Huey Lewis remembers recording 'We Are the World' alongside Michael Jackson: An EW Exclusive!


EW rang up Huey Lewis on Friday to get his memories of standing next to the King of Pop during the recording of "We Are the World," and the singer obliged with a story that seems to encapsulate Jackson's character.

"I stood right next to him on the solo lines, because I had the line right after he did. We had to share a position there for a couple hours. And we chatted. He said lots of nice things about my songs, and he knew our stuff, and he was just sweet, sweet, sweet. You know, Quincy Jones was producing, and they wanted to make one full sweep on the lead vocals, and they kept getting about halfway and somebody would forget the words and they'd stop again. And so we never got a chance to rehearse our lines down at the end, as it were. So I sort of stood up for that. I said, 'Hey, can you go all the way through, at least, so I can rehearse? Stevie Wonder over there has sung his part four times!' And Michael thought that was really funny, so he said, 'Yeah.' And the very next pass, we did the whole thing, we made it all the way. Clearly it was the good version. And I saw Quincy telling the engineer, 'Okay, let's do another,' and Michael had his headphones off, and Quincy says, 'All right, let's do another one!' And Michael, very concerned, grabs my hand and says, 'They're gonna save that last one, aren’t they?!?' 'Cause he knew that was the one. Obviously, what can be said about the guy? Super talented, and super fabulous, and super sweet at the same time. He was very comfortable. He was just really nice, man. Michael was just a really sweet guy."

More from EW on Michael Jackson:
"Scream" director Mark Romanek on Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson: 18 key moments in the life of the King of Pop
Michael Jackson's music dominate on iTunes and Amazon
Michael Jackson's musical legacy: Tell us how you remember him
Michael Jackson dies at 50
Jackson on TV: A classic artist, a revolutionary
'Thriller' at 25: Still Can't Beat It

Comments (15 total) Add your comment
  • chuck

    That clearly was a GREAT moment in music history.

  • Preston

    Very nice comments from Huey Lewis on singing after Michael Jackson’s part on We Are the World. One of my favorite moments in the song along with Michael, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen. Everybody in the music business that was hot in 1984-1985 was on that song! You could recognize your favorite singer’s voice when their part came up. Michael wanted Huey’s part to come after his and he made sure that it would happen!

  • Bob H.

    What can you expect other than ‘class comments’ from Huey Lewis. I am very impressed at the people focusing on the great things MJ contributed to music and culture.

  • bird

    Great video, great Lewis memory. One of the best things about the video is that so many of the singers get to shine, some in only a phrase or two. Ray Charles adds what you’d want him to add, Huey, Dionne Warwick, Steve Perry, Bruce, Stevie, and on and on. A landmark video.

  • bj

    We are the world, we are one!

  • Trish

    Thanks for the article and the blast from the past. ;)

  • D

    Thank you Michael for all you have given us.We will miss you deeply.

  • mike

    Wow, I’m surprised they let Oates in there, I guess Hall vouched for him.

  • Clarissa

    I love reading this stuff. It makes me happy.
    Thanks :)

  • diane

    That was an awesome moment in music history! I remember watching that video over and over. I still have the album! God Bless Michael and Quincy for putting that together – it’s musical genius. What stands out to me in that video is that Michael did not ‘stand out’. He was probably the biggest ‘star’ on that platform (at the time), yet he wasn’t a camera hog. He was the quiet genius. Every performer had a moment in the song or on camera. That song still holds true today – it is as timeless as Michael Jackson. Thank you Huey Lewis for sharing that special moment with us. You’re as classy as ever!!

  • Edu

    both Geniuses!

  • George

    Huey Lewis defines what a classy musician and person is. Charming, talented and simply a genuinely nice person. I’m sure I can speak for everyone who has commented here that we appreciate and thank Huey for sharing his special moment with us here to show the world that Michael was a person with a magical talent for bringing music into the lives of others in a way no one else has done. We love you, Huey! Keep rockin’!

  • Jessica

    The one word that pretty much every person that has met Michael has said is sweet. Thank you Huey for the kind words. Mike wouldn’t hurt a soul. He was a very sweet man.You earned my respect. Just a fact not to offend people but Michael really wrote that song. It was supposed to be co written but Michael started without Ritchie. He did the song and Ritchie changed a few words. Other than that it was pretty much from Michaels heart. Nobody but Michael could write a song like that. Anyways thank you Huey for your classy words.

  • Noel

    man, im only 22. but michael is my favorite, and i really dig alot of huey lewis and the news’ work, especially “heart and soul” and “do you believe in love”. but man, when I read those words that lewis said..I could just imagine Michael kinda whisperin to huey and them both laughin..made me wish I was apart of that time and place..this is comin from a 22 yr old black man in college…i am proof that good music lives on…God bless Michael, Huey, Quincy and the rest of the geniuses from the amazing world of 80s popular culture.

  • Noel

    oh and by the way…baby be mine..the 2nd track on the thriller album is amazing…i was listening to it the other day..probably like the 500th time ive heard it..but the last time i heard it i just noticed how ingenius it was..the vocals are classic, the lyrics are great, its just an all around amazing song…that really no one ever talks about.

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