The Grammy Awards go down in Los Angeles this Sunday, January 31, but the biggest musical event of the next few days could actually come the day after. That’s when Quincy Jones will be recording a new version of “We Are the World” that will be released as a charity single to benefit earthquake survivors in Haiti.
Jones is teaming up with Lionel Richie to organize the event, with “Crash” director Paul Haggis filming the session. A handful of singers are already attached to it (including Usher and John Legend), but the rest of the musicians who will show up to lend a hand (and a voice) have yet to be named officially. The original version of the song, recorded 25 years ago by an all-star lineup in support of relief in Africa, featured a veritable murderer’s row of talent (along with a handful of “Oh yeah, that guy” entries). So let’s take a look at some of those original members of USA for Africa and see if we can’t figure out who their 2010 equivalents are.
2010 Equivalent: Lionel Richie. The dude is helping to produce the thing, after all. It’s doubtful he’d pass up an opportunity to sing on two of the biggest
2010 Equivalent: Dave Matthews. The DMB frontman can provide Simon’s mix of folk, rock and world music with a little extra grit in the sugar.
2010 Equivalent: Elton John. The former Joel touring partner missed out on the first “We Are the World.” Since every charity single needs a piano man, John is perfect for the job, as Ben Folds seems a bit too acerbic for the gig.
2010 Equivalent: Justin Timberlake. The heir to Jackson’s throne as America’s greatest entertainment export should be front and center. However, it should be noted that Jackson supposedly recorded parts for “We Are the World” in preparation for his “This Is It” concerts, so the 2010 version of Michael Jackson could very well be Michael Jackson.
2010 Equivalent: Rihanna. The Barbados-born diva has already lent her voice to the “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon (as have many people on this list), but she could not only provide some memorable melody but also a touch of Caribbean flavor.
2010 Equivalent: Jon Bon Jovi. He’ll satisfy the “Working Class Hero From New Jersey” slot.
2010 Equivalent: Stevie Wonder. He already performed at “Hope for Haiti Now,” but why wouldn’t you bring back a legend to reprise his role in the original? The case could also be made that, in this particular instance, Wonder is actually the 2010 version of Ray Charles, another USA for Africa member.
2010 Equivalent: Beyoncé. The new Queen of the Divas needs to stand next to Timberlake as the alphas of the group.
2010 Equivalent: Justin Bieber. This should be self-explanatory.
2010 Equivalent: Maroon 5′s Adam Levine. Because seriously, Maroon 5 are totally the News.
2010 Equivalent: Jack Black. What’s a charity single without an appearance from a random comedian? As a bonus, Black can actually sing. This slot could also be taken up by Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen or Jason Segal.
David Paich and Steve Porcaro of Toto
2010 Equivalent: Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte of 3OH!3. Because it’s inevitable that these guys will eventually write a song about one of the Arquettes.
Who do you want to hear on the new version of “We Are the World”? Leave your thoughts in the comments!