As the new Netflix documentary The Greatest Night in Pop premieres on the streaming platform it celebrates the 39th anniversary of the hit single “We Are The World,” legendary artist Sheila E. speaks on how she felt used by the song’s producers, Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones.
In a recent interview, she believed that she was used so that the producers could get closer to Prince at the time. She recalls Richie and Jones pushing her to call “The Purple Rain” singer. “Lionel and Quincy kept saying, ‘Why don’t you call Prince,'” she said. “Everyone took turns trying to get me to call him back and have him come down…. I just thought, wow, they were all my friends. That’s cold-blooded.”
According to the documentary’s director, Bao Nguyen, Lionel Richie didn’t go against Sheila E.’s account of events. The documentary goes on to reveal that Huey Lewis filled Prince’s spot since the producers couldn’t get him on the song.
In 1985, “We Are the World” was released as a charity single by USA for Africa. The single sold over 20 million copies, and raised more than $75 million to help fight poverty in Africa. The song also won three Grammys in 1986 including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
The Greatest Night in Pop is streaming now on Netflix.