Lionel Richie hints at recording new ‘We Are the World’ song amid pandemic

Motown legend contemplates writing new record 35 years after the release of iconic record with Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and other superstar artists.

Lionel Richie performs onstage at the 2019 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center on November 4, 2018 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize)

In 1985, “We Are the World” became an anthem and a global rallying call to raise funds to address famine in Africa. Now Lionel Richie thinks it’s time to create another song that can unify the world in the wake of the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

Richie, who co-wrote “We Are the World” with Michael Jackson, enlisted superstar singers Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper, recently deceased Kenny Rogers and 40 other recording artists who came together and delivered a historic song that brought in $63 million.

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Richie told PEOPLE that the chorus of that powerful song, “There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives,” has him now thinking about the coronavirus outbreak.

“That line came about as Michael and I were sitting there talking. We said, you can either say, ‘I’m saving my life’ or ‘We’re saving our lives,’” Richie said. “‘We Are the World’ is a statement we wanted to make. What do we do to save our own (lives)?”

View of the autographed first page of the sheet music for the song ‘We Are the World,’ written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, 1985. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

During this global outbreak, Richie said he is taking a step back and listening to the lyrics even more.

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“What happened in China, in Europe, it came here. So if we don’t save our brothers there, it’s going to come home. It’s all of us. All of us are in this together,” he said.

The song turns 35 years old this year, leaving Richie to strongly mull creating another song that can bring in much-needed funds to help nations through the coronavirus devastation.

“Two weeks ago, we said we didn’t want to do too much (about the song) because this is not the time to sell an anniversary. But the message is so clear,” Richie said.

Starting is always the toughest part, particularly since Richie says he can’t get the lyrics of “We Are the World” out of his mind.

“Every time I try and write another message, I write those same words,” he said.