Music News from ABC

Lionel Richie says ‘We Are the World’ doc brings “tears to my eyes”

Courtesy of Netflix © 2024

The Greatest Night In Pop, a new documentary about the making of the star-studded 1985 charity single “We Are the World,” will hit Netflix on January 29. And Lionel Richie, who co-wrote the song with Michael Jackson, says witnessing the film being put together has made him cry.


“It just brings tears to my eyes because some of us are not here anymore,” Lionel told Variety. Some of those who sang on “We Are the World” have since passed away — Ray Charles, Kenny RogersTina Turner and Harry Belafonte, to name a few — but for Lionel, one particular loss hurts the most.

“Michael’s not here,” Lionel said. “There should be another guy sitting here … I need him here to tell you the funny parts about it. Because in all of this, we were just two creatives having the best time of our lives, pulling from the universe.”

In addition to Lionel, the documentary features interviews with many of the other participants, including Huey LewisKenny LogginsSmokey Robinson, Bruce Springsteen and Dionne Warwick, as well as never-before-heard recordings of Lionel and Michael writing the song, which raised millions for famine relief in Africa.

“We actually were making a difference,” Lionel noted. “So to see the naive version of ourselves, when we actually had an ‘aha moment’ that we might take all this celebrity and change the world … I’m just emotional about it, because I get to watch my kid being born again.”

Asked who he’d like to put in a new version of “We Are the World” today, Lionel said it would have to be not just a singer, but a stylist — someone who you’d recognize right away. He came up with just two names: Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.

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