By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

‘The Greatest Night in Pop’ should be a call to generosity

I’m late to this, so you may have seen it already. I finally got around to watching “The Greatest Night in Pop” (here’s the trailer) on Netflix, and it’s terrific. It’s about the making of “We Are the World,” the 1985 song and video with an all-star cast that raised more than $60 million for famine relief in Africa.

If you always thought the song was a bit treacly, well, blame Stevie Wonder. He was supposed to be involved in writing it, but no one could find him, leaving songwriting duties to Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie. And as you may have heard, there’s a scene of Stevie showing Bob Dylan how to sing his part — employing a dead-on Dylan imitation — that has to be seen to be appreciated.

The interviews with Ritchie, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Sheila E. and Huey Lewis are especially insightful. That the entire project came together in one night is a testament to the professionalism of everyone involved, especially Ritchie and Quincy Jones, who was involved from the start and oversaw the whole thing. Well worth your time.

Famine in Africa continues — in Sudan and in Gaza, which is right at the nexus of Africa and the Middle East. “The Greatest Night in Pop” shouldn’t be just an exercise in nostalgia. It should be a call to generosity.

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1 Comment

  1. NahantJim Walsh

    Saw it. Loved it. And the interaction between Bob and Stevie was really fun to see. I was in Trieste a couple of years ago, a wonderfully interesting city. It has a prominent statue of James Joyce, a great opera house, and…the Anticco Caffe San Marco. It is both an elegant cafe and a bookstore. Among the books I saw a two volume set of lyrics and poetry by Bob Dylan translated into Italian!

    I lingered there so long that I almost missed by boat.

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