IOTW opinion!

Hillary Gove: “We Are the World” – Untouchable?

If you happened to watch the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics then you most likely caught the premiere of the remake of “We Are the World”. While some think that re-recording the 25 year old hit was the right idea with the right outcome, many think that it should have been left alone – or as Jay-Z put it, the original is simply “untouchable.”

I will admit that when I saw the video for the first time I thought the song had been completely butchered and absolutely agreed that the original should not have been touched. If you have ever listened to or have seen the original “We Are the Word”, what you hear and see are music legends and icons throughout the 7 minute video. So to say I was slightly disappointed and confused to see none other than Justin Bieber opening such an important song would be an understatement. I continued to watch uncomfortably as Miley Cyrus belted out a solo within seconds of a clear shot of Gladys Knight only singing in the chorus. The whole concept just seemed wrong.

However, after replaying the video a few times and really taking into account why it was re-recorded, I realized that the choice of participants was brilliant – they captured all ends of the spectrum, from newcomer Justin Bieber, to hip-hop sensations Lil’ Wayne and Snoop, to music legend Tony Bennett. We’re in a new generation of music and in order to appeal to all ages and a variety of genres, new approaches were necessary to ensure this project would be as successful as the original – hopefully raising a significant amount of money for Haiti. This was by far the best way to approach the challenge of even slightly measuring up to the success of the original version.

I definitely agree that there are some songs that have had an incredible impact, not only in the industry but also in society, and should not be touched, as nothing will ever compare to the original. Artistically and musically, WATW is certainly one of these songs, but for the purpose behind re-recording this song, I believe this was in fact the best outcome.



  1. Thank you so much for sharing your opinion Hillary! You raise some great points and I am glad that you were able to watch and listen and then create an opinion based on sonic qualities (music fan/consumer) and rational logic (business perspective). I agree with your opinion and believe the purpose for the re-freshed remake to raise money for Haiti was a brilliant idea. As of 2009, the original recording of “We Are The World” sold more than 20 million units and raised over $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US (Wikipedia) and I hope that over time this new version will also help to raise millions to make the world a better place!

    In addition to the reasons you listed, I think including today’s younger stars might also give them an added appreciation not just for what came before them, but also a great appreciation for the opportunity to work with some of the GREATS that participated in this remake! For more information on who participated, here is a cool post from MTV:

  2. Salman Khan Said:

    thasnxy hillary for sharing your opinion

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