Saturday, January 12, 2013

Magazine Scans: Life Magazine in 1985

In 1985, Michael with his good friend, Lionel Richie wrote the classic song, "We Are the World" in the wake of images that Michael saw on television. 

Michael with Quincy Jones during the making of "We Are the World".

The images that Michael saw were of children dying of starvation. As Michael explained in his autobiography Moonwalk, (page 261) how "We Are The World" came from,

"Around the time, I used to ask my sister Janet to follow me into a room with interesting acoustics, like a closet or the bathroom, and I'd sing to her, just a note, a rhythm of a note. It wouldn't be a lyric or anything; I'd just hum from the bottom of my throat. I'd say, 'Janet, what do you see? What do you see when you hear this sound?' And this time she said, 'Dying children in Africa.' 'You're right. That's what I was dictating from my soul.' And she said, 'You're talking about Africa, You're talking about dying children.' " 

In 1985, Life magazine did a pictorial of the behind the scenes of Michael along with music and entertainment greats of that era, Lionel, Quincy Jones (producer), Diana Ross, Kenny Rogers, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, Dan Akryod, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder and Michael's siblings, Jackie, Marlon, Randy and LaToya Jackson to name a few. Michael stated in Moonwalk that he thought "We Are the World" from page 262, 
"is a very spiritual song, but spiritual in a special sense. I was proud to be a part of that song and to be one of the musicians there that night."
"We Are the World" was a charity song that raised over $63 million dollars for USA for Africa thanks to the selling of the single, video cassette tape, a book, the magazine issue and t-shirts. The single sold over 20 million copies and won numerous awards such as the Grammys back in 1986. 

Winning Song of the Year at the  1986 Grammys. 

Michael with Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick at the 1986 Grammys.

 and American Music Awards in 1986 (show video) 

Artists performing "We Are The World" in the 1986 American Music Awards.

along with a People's Choice Awards also in 1986. 

"We Are The World" began Michael's legendary string of writing, performing and creating iconic songs that dealt with making the world a better place. Classic songs such as "Man in the Mirror", "Heal The World" and "Earth Song" became staples in Michael's musical cataloge. It became the norm for Michael to have at least two songs in his albums that dealt with helping humanity. 

"We Are the World" music video from 1985. 

So, please enjoy this rare treasure from Life magazine that shows Michael and his musical friends create history. 

* This blog post is dedicated to Mr. Nathaniel Brown who passed away this week. He was Rebbie's husband and the father of Stacee, Yashi and Austin Brown and Michael's brother in-law. May he rest in peace. *


Magazine -
"Exclusive Pictures Historic Songfest for Africa", Life, Breskin, David. Pages 36 -48, April 1985. 

Book -

Moonwalk, by Jackson, Michael, pages 261 and 262, 1988, re-released in 2009. 

Videos - 

The 1986 Grammys and American Music Awards video came from


The pictures came from my personal harddrive.