Brad Sundberg Gives A Lesson About The Level Of Quality Control For MJ’s Studio Projects

Sources: In The Studio With Michael Jackson | Edited By – All Things Michael


I wrote a note to a good friend of mine describing the amount of quality control we used to put into our studio projects, and how fanatical (in the best sense of the word) Bruce Swedien and Michael were about getting the records to sound just right. You see, once the recording is finished, there were still two major steps left in the process before the music would reach the consumer: mastering and actual physical production.

School is in session!

Mastering is when the final mixes are cut onto an acetate (record), or prepped for CD or streaming distribution. It is a unique step in the process, as mastering engineers use their experience and tools to make the mixes sound as good as possible for consumers. Master engineers EQ the mixes, and sometimes add a bit (or a lot) of compression. They are sort of a “second set of ears” to prep the product for the public.

At the conclusion of an MJ album, Bruce would have acetates mastered by Bernie Grundman in Hollywood. Bernie has mastered many/most of Bruce’s projects over the years. We would then evaluate them back in the studio. Many of you already know the story about how “Thriller” (before my time) failed at this point – as the mastered vinyls sounded so thin compared to the studio mixes. This was due to the physics how wide the record groove has to be to produce the low frequencies Bruce wanted vs. the allowable length of music that can fit on each side of vinyl. That’s why a spoken word album (vinyl) with very little low end could be a lot longer in length than a musical album with a lot of bass and drums. In CDs and steaming, this is not an issue – but it was back then.

Once they passed the initial acetate test, they would be sent off to a record pressing plant, like the MCA plant that used to be in Gloversville, NY. Gloversville would create something called the “Mother and Father”, to create the vinyls from. This is where Bruce’s attention to quality really comes into play. Most production teams would basically trust that the plant would handle everything fine, and maybe go on vacation. Not Bruce.


Before the record went into full production, a test run would made and those test units would be sent back to us in the studio. Bruce insisted that we evaluate those test units before giving the green light for full production.

For HIStory, I custom built a listening system in the studio, consisting of a Technics SL1200 turntable, Shure cartridge, Sony Professional CD player, Sony consumer Mini Disc player, Nakamichi MR-1 cassette deck, Crown Pre-amp, Bryston 4B amplifier, and a pair of new Westlake BBSM-8 monitors. It was great sounding, but not so high-end as to be far above what most consumers would use.

For many days I had one of the best jobs in NY, sitting in a comfortable chair with fresh coffee listening (carefully) to each song in a very quiet studio. And getting paid to do it! In essence, I had to be Bruce’s and Michael’s “ears”, to either reject or approve each sample.

Just for fun, I went back and re-read some of my notes, and we rejected several of the first pressings of HIStory album – mostly discs one and two. They were rejected several times, until the plant got them just right. Disc 1 B and Disc 2 B were also rejected due to a problem with the intro to the first song sounding too thin on both. The other discs were approved for each run. I have note from 4-20-95 saying that “Todd from Gloversville found a problem with the stamper and created a new one. I remember feeling quite justified that my ears did not trick me – the plant found a problem!

Bruce and I went through this exact same process for the cassettes from the Carrollton plant, CDs from the Pittman plant and Mini Discs (!) from Terra Haute. I actually visited the Pittman plant personally and met with some of the engineers. HIStory was such a huge run, everything had to be as close to perfect as possible.

I don’t know of any other artist that went to anywhere near this level of quality control. The associated costs with keeping us in New York – at the Hit Factory – for an extra week couple weeks of product evaluation had to have been huge. I wasn’t complaining, but this could have been done at a Holiday Inn in Barstow, but we were all set up at Hit Factory, so it was easier just to stay. I have a notebook full of notes and comments from the various product runs. Funny how seriously we took every detail, but Bruce was insistent on an amazing product. I think it showed.

New York is just over three weeks away! Tickets for our full-day seminar are available at

Keep The Faith!



Super Bowl Halftime: Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Paul McCartney And Others Ranked From Best To Worst

Sources: -By Mia Watkins | All Things Michael


It’s almost that time again. While the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots prepare to meet each other on the field at this year’s Super Bowl, Katy Perry is gearing up to take the field as well as the halftime show headliner.

She has some big shoes to fill. The show has become a beacon for pop culture history throughout the years, crossing genres and creating controversy.

