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Netflix’s Star-Studded “We Are The World” Documentary Premieres to Rave Reviews

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Jan 20, 2024

Netflix’s highly anticipated new documentary film “The Greatest Night in Pop: Recording ‘We Are The World'” premiered this past week at the Sundance Film Festival to widespread acclaim. The film takes an in-depth look at the iconic 1985 charity single “We Are The World” and the unprecedented gathering of music legends who came together to record it.

Overview of “We Are The World” and the Documentary

“We Are The World” was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones to raise funds for African famine relief. On the night of January 28, 1985, over 40 of the biggest musicians in the world convened at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood for an all-night recording session to create the charity single.

The documentary features never-before-seen footage from that incredible night in the studio along with new interviews with Richie, Jones, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and many more stars reflecting on the experience over 30 years later. It provides fascinating insight into the spontaneous creativity and egos at play while capturing a pivotal moment in pop history.

Rave Reviews Pour In from Cinema’s Top Critics

Early reviews of Netflix’s “The Greatest Night in Pop” have been glowing across the board.

  • Roger Ebert’s site calls it “an ode to star power” and “deeply entertaining.”
  • The Hollywood Reporter says the film “recaptures the electricity in the room that night.”
  • Industry mag Variety describes it as “a feel-good music doc destined for heavy rotation.”

Critics unanimously praise the bounty of revelatory stories and candid commentary from the artists in the studio that night.

Revelations: Prince’s Odd Absence, Hidden Pairings and Tensions

While the documentary emphasizes the camaraderie and artistic synergy generated during the “We Are The World” session, it also lets slip some surprising revelations that have created media buzz:

  • Prince was slated to appear but mysteriously backed out, replaced at the last minute by Huey Lewis. Neither Lewis or other artists interviewed have explained Prince’s absence.
  • A love connection sparked between Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes. The two singers continued dating for several years after.
  • Bob Dylan suffered an apparent “nervous breakdown” during his take at the mic. The folk icon had to be escorted from the studio after repeated flubbed takes.

These entertaining bits of gossip have fueled speculation and debate amongst pop culture junkies.

“Just Amazing To Be There”: Artists United for a Worthy Cause

While much has been made about the superstar antics behind-the-scenes, most artists interviewed emphasize how honored they felt to participate alongside musical icons and use their talents to battle poverty.

“It was such a privilege to be in that room with my idols,” says Huey Lewis. “We knew we were doing something important that was going to make a big difference. That was really powerful and inspiring.”

The documentary captures the idealism and hopefulness driving the USA for Africa campaign. It was a rare convergence of fame, goodwill and creativity that created an iconic piece of music and cultural history.

“We Are The World” By The Numbers

The sheer star wattage assembled for “We Are The World” remains mind-blowing by any measure, as evident in these stats:

  • Over 40 A-list music stars in one room
  • 28 Grammy Awards amongst participants. Winner of 8 additional Grammys
  • 19 chart-topping solo artists on Billboard’s Hot 100 Go on to land 30 more #1 hits combined
  • Combined album sales over…
Artist Estimated Album Sales (Millions)
Michael Jackson 400+
Bruce Springsteen 120
Kenny Rogers 120
Bob Dylan 100+

In the end, the supergroup’s recreation of “We Are The World” became the fastest-selling US pop single ever at the time and raised over $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa.

What’s Next for USA for Africa?

While the one-night-only recording event was never meant to be an ongoing group, some artists hint at potential reunion collaborations in the future during interviews.

“I’d love to get the whole crew back together soon and see what other magic we could make,” says Lionel Richie.

For now, fans will have to settle for revisiting that historic evening via Netflix’s critically-acclaimed trip back in time to 1985. Let’s hope today’s pop stars took some notes. We Are The World remains the high water mark for the music industry rising to meet a humanitarian crisis with both immense talent and generosity.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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