+
upworthy
Pop Culture

'The Greatest Night in Pop' reveals the making of 'We Are the World,' and it is riveting

From Stevie Wonder reminding Bob Dylan how to be Bob Dylan, to Diana Ross wanting Daryl Hall's autograph, to Waylon Jennings walking out in protest, it's a must-watch.

overhead view of the singers from We Are the World

Dozens of top artists of the 80s joined forces to raise money for famine-stricken Africa in 1985.

Every Gen Xer and baby boomer remembers how big of a deal "We Are the World" was when it came out in 1985. The USA for Africa project brought together dozens of the era's most famous musicians to record the song, which raised millions of dollars in aid for famine-stricken Ethiopia and became an anthem for the global fight against hunger. (A painfully cheesy anthem by modern standards, but this was the 80s, after all. Cheese was the order of the day.)

The music video was filmed during the studio recording of the song, showing superstars like Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Cindy Lauper, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins and more. And up until now, that felt like the story—these musicians all got together to record the song, they did, it was epic, the end.

But there is soooo much more to the story than that, as showcased in the Netflix documentary, "The Greatest Night in Pop." And it is absolutely, 100% worth a watch.


Lionel Richie serves as the main storyteller in the documentary, which is fitting since he was one of the main orchestrators of the project. He and Michael Jackson wrote the song—which is an entire story in and of itself. They thought they had plenty of time, and then they learned they needed to have it written and ready to record by the following week. There was a fight at Michael Jackson's house between his dog and his talking bird during the songwriting process. At another one point, MJ's enormous pet snake got lost and scared the bejeezus out of Lionel Richie by knocking over some albums and hissing behind him.

Richie talks glowingly about Jackson's incredible talents, but Richie deserves a shout out as well for his energy and endurance. "We Are the World" was recorded overnight and into the morning after the American Music Awards ended. That night, Richie served as the host of the AMAs, performed two songs there, won multiple awards during the ceremony, and then hightailed it to A&M Studios to record "We Are the World," which he co-wrote. And on top of all of that, he served as a handler of sorts for the multiple personalities who were there in that room, keeping everyone on task and focused without being heavy-handed about it. It's genuinely impressive to witness.

But seeing how these big musicians acted when they were all in a room together is the most delightful part of the documentary. Quincy Jones had put up a handwritten sign telling everyone to "Leave your ego at the door." Easier said than done in a group like that, but at the same time, these huge stars were starstruck themselves. We see it over and over again, these household names giddy over meeting their idols, feeling shy around one another, being nervous about their solos and other evidences of oh-so-obvious humanness.

Huey Lewis describes how his legs shook when it came time to sing his solo part—which was originally supposed to go to Prince, who never showed. Diana Ross went up to Daryl Hall and asked for his autograph, telling him she was his biggest fan, prompting the whole group to start signing one another's music. They all spontaneously sang "Day-O" to Harry Belafonte to celebrate him, as it was his advocacy that had initially prompted the project. Seeing how much these artists admired one another is really sweet.

But there were some snags along the way, too, which are equally interesting to watch play out. At one point, Stevie Wonder tried to insert some lyrics in Swahili into the song, which prompted country singer Waylon Jennings to bail on the whole project, reportedly saying, "No good old boy sings in Swahili.” (The idea was nixed anyway, as Swahili isn't spoken in Ethiopia and, as Bob Geldof pointed out, they weren't singing to the people they were helping, but rather to the people who had the means to give.)

Bob Dylan appears to be completely out of it through much of the night—a fact that has led to plenty of stoner jokes over the years. But by the end, we see that Dylan was just completely out of his element in a room full of genuine singers, and it took Stevie Wonder literally mimicking him to get Dylan to feeling comfortable performing his part in the song.

The whole documentary is worth a watch to witness the creative chaos of the process, the drama that inevitably comes up when big personalities get together and the bonds that were built through this heartfelt project. Leveraging fame and utilizing art to save lives was a beautiful idea, and seeing it all come together is really something.

"The Greatest Night in Pop" can be seen on Netflix. Highly recommend.

It's rare enough to capture one antler being shed

For those not well versed in moose facts, the shedding of antlers is normally a fairly lengthy process. It happens only once a year after mating season and usually consists of a moose losing one antler at a time.

It’s incredibly rare for a bull moose to lose both at the same time—and even more rare that someone would actually catch it on film.