Here are some of the of the Super Bowl halftime shows ranked from best to worst:

1. Michael Jackson (1993)

Well, it’s the King of Pop. Who is really surprised here? Michael Jackson took the stage in 1993 to perform a dizzying and show-stopping array of hits ranging from “Billie Jean” to a touching version of “Heal The World” complete with audience participation.

2. Prince (2007)

The Purple One may not have moonwalked his way across the stage, but he still put on a great show armed with his guitar, twin dancers and even a special appearance by Florida A&M University’s marching band. His closing number, “Purple Rain,” brought the house down, despite the, ahem, rainy weather.

3. Beyonce (2013)

Beyonce’s performance at New Orleans’ Superdome was so hot, the stadium’s generators couldn’t take it. No, really, the power went out as soon she got off the stage. Queen Bey, along an army of dancers and an all-girl band, stormed the stage for a full 15 minutes. Destiny’s Child even reunited much the audience’s surprise.

4. Janet Jackson (2004)

It’s easy to forget out how good this performance is amid the surrounding controversy.  Jackson, along with guests Nelly, P. Diddy (or whatever he’s going by these days), Kid Rock and Justin Timberlake put on a pyro-heavy and exciting show. The conclusion of the show may have sparked the downfall of Jackson’s music viability, but it also gave us a new phrase for a nip slip.

5. The Rolling Stones (2006)

Rock legends The Rolling Stones went without the usual trappings of a halftime show and relied solely on the hits and frontman Mick Jagger’s sweet dance moves. They rocked the crowd from the time they opened up with “Start Me Up” until closing with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

6. Bruno Mars (2014)

Many said he couldn’t pull it off, but boy did he prove them wrong. Relative newcomer to the pop world Bruno Mars introduced America to his flashy brand of showmanship with a concise performance of his hits so far. Special guests The Red Hot Chili Peppers added a little edge with their trip down memory lane with “Give It Away.”

7. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (2008)

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers is another halftime act that just relied on the music to see them through the performance. Guitar-heavy songs such as “Won’t Back Down,” “American Girl” and “Free Fallin” translated well in a stadium setting and through TV.

8. U2 (2002)

U2 dedicated their turn on the halftime show to those lost in the September 11thterrorist attacks. The group performed songs such as ” Beautiful Day” and “Where The Streets Have No Name”  in a touching and uplifting tribute that honored each victim by displaying their names on a huge screen behind the band.

9. Paul McCartney (2005)

Yes, Paul McCartney is a legend. But, was he really the right fit for a show known for its high energy? Following the previous year’s “wardrobe malfunction,” the network and the NFL went in the polar opposite direction with meh results.

10. Aerosmith (2001)

This performance was just all over the place. From strange cameos from Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler to the awkward version of “Walk This Way” featuring NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly, it kind of came off as everything that was wrong with the early aughts.

11. Madonna (2012)

Madonna is the kind of artist who is seemingly made for something like the halftime show. While football fans might not be her target audience, she has the hits and the stage presence to put on a good show. Seems like a no-brainer, right? It is until you add guests such as Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., LMFAO, Cee Lo Green and about 50 other acts with disastrous results.

12. The Black Eyed Peas (2011)



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Superbowl History Slideshow

Billboard Poll: Vote For Michael Jackson As The Best Super Bowl Halftime Show Ever!

Sources: Billboard – By Elia Leight | All Things Michael

Michael Jackson Performs At Super Bowl XXVII Halftime Show - January 31, 1993

It’s Super Bowl week, which means everyone needs to make important decisions. Who are you rooting for? Which Super Bowl party are you going to attend? And what’s the best Super Bowl halftime show of all time?

That’s right: Katy Perry will be playing at this year’s event, joining a group of previous halftime show performers that includes the biggest names in pop: Prince,Paul McCartney, and Madonna, among others. Which of Perry’s predecessors was most memorable? Beyonce, whose show famously shut down the power? Michael Jackson, who changed the Super Bowl halftime show tradition forever?

Vote here.

We Are the World: The Artists Who Were There Share Things You May Not Know

Sources: USA Today – Brian Mansfield | All Things Michael


The all-star recording session for We Are the World, the biggest charity single of all time, took place 30 years ago Wednesday.

On Jan. 28, 1985, at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood, following the American Music Awards, more than 40 artists gathered to record a song Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson had written to raise awareness of widespread, life-threatening poverty in Africa. Most of that show’s winners — including Cyndi Lauper,Hall & Oates, Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis, Willie Nelson, Tina Turner, the Pointer Sisters, Kenny Rogers and the Jacksons — participated.

