We remember "We Are the World" - hear the original Michael Jackson demo

In March of 1985, an incredible collection of artists called USA For Africa followed the lead of the UK's Band Aid ("Do They Know It's Christmas"), and released a song that aimed at both spotlighting and raising money for famine victims in Africa.  "We Are The World" was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. And in a stroke of genius, super producer Quincy Jones brought together the biggest musical stars in the world to record it privaately on the night that they gathered for that year's Grammy Awards.

The song went on to become one of the most famous and revered of all time, and was the feature on an charity album that topped the charts. Importantly, it also raised more than $60 million for the cause.

In March of 1985, an incredible collection of artists called USA For Africa followed the lead of the UK's Band Aid ("Do They Know It's Christmas"), and released a song that aimed at both spotlighting and raising money for famine victims in Africa.  "We Are The World" was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. And in a stroke of genius, super producer Quincy Jones brought together the biggest musical stars in the world to record it privaately on the night that they gathered for that year's Grammy Awards.

The song went on to become one of the most famous and revered of all time, and was the feature on an charity album that topped the charts. Importantly, it also raised more than $60 million for the cause.

We all know the incredible final version, captured in a video that became a staple on MTV and later on YouTube. But fewer people have heard the original demo recorded by Michael Jackson, which includes significantly different lyrics on the verses. The demo, while a bit rough, gives a sense of the legendary song that it would become, and is pretty fascinating in its own right.

Below is the original Michael Jackson demo, as well as the familiar video of the final version. At a time when the USA seems to be as politically and socially divided as it has been in our lifetimes, it is heartening to remember one of the many times, like this, when the nation has come together for a cause that we could all get behind. Enjoy.

 
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