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.
“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.
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.
"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.