Inspired by the U.K. all-star charity single Do They Know it’s Christmas?, released a few months earlier, We Are the World was released March 7, 1985, and went on to sell more than 20 million copies. The more than $75 million raised by non-profit organization USA for Africa helped to fight poverty on the continent. The song also won three Grammy Awards in 1986, including song and record of the year.

“A great song lasts for eternity,” says Quincy Jones, who produced the track. “I guarantee you that if you travel anywhere on the planet today and start humming the first few bars of that tune, people will immediately know that song.”

Here are 12 things you might not know about the song and the recording session:

Stevie Wonder, not Michael Jackson, originally was supposed to be Richie’s co-writer.

“I was really trying to get in touch with Stevie and couldn’t do it,” Richie says. “Stevie was touring a lot. He was doing a lot of stuff.” A phone call with Jones got him and Jackson involved. “I got Michael before I could get Stevie,” Richie says. “We said, ‘If Stevie calls me back, we’ll get him in. In the meantime, I think we can get it done with Michael.’ ”


Richie and Jackson listened to national anthems to get in the proper frame of mind to write.

“We didn’t want a normal-sounding song,” Richie says. “We wanted bombastic, the biggest thing you got.” Knowing they needed to create something that immediately sounded important and had global appeal, they prepped for their songwriting sessions by listening to national anthems from several countries, including the USA, England, Germany and Russia. “We put all that into a pot in our heads and came up with a rhythm that sounded familiar, like a world anthem. We wanted people to feel like it was a familiar song. Once we got that — show business, man.”

The We Are the World recording session caused Richie to forget the American Music Awards.

Maybe it was just sleep deprivation — after all, the session began at 9 p.m. and lasted 12 hours — but Richie claims to have no memory of hosting that night’s American Music Awards ceremony and winning five awards, including favorite pop/rock male artist. “I walked through that door, and I forgot I had done that,” he says. “The group of people in that room was so mind-changing. There’s Bob Dylan, Billy Joel — give me a freaking break. I had never in my life experienced anything like that.”


It may have been a massive gathering of celebrities, but few other people knew the session was taking place.

Many of the singers arrived in limousines, having just come from the awards show, but not everybody showed up in style. “I think Bruce Springsteen parked his truck in the parking lot of the Rite-Aid or a grocery store that used to be across the street,” Richie says. “He parked over there and walked in. He didn’t know you could come through the gate.” The logistics of such a session would be exponentially more difficult in the era of cellphone cameras and social media. “Today, you couldn’t keep that a secret,” Richie says. “You’d have to have a full-on runway, and everybody would have to check their phones.”


Most of the singers had never heard the song before walking into the studio.

“We did not have MP3s,” Richie says. “We had cassettes back then. We had to send it to you, so most of them had not heard the song.” After all, Richie and Jackson had just barely finished the song in time for the initial tracking session held a week previous at Kenny Rogers’ studio. Even Rogers hadn’t heard it: “We didn’t know what we were going to sing until that night,” he says. Hall & Oates’ John Oates, who sang in the backing choir, says, “It had the anthemic quality and the simplicity of melody that made pulling off a giant ensemble like that very easy to do. And it was a room full of amazing singers, so that wasn’t exactly a problem.”


Sam Emerson Collection

The choir roster had its roots in Donna Summer’s State of Independence.

The choir for Summer’s 1982 hit, which Jones produced, included Jackson, Richie, Wonder, James Ingram, Kenny Loggins and Dionne Warwick, all of whom also appeared on We Are the World. “I was on familiar ground,” Jones says. “If I hadn’t worked individually with over half of these singers before, there was no way I would’ve signed on.”

As one of the song’s writers, Richie got dibs on his solo line.

“Quincy said, ‘Now, Lionel, where would you like to come in?’ ” Richie recalls. “I said, ‘Are you kidding me? I’m coming in first, so I can get out of the way!’ ” According to Richie, the session’s secret hero was Jones’ vocal arranger, Tom Bähler. Before the session, he had listened to the recorded output of each of the soloists, determined their vocal ranges, then identified which melodic phrases best suited their registers. “The parts they assigned fit the vocalists really well,” Rogers says. “I couldn’t have done the stuff that was done at the end that Steve Perry did. They were incredibly well-laid-out.”