That’s why shed hunter (yes, that’s a real term) and woodsman Derek Burgoyne calls his footage of the phenomenon a “one-in-a-million” shot.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Should we wear shoes in the house? Experts weigh in and turns out we should stop immediately.

It's a common practice in the west that may be grosser than we realize.

Experts seem to agree that shoes shouldn't be worn inside

Growing up nearly everyone knew of one house that didn't allow people to wear shoes inside. It didn't matter if you accidentally wore your socks with the hole in them, there were no exceptions–shoes off. For many folks it was just seen as a quirk for that particular family and there wasn't much thought given into why they were adamant about enforcing the rule.

But it turns out that wearing shoes inside is more of a western culture thing than a global one, which makes Americans a minority in keeping outside shoes on while inside the house. It would seem that other countries may have had a bit more of an understanding on why it's a bad idea to wear shoes inside.

Common sense tells us that wearing shoes inside means you'll be sweeping and mopping more often than you'd like. Of course you track in dirt but there are apparently hundreds of bacteria and fungi that you're tracking in that can cause your family to get sick.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Man tries to correct a female golfer's swing, having no idea she's actually a pro

“My hope is that he comes across this video and it keeps him up at night."

Representative Image from Canva

A man tried to tell a pro golfer she was swing too slow.

We’re all probably familiar with the term “mansplaining,” when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending or patronizing way. Often, this comes in the form of a man explaining a subject to a woman that she already knows on an expert level. The female neuroscientist who was told by a man that she should read a research paper she actually wrote comes to mind.

Recently the next-level mansplaining was caught in the wild. Well, at a golf driving range anyway.

Georgia Ball, a professional golfer and coach who’s racked up over 3 million likes on TikTok for all her tips and tricks of the sport, was minding her own business while practicing a swing change.

It takes all of two seconds on Google to see that when it comes to incorporating a swing change, golfers need to swing slower, at 50-75% their normal speed…which is what Ball was doing.

And this is what prompted some man to insert his “advice.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Photos by Daniela on Unsplash (left) and Rens D on Unsplash (right)

Peeling garlic is notoriously challenging.

If you ever cook with fresh garlic, you know what a challenge it can be to remove the cloves from the skin cleanly, especially if you're starting with a full head.

There are various methods people use to peel garlic, with varying levels of success. Doing it by hand works, but will leave you with garlic-smelling fingertips for the better part of a day. Whacking the head on the counter helps separate the cloves from each other, but doesn't help much with removing the skin.

Some people swear by vigorously shaking the skinned cloves around in a covered bowl or jarred lid, which can be surprisingly effective. Some smash the clove with the flat side of a knife to loosen it and then pull it off. Others utilize a rubber roller to de-skin the cloves.

But none of these methods come close to the satisfaction of watching someone perfectly peeling an entire head of garlic with a pair of tongs.

Keep ReadingShow less
Modern Families

‘Hard pill to swallow’: Mom shares why some adult children don’t talk to their parents

"How your kids treat you when they are no longer in need of food and shelter, is a direct reflection of how you made them feel when they needed you to survive."

Parent and child deal with the pain of estrangement.

Even though humans are biologically hard-wired to form strong attachments to our parents, in many cases, these relationships become estranged as the children age. A recent poll found that nearly 1 in 4 adults are estranged from their families.

Six percent are estranged from their mothers and 26% have no contact with their fathers. It’s believed that these days, more children are comfortable distancing themselves from their parents because it’s good for their mental health.

“I think it relates to this new desire to have healthy relationships,” Rin Reczek, a sociology professor at the Ohio State University, said, according to The Hill. “There might be some cultural shifts around people being allowed to choose who is in your family. And that can include not choosing to have the person who raised you be in your family.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Loretta Lynn's granddaughter wows 'American Idol' judges with raw original song

Emmy Russell's original song "Skinny," featuring lyrics about body image and eating disorders, nearly brought everyone to tears.

America Idol/Youtube, Promotional image of Loretta Lynn/Wikipedia

Emmy Russell (left) and her grandmother Loretta Lynn (right)

Emmy Russell, granddaughter of country music icon Loretta Lynn, proved that she was an artist in her own right during a recent episode of “American Idol.”

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Nashville auditioned in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan during the show's Feb. 25 episode, during which she opened up about wanting to not live in her grandmother’s shadow.

"She's one of the biggest country music singers of all time, but to me she's just Grandma," she said, adding "I think I am a little timid, and I think it is because I want to own my voice. That's why I want to challenge myself and come out here."

Keep ReadingShow less