Back in 1985, a supergroup of pop stars called USA For Africa was formed to record the charity single We Are the World. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, the track sold in excess of 20 million copies and ended up being the eighth best-selling physical single of all time. The song followed the UK based Band Aid track Do They Know It’s Christmas? in an American effort to provide African famine relief too.
Jackson and Richie completed the lyrics and melody of We Are The World within just two and half hours, the day before the first night of recording on January 22, 1985.
The final night of recording took place a week later in Hollywood, with tons of the music industry’s biggest stars.
Quincy Jones conducted the two pop icons alongside the likes of Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Rogers, Tina Turner, Huey Lewis, Billy Joel and Diana Ross.
Now the former Fleetwood Mac star has shared his memories of recording USA For Africa’s We Are The World, which went on to be the fastest-selling US pop single in history.
Speaking on Literally! with Rob Lowe podcast, Buckingham shared: “I was up there.
“I was out at A&M Records, which is what it was before it was Henson [Recording Studios], the old Charlie Chaplin Studios.
“Huge fan of Charlie Chaplin, so it was a thrill to be there at all. I was just in the back somewhere! There were so many people there.”
In an interview with Tim Roxborough after Jackson’s death in 2009, Buckingham gave a more in-depth recounting of the anecdote and how the King of Pop was a troubled soul even then.
The former Fleetwood Mac star said at the time: “I think I walked into the bathroom and he was in there and it kind of freaked him out!
“He was quite nervous just to be startled by someone walking in and I just nodded my head. I didn’t feel comfortable trying to engage him in a ‘Hello’ at that point.
“He was really at the top of his game and I think probably even then was dealing with a lot of demons that were probably from way back when he was a kid. You know, I just didn’t want to intrude at all on his trip…”