When Ray Charles spoke, everybody listened.

“Ray Charles, being who he was, commanded a certain deference and respect from everyone, even though he didn’t assert himself in any weird way,” Oates says. “He was just standing in the middle, doing his part. Lionel, Michael and Quincy were running the show. It was their song, their production, and everyone was very respectful, trying to make it happen. There were moments when people — and I will not name names because it’s not worth it — in the chorus started to put their producers’ hats on. They started to say, ‘What if we did this?’ and ‘What if we did that?’ Coming up with ideas. It was obvious it was a complicated thing to pull off in general, and having too many cooks in the stew would be a giant catastrophe. Ray, every once in a while, would just pipe up: ‘C’mon. Hey. Let’s go. Listen to Michael. Let’s get this thing done.’ He was there to sing, and he sensed that it could go south very quickly. He commanded a lot of respect, and I thought that was very cool.”

Bob Dylan was nervous about singing his solo.

In a one-hour behind-the-scenes documentary produced to coincide with the release ofWe Are the World, there’s a surreal scene in which Stevie Wonder sits at the studio piano, imitating Bob Dylan to Bob Dylan to help him get the phrasing for his “There’s a choice we’re making” solo phrase. “Dylan turned to me and Stevie and said, ‘How do you want me to sound?’ Richie recalls. “We were all kind of doing it, and we wanted to make sure we didn’t insult anybody.” Oates, who stood directly behind Dylan while the chorus was recording, remembers him being anxious about singing his solo. “He’s not a melodic guy, and it was a very specific melody,” Oates says. “I think he felt uncomfortable singing that particular melody, and he worked around it in his own way.”


Kenny Rogers wanted to get everybody’s autograph.

“Once we sang it all the way through and realized how well-thought-out it was, we realized it was something special,” Rogers says. “So I took a sheet of music from the session and started getting people to sign it. Once I started, Diana Ross started, then everybody was running around trying to get everybody. It’s framed on the wall of my house in Atlanta.” Oates, who also got an autographed chart, echoes Rogers almost word for word: “I have it framed in my studio in Colorado. When people come in and see it, they freak. I made sure I got everybody. I even got Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder to sign it. For once, I had the presence of mind to do something like that, and it’s one of my most treasured possessions.” Jones’ signed sheet music hangs in his den: “It always makes me smile when I look at it and start reading those names.”


That “Check your egos at the door” sign turned out not to be necessary.

That’s what Jones says. “Here you had 46 of the biggest recording stars in the entire world in one room, to help people in a far-off place who were in desperate need,” he says. “I don’t think that night, that experience, will ever truly be duplicated again. I know and believe in the power of music to bring people together for the betterment of mankind, and there may be no better example of this than the collective that was We Are the World.”


USA for Africa is still around.

Thirty years after We Are the World, USA for Africa still works on behalf of communities in Africa. Recent initiatives have addressed climate-change issues, arts campaigns and the shipment of medical supplies to Liberia and Sierra Leone to combat the spread of ebola. Royalties from We Are the World continue to be the organization’s primary source of funding. “We still earn, but certainly not the kind of money we earned 25 years ago,” says executive director Marcia Thomas, who joined the non-profit in 1986 to work on Hands Across America, another USA for Africa initiative. “Our biggest support in terms of where We Are the World is bought most frequently is not in the U.S. but other parts of the world, primarily Japan and Asia.”

We Are the World soloists, in order of appearance:

  • Lionel Richie
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Paul Simon
  • Kenny Rogers
  • James Ingram
  • Tina Turner
  • Billy Joel
  • Michael Jackson
  • Diana Ross
  • Dionne Warwick
  • Willie Nelson
  • Al Jarreau
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Kenny Loggins
  • Steve Perry
  • Daryl Hall
  • Huey Lewis
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Kim Carnes
  • Bob Dylan
  • Ray Charles

These people sang in the chorus: Dan Aykroyd, Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham,Mario Cipollina, Johnny Colla, Sheila E., Bob Geldof, Bill Gibson, Chris Hayes, Sean Hopper, Jackie Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson, Waylon Jennings, Bette Midler, John Oates, Jeffrey Osborne, Anita Pointer, June Pointer, Ruth Pointer and Smokey Robinson.


“One of the only things regrettable about this whole 30-year anniversary is that Michael’s not here to share his part of it,” Richie says. “There was a lot of craziness happening with us and a lot of silliness. I’m just sorry he’s not here to share it.”


