Lionel Richie still doesn’t know how he pulled off the 1985 hit song “We Are the World.”
The 74-year-old musician is giving fans a look at the recording session where he, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen and more recorded the hit song for charity in the documentary “The Greatest Night in Pop.”
But getting to the recording studio didn’t come without its obstacles as Lionel told Access Hollywood it took them a while to write the song!
“First of all, writing the song with Michael because we didn’t have a song,” he told Access at the premiere of “The Greatest Night In Pop.” “I thought it was going to be Quincy [Jones], Michael, myself, and Stevie. That is what it was supposed to be. Next thing we hear is Springsteen is waiting…so everybody was just coming on board, and we had no song. That was a heart attack.”
Once more names got attached to the project, Lionel said it was all about following the momentum of the song.
“From then on it was can we catch on to the train and then it became a rocket and then it’s out of control. I don’t even know how we did this,” Lionel added.
Once the song was written, there was another obstacle—Lionel said they had to send the song on a cassette to the artists in the mail so they can listen to it.
“We had to get these cassettes to them and a lot of them showed up having no idea what the song sounded like,” he said.
Even though the song became an instant hit, one person was missing, Prince.
“We didn’t know what we were doing. We were just putting people together. Hopefully I could have gotten Michael [Jackson] and Prince to stand next to together, but at the time that was a hail mary if you will,” Lionel said.
“The Greatest Night in Pop” is streaming on Netflix now.