There are songs that are write for love, heartbreak, happiness, and then there are those written about world peace and current events in the world. There are two classic songs that come to mind when I think of those two topics and it’s Marvin Gaye’s, ‘What’s Going On,’ and Michael Jackson/Lionel Richie, ‘We Are The World.’
‘What’s Going On,’ came from a depressing time in Marvin’s life after losing friend and singing partner, Tammi Terrell. The song was released on January 7, 1971 and in its first week it had sold 200,000 copies. It was #1 for five weeks on the Billboard R&B Charts and #2 on the Hot 100.
The song was nominated at the 14th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists. It was remade in 2001 for Artists Against Aids World Wide on October 30, 2001. A portion of the proceeds benefited the American Red Cross’ September 11th fund.
Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie along with Quincy Jones teamed up for the USA For Africa track, ‘We Are The World.’ The track was released March 7, 1985 and went on to sell over 20 million copies.
The song featured vocals from Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Cyndi Lauper, Stevie Wonder, and dozens more. The album won 4 Grammys at the 28th annual awards: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Pop Performance by Duo/Group w/ Vocal, Best Music Video (Short Form).
The song was remade in 2010, We Are The World 25 for Haiti.