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Billboard’s Hot 100’s Hottest Weeks: January ’83 With Michael Jackson

Sources: Billboard – By Rich Appel | Edited By – All Things Michael


With Billboard’s Hot 100 closing in on its 2,950th week since its August 4, 1958 debut, it seemed the right time to spotlight the strongest individual weeks in the Hot 100’s close-to-57-year history. We’ve examined every Hot 100 looking for standout weeks in each decade or era, those where a larger-than-usual number of songs listed made a lasting impact, where music and chart history was made.

Kicking it off is this week from 32 years ago. January 22, 1983’s Hot 100 saw the beginnings of a British invasion nearly as powerful as that which brought the Beatles to America, the transformation of one of pop’s youngest superstars into a bona fide “Thriller,” and an exciting mix of pop, rock, R&B and dance songs now widely regarded as classics, making for a wild ride on the Hot 100.

Return with us to when President Ronald Reagan was bargaining with the then-Soviet Union about missiles in Europe, gas was weeks away from falling to below $1 a gallon (could history repeat itself?), nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty dominated TV viewing, Dustin Hoffman was anything but a drag in box office champ Tootsie, and no one cared about the Washington Redskins’ name as they were headed to a Super Bowl victory over the Miami Dolphins.

The Girl Is Mine – Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney (peak postion)

The superstar duo began and ended the year with hits at the No. 1 or No. 2 position. Mac ‘n Jack’s “Girl” collaboration was the first of seven singles taken from Jackson’s Thriller album, which had entered the Billboard 200 album chart just a month earlier. While we never did find out who got the girl (not unlike Brandy and Monica‘s 1998 teaming for the gender-flipped “The Boy Is Mine), we do know neither was able to add the song to their tally of chart-toppers, as both “Down Under” and Daryl Hall and John Oates‘ “Maneater” (see No. 6) kept “Girl” out of the No. 1 spot (although it did reach the top of the R&B singles chart). No songs on the Hot 100 stood in the pair’s way at the close of 1983, though, when “Say Say Say,” the kickoff single from McCartney’s Pipes Of Peace album, camped out at the top for six weeks.


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31 Years Ago Today – Michael Jackson Is Burned During Pepsi Commercial

Sources: Inquisitr | All Things Michael


Did you know that 31 years ago in entertainment history, Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire while making a Pepsi commercial in front of 3,000 fans?

Apparently it was the fault of stage pyrotechnics and the King of Pop suffered pain from this incident right up to his early death, 24 years later. It happened in the sixth take for the commercial and can be seen clearly in the video above.

BT reports that it was in 1984 when 25-year-old Jackson, along with members of his famous family, was filming a staged concert performance as part of a new  Pepsi advertising campaign.

While the performance was ongoing, sparks from a pyrotechnic explosion on the stage caught and ignited his hair. In the video it is possible to see stage hands and Jackson’s brothers pushing him down and extinguishing the blaze.

Michael was immediately rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for emergency treatment. At the hospital his doctor, Steven Hoefflin, said Jackson was “noted to be quite shaken up with palm-sized area of second-degree and small area of third-degree burns” on his head.

After doctors treated Jackson’s wounds, he was then given several different painkillers, as well as a strong sedative to calm his nerves and aid his sleep.

At the time the incident happened, Michael Jackson was right at the peak of his career. He had released his popular album Thriller at the end of 1982 and won a record eight Grammy awards in February.

It turns out that the Jackson brothers had signed an advertising deal with Pepsi in November of the previous year, which was worth $5 million. Apparently after the unfortunate accident, Pepsi gave Michael $1.5 million compensation for his ordeal, which the King of Pop then donated to the Brotman Medical Center, another of the medical facilities that treated him during the burn incident.

According to 1070WINA, other iconic incidents on January 27 in the past include such happenings as John Lennon recording Instant Karma in 1970. In 1991, Whitney Houston sang the Star-Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl, although it later turned out she had sung over a recorded version of the emblematic anthem.

Rather more tragically, on this day in 1968 Otis Redding’s song (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay was released, just six weeks after he was killed in a plane crash.

Of interest to note, the Inquisitr reports that former child star, Alfonso Ribeiro, aka Carlton from ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” appeared in another of the Pepsi commercials with Michael Jackson, which commercial is included below, without any dangerous pyrotechnics.

