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Netflix Documentary ‘The Greatest Night in Pop History’

Behind the scenes of recording the charity song ‘We Are the World’… Contains vivid memories of the protagonists

'The greatest night in pop history'

‘The greatest night in pop history’

(Seoul = Larose.VIP) Reporter Choi Jae-seo = “Leave your pride at the door.” (Check your ego at the door)

The night of January 28, 1985. A white piece of paper with a three-line phrase scrawled on it was attached to the front door of the Los Angeles A&M studio. And legendary stars arrive one by one. Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Joel, Ray Charles… .

About 40 pop stars gathered in a hurry and began to sing ‘We Are the World’, shoulder to shoulder. The time given to those who put their pride on the line is one night, a night like a dream that will never be seen again in pop history.

The Netflix documentary ‘The Greatest Night in Pop’, which covers the background of the charity song ‘We Are the World’, is going viral in Korea as well. Director Bao Nguyen vividly depicts moments where excitement and tension intersect through the voices of the protagonists who planned the project.

As if the director’s intention was successful, this documentary is evaluated as being worth watching just because it captures the historical recording scene. It is also known as a film that stimulates nostalgia for those who remember those times.

The movie has a freshness index of 98% (100% perfect score) on the global criticism site Rotten Tomatoes, and after its release on Netflix, the song ‘We Are the World’ ranked 21st on the Billboard Digital Song Sales Chart, a record.

Lionel Richie being interviewed

Lionel Richie being interviewed

The work begins with a phone call from Lionel Richie in December 1984. Manager Ken Craigan suggests to Lionel that he join the human rights movement leader Harry Belafonte to save the famine in Africa. “White people help black people, but black people don’t help black people,” was Harry’s complaint.

Ken’s idea was this. The idea was to take the idea from the British charity Band Aid, founded by Bob Geldof, but bring in American superstars. When Lionel, a leading figure in the music industry, stepped forward, the recruitment process went smoothly. Michael Jackson readily began composing music with Lionel, and producers Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, and Kenny Loggins joined in succession.

The recording date is set to be the day of the ‘American Music Awards’ ceremony. This is because it is perfect for bringing together dozens of pop stars. As the deadline is suddenly brought forward, Lionel and Michael are on fire and write songs frantically. All of this happens in just one month.

Singers looking at ‘We Are the World’ sheet music

Singers looking at ‘We Are the World’ sheet music

The highlight of the work is the making film that captures the day of the assassination. After the awards ceremony, the faces of stars gathered at A&M Studio are impressive. The extent of the incident can be guessed from a single word from Paul Simon, who was present at the scene. “If a bomb falls here, John Denver (the popular singer of the 70s) will be on top again.”

But the excitement doesn’t last long. In a small studio filled with high-ranking stars, there is a subtle tension as exploration, control, and mutual admiration are intertwined. The awkward expressions of the stars appearing on camera one after another are another highlight of the work.

Lionel Richie recalls that their first meeting was like “their first day in kindergarten” and that “Quincy Jones had to control these kindergarteners.” Among them, the lost eyes of maestro Bob Dylan, with his lips pursed and his lips pursed, are truly a rare sight.

Michael Jackson and Bob Dylan

Michael Jackson and Bob Dylan

The recording process that follows is also difficult to keep an eye on. In the studio, which is sweltering under the intense heat of the 5,000-watt lights, irritated complaints and yawns gradually increase. Meanwhile, the stars were taken aback by Stevie Wonder’s suggestion to add Swahili to the song, and Waylon Jennings even left, saying, ‘I don’t even know Swahili.’

Confusion and hardships continued afterward, but in the end, they too were someone’s fans. When Diana Ross cautiously approaches Daryl Hall and asks for his autograph on her sheet music, the recording studio quickly turns into a joint autograph session. Somehow, after the recording was over, Ross ended up crying. “I hoped this night would never end,” she said.

‘We Are the World’, released in March of that year, ranked first on the Billboard single chart ‘Hot 100’ for four weeks and won the ‘Song of the Year’ award at the Grammy Awards. It is a historical record created by a great night that may never happen again.

acui721@yna.co.kr

Report to KakaoTalk okjebo 2024/02/15 07:30 Sent

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