We are the world 2010: New stars remake 80s anthem to help Haiti

Lady Gaga, Wyclef Jean, Jay-Z and dozens of other top music artists are rerecording the 1985 'We Are the World' hit single written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie in an effort to raise money to help Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

By , Staff writer

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    In this photo provided by WATW, singers Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, Usher, Katharine McPhee, will.i.am, Toni Braxton, Barbra Streisand, LL Cool J, Harry Connick Jr., Wyclef Jean, Vince Vaughn, Jeff Bridges, Natalie Cole and others perform at the "We Are The World 25 Years for Haiti" recording session held at Jim Henson Studios on Monday in Hollywood.
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There have been many disasters in the past quarter century. Most natural, some wrought by the hands of man.

None of these, however, was deemed worthy of a remake of the now-classic 1985 hit "We Are the World" – until a magnitude 7.0 earthquake leveled Haiti on Jan. 12, killing an estimated 150,000 and leaving 1 million homeless.

Now famed producer Quincy Jones, who recorded the original song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, is on a fresh quest to revamp the old magic using today's top pop artists.

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Mr. Jones and Mr. Richie asked Moroccan-Swedish hit producer RedOne to take part in the rerecording, reports Rolling Stone.

“I know that [Richie] has been asked like 150-something times to redo ‘We Are the World’ and he said no to everything until this Haiti thing happened," RedOne told the Rolling Stone. "The moment he saw that it happened he was like, OK, ‘We Are the World.’ And to be one of the people they called to have fresh input to the song, to help produce the song – I have no words.”

The new version of the song is expected to be ready in time to premiere during the Feb. 12 opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, and a "galaxy of stars," as MTV puts it, is already hard at work recording the song.

Jones took advantage of the talent pool assembled at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night to recruit stars to join the recording of the remake, reports E! Online.

Lady Gaga was reportedly among those recruited during the Grammys, joining Wyclef Jean, Barbra Streisand, Jay-Z, Celine Dion, Kanye West, Keith Urban, and dozens of other big names in the music industry. All told, there will be more than 100 pop artists contributing.

And they're not wasting time.

By Monday, most were in the same Los Angeles studio used for the original recording, laying it down, reports the Los Angeles Times "Pop & Hiss" music blog.

"The scene on Monday, like the original session, was a fascinating mix of star confluence," reports the Times. "Where else would 83-year-old Tony Bennett sing in unison with 15-year-old Justin Bieber? Emphasizing the cross-generational representation, the choir featured two Beach Boys (Brian Wilson and Al Jardine) and three Jonas Brothers (Nick, Joe, and Kevin)."

The original "We Are the World" single raised $63 million to help fight famine in Africa and "and became a template for famous-face fundraising," according to the Times.

How much will the new version bring in for Haiti? We'll have to wait and see.

--- For more stories and blogs on Haiti, visit our Haiti page.

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