
First, here’s what the original song is about. It’s called “We are the World,” because, as the lyrics say, “we are the children, we are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start living.”
“There’s a choice we’re making,
We’re saving our own lives,
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me,” the lyrics continue.
USA for Africa was comprised of dozens of popular artists and other pop icons and actors in the mid-1980s, from Stevie Wonder to Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen to Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper to Huey Lewis and, well, so many famous artists like Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, James Ingram, Kenny Rogers, Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner and, well, here’s the original video from the group.
Though the video is 35-years-old, it did not stop viewers of YouTube from reacting to the song that still means the same today for the coronavirus pandemic, which has touched more than 400,000 people worldwide, is responsible for more then 18,000 deaths and most recently postponed the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics until 2021.
Here are some of the comments on the song’s YouTube page just in the last five days:
“This song and group of musicians has never been duplicated. Meaning is just as strong right now in 2020… 35 years later.”
“This song is so relevant now as the world is battling Covid-19
Sending love, light, healing to every country in the world. We will battle and defeat this virus!”
“I swear this song should be the a theme of this era. The people need this. We need this.”
“”When the world, must come together as one”
Exactly right now.
It’s not the time for hate, racism or anything. It’s the time for love and cure, we will overcome this.”
The song released in 1985 helped raise $100 million for Ethipioan famine relief. The remade version in 2010 for the Haiti earthquake relief fund was performed by some of the original 46 artists in USA for Africa, but more so from newer pop icons.
Richie told People magazine that plans were not in the works for another anniversary edition, but today’s coronavirus pandemic could call for one.
“Two weeks ago, we said we didn’t want to do too much [about the song] because this is not the time to sell an anniversary. But the message is so clear,” Richie said.