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The 10 Most Memorable Super Bowl Halftime Performances

Sources: Crave Online | Edited By – All Things Michael


Around the world on February 1st, football fans will tune in for Super Bowl XLIX – the 49th iteration of America’s biggest game – when it kicks off in Arizona. Millions of fans will celebrate the annual ritual of stuffing our faces full of artery-clogging goodness as we scream at the television in support of our would-be champions, marvel at the insanely expensive commercials and take in the over-the-top spectacle that is the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

This year, Katy Perry will be the focal point of the Halftime Show, which is often more about spectacle than the performance itself. But she’s got her work cut out for her when it comes to entertaining tens of millions of people either on a beer run, a bathroom break or those less-than-patiently waiting for the game to get back in motion. As history shows, Super Bowl Halftime Show performances can be hit or miss – whether through Janet Jackson’s nipple exposure or the jaw-dropping perfection of Michael Jackson’s 1993 performance.

To get into gear for yet another major halftime adventure on Game Day, Crave is recounting the 10 Most Memorable Super Bowl Halftime Performances, in order of excellence. Check it out!

Michael Jackson, 1993

When we’re telling our grand kids about Michael Jackson in the future, we’ll reference a few video moments from his iconic run as the King of Pop: his first-ever moonwalk in 1983, his various legendary music videos, and quite possibly his 1993 Super Bowl Halftime performance.

Appearing onstage at the Rose Bowl, Jackson stood motionless for a full 90 seconds while over 100,000 fans went absolutely crazy with excitement. His high-octane medley of “Jam,” “Billie Jean” and “Black or White” utterly awed an unjaded, pre-internet America. Then MJ rocked a snippet of “We Are The World” as the crowd turned over cards revealing drawings by the children of Los Angeles, concluding with “Heal the World,” while surrounded by 3,500 youngsters, as a blow-up globe deployed on the 50 yard line.


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“We Are the World” On Its 30th Anniversary: 5 Things To Know

Sources: People – By Michael Miller | All Things Michael


Thirty years ago, 45 of the biggest (and most diverse) names in American pop music came together on Jan. 28 to record a song with one purpose: ending famine in Africa.

The song was called “We Are the World” and megastars like Michael Jackson,Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, and many more gathered together to record the track in one legendary night.

“We Are the World” sold over 20 million copies and won numerous awards, including three Grammys – but the most important number is the money it raised: an unprecedented $63 million for humanitarian aid.

In honor of the song’s 30th anniversary, here are five amazing facts about the extraordinary circumstances of its recording:

1. The song wasn’t fully written until the night before recording.
Jackson and Richie – who co-wrote the song – finished the lyrics and melody on the night before their deadline. “I love working quickly,” Jackson later said of the process as quoted in Michael Jackson: The King of Pop by Lisa D. Campbell. “I went ahead without even Lionel knowing, I couldn’t wait. I went in and came out the same night with the song completed – drums, piano, strings, and words to the chorus.”

2. The recording took place the same night as the American Music Awards.
Many of the stars who joined forces to record “We Are the World” were competitors just hours earlier. Lauper, Turner, and Richie were among those who came straight to the studio from the 12th annual AMAs. Richie actually hosted the award show, and Lauper and Turner had both given live performances. Jackson skipped the awards to record the guiding vocals to the song – but still managed to win two AMAs despite his absence.

3. “We Are the World” wasn’t the only song the stars sang that night.
“We Are the World” was the brainchild of activist/entertainer Harry Belafonte. It was Belafonte’s dream to gather a supergroup of his favorite artists to record a song that’s proceeds could be donated entirely to charity. In honor of his efforts, the entire room of stars broke out into an impromptu rendition of Belafonte’s classic hit, “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song.)”

4. Lauper’s jewelry ruined one of the solo takes.
The motto of the evening was “check your ego at the door” – but in Lauper’s case, checking her accessories might have been more helpful. Still, she definitely won outfit of the evening.

The jewelry incident occurs at 2:00

5. No one left without swapping autographs.
“Mass hysteria broke out because everybody wanted everybody else’s autograph,” Richie of one point in the night. “I realized that there was a room of everybody being fans of everyone else.”

As Kenny Rogers remembers, “Everyone wanted a memento that we could all keep ourselves. And we had the sheet music so we had all the other artists sign it. I don’t think there was one out there who didn’t get everyone to sign it.”


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