We are the World - The Story Behind the Song (20th Anniversary Special Edition)
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A dream that became a song, an event, and a worldwide movement! See the making of a miracle as 45 of the biggest names in American popular music combine to record a song to help alleviate the suffering of starving millions in Africa and America. Narrated by Jane Fonda, this program provides a behind-the-scenes look at the night of January 28, 1985, to provide more than a moving collection of words, pictures and music; it's a living piece of history.
- New 10th anniversary special, "One Song, Many Hands"
- Karaoke track
- "American Music Awards" performance
- Live Aid concert performance
- GRAMMY© Awards clips
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Top customer reviews
The 2nd disc is harder to watch as Harry and Ken go to Ethiopia to see for themselves where the money was being spent, and how they could spend it better. Deeply deeply moving, and really just a reminder that this kind of thing is still going on in Africa and other countries, and that we are indeed the world, and constantly need to be reminded to do something as they all did.
The documentary WE ARE THE WORLD: THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG (on dvd #1) is narrated and hosted by Jane Fonda and appears to have been made shortly after the historic recording session, which happened on January 28, 1985. Showing the celebrities arriving, meeting and greeting, and of course the recording of the song "We Are The World," as well as pre-writing and arrangement stages that took place days before(between Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones), viewers get a fly-on-the-wall experience of what went on that night.
It really is remarkable to see so many artist from different generations and musical styles combining forces for a greater cause. Where else would you see Bob Dylan, Diana Ross, Kenny Rogers, The Pointer Sisters, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, and Ray Charles, among many others, singing together on one song? The documentary shows the actual breakdown of the recording of the chorus parts, the solos and the very short rehearsal sessions that took place that one night. The recording was done in three parts: the chorus, the line of solo artists that we see in the video, and additional solos by artists that were included after. The actual edited music video is also included.
On dvd #2 there is a ten-year anniversary documentary/interview with Harry Belafonte and this is curious to watch. As another reviewer pointed out, during this documentary Belafonte continues to point out how he got the idea and wanted to do something about the famine plaguing Ethiopia etc., but never once does he mention Bob Geldof. For those of you who remember that time, it was Bob Geldof (BOOMTOWN RATS) and Midge Ure(ULTRA-VOX) who started this whole thing with the song "Do They Know It's Christmas" that had many British singers/musicians(as well as American artists Jody Watley and Kool & the Gang and Irish band U2) contributing their talents and collaborating on that single. The British/Irish/American supergroup was called "BAND AID" and was created to help with relief aid to those starving in Ethiopia. The single "DO THEY KNOW..." was released in December 1984 and went to number one almost a month and a half before WE ARE THE WORLD was recorded.
It really has nothing to do with the enjoyment of watching these documentaries or saying which was better BAND AID or USA FOR AFRICA...and really small potatoes in the grand scheme of things...it's just a little troubling to see someone taking credit for a historic event without even mentioning Geldof or Band Aid (who historically were the pre-cursors to "We Are The World"). The documentary also includes the problems that happened with logistics and controversy of why some of the aid money never reached its destination that surrounded USA FOR AFRICA and talks about HANDS ACROSS AMERICA.
Additional footage is also included on dvd #2 including a live 1986 "American Music Awards" performance of WE ARE THE WORLD; Belafonte, Jackson, Richie and Jones accepting various awards for the song; and the "Live Aid" concert performance of that song. Also included is a booklet that gives an hour-by-hour play-by-play description of the recording session, which is a reprint of a 1985 LIFE magazine cover story.
Unless you actually remember this moment in time, or perhaps a huge fan of one of the artists who appear on WATW, this might not be enjoyable to watch.
We are the world was created to raise the necessary funds to help Ethiopia, which back in 1985 was suffering the consequences of unusual lack of rain and political decisions that did not advance the needs of its people.
Jane Fonda narrates the reasons behind the production of We are the world and she is simply, her magnificent self as she encourages viewers to engage in the effort to eliminate famine throughout the world.
The video provides an in-depth look into the making of the video and how these powerful stars "left their egos at the door" and collaborated to create one of the best pieces ever performed.
Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song and thanks to the help of producer Quincy Jones, they were able to attract super talent to contribute their time and voices in the hope of selling enough records to make a difference.
Disc 1 offers the documentary narrated by Jane Fonda ending with the final version of the song as released to the world.
Disc 2 takes us to Africa and we witness the devastation and sickness resulting from famine. Harry Belafonte takes us through the decision making process that ensured that every dollar donated ended benefiting the people of Africa. This video is highly educational and an eye opening experience.
The stars that join for this effort are: Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Billy Joel who arrives at the concert in the company of Christie Brinkley, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan and Ray Charles. Also singing as part of the chorus we were delighted to see Dan Aykroyd, Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, The News, Sheila E, Bob Geldof, Jackie, Tito, Randy, LaToya and Marlon Jackson, Waylon Jennings, Bette Midler, John Oates, Jeffrey Osborne, The Pointer Sisters and Smokey Robinson.
As we heard the song created for such a worthy cause we realized that "there comes a time, when we head a certain call, when the world must come together as one because there are people dying and it is time to lend a hand to life... the greatest gift of all."
And we are glad that we invested in this effort because "we can't go on, pretending day by day, that someone, somewhere will soon make a change." It is up to us because "we are all part of God's great big family, and the truth is that we have come to understand that love is all we need."
Don't miss it, it is simply magnificent!
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