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'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.

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Music’s biggest night took place Sunday, February 4 with the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Now, fans have the opportunity to take home a piece of the famed event.

Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we’ve created an opportunity for our brand, our partners and consumers to come together over shared values, to participate during a moment when we can celebrate our passion for music and our commitment to make meaningful investments to preserve the environment,” says Rustom Dastoor, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America at Mastercard.

The campaign kicked off with an inspired self-guided multi-sensory tour at the GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard, where people journeyed through their passion of music and educational experience about Mastercard’s longstanding commitment to tree restoration. Then, this year’s most-nominated GRAMMY artist and a passionate voice for the environment, SZA, led the charge with the debut performance of her new song, Saturn.

Mastercard’s partners are also joining the mission by encouraging people all over the country to participate; Lyft and Sirius XM are both offering ways for consumers to get involved in the Priceless Planet Coalition. To learn more about how you can support these efforts, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

“SZA has a personal passion for sustainability – not just in forest restoration but in the clothes she wears and the platforms and partners she aligns herself with. It was important to us to partner with someone who is not only showing up big at the GRAMMY Awards – as the most GRAMMY-nominated artist this year – but also showing up big for the environment,” says Dastoor.

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Joy

NICU nurse adopts 14-year-old patient who delivered triplets alone

“I knew it would be impossible to find a foster home that would take all four of them. No one was going to take a teen mom and her preemie triplets.”

NICU nurse adopts teen with three babies.

Having your first baby is a scary experience. Everything is new—you've quite literally never done this before—not to mention an entire human is going to be removed from your body one way or another. Childbirth, no matter how your baby leaves your body, is not for the weak. But imagine giving birth alone to not just one baby, but three, all at the same time. Then imagine doing that feat at the age of 14.

Shariya Small experienced that scenario in a hospital in Indiana, and her nurse Katrina Mullen took note. Small's babies were premature, born at just 26 weeks, when the average gestation for triplets is 33 weeks, according to ReproductiveFacts.org. Due to their early birth, the babies, Serenitee, Samari and Sarayah, had to stay in the NICU at Community Hospital North in Indianapolis for more than five months, according to Today.com.

During their time in the NICU, Mullen noticed the young mom visited her babies alone, not appearing to have much of a support system. “She’d be there alone for days at a time sitting at her babies’ bedside,” Mullen told Today.com.

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Kampus Production/Canva

How often do you change your sheets?

If you were to ask a random group of people, "How often do you wash your sheets?" you'd likely get drastically different answers. There are the "Every single Sunday without fail" folks, the "Who on Earth washes their sheets weekly?!?" people and everyone in between.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Mattress Advisor, the average time between sheet changings or washings in the U.S. is 24 days—or every 3 1/2 weeks, approximately. The same survey revealed that 35 days is the average interval at which unwashed sheets are "gross."

Some of you are cringing at those stats while others are thinking, "That sounds about right." But how often should you wash your sheets, according to experts?

Hint: It's a lot more frequent than 24 days.

While there is no definitive number of days or weeks, most experts recommend swapping out used sheets for clean ones every week or two.

Dermatologist Alok Vij, MD told Cleveland Clinic that people should wash their sheets at least every two weeks, but probably more often if you have pets, live in a hot climate, sweat a lot, are recovering from illness, have allergies or asthma or if you sleep naked.

We shed dead skin all the time, and friction helps those dead skin cells slough off, so imagine what's happening every time you roll over and your skin rubs on the sheets. It's normal to sweat in your sleep, too, so that's also getting on your sheets. And then there's dander and dust mites and dirt that we carry around on us just from living in the world, all combining to make for pretty dirty sheets in a fairly short period of time, even if they look "clean."

Maybe if you shower before bed and always wear clean pajamas you could get by with a two-week sheet swap cycle, but weekly sheet cleaning seems to be the general consensus among the experts. The New York Times consulted five books about laundry and cleaning habits, and once a week was what they all recommend.

Sorry, once-a-monthers. You may want to step up your sheet game a bit.

What about the rest of your bedding? Blankets and comforters and whatnot?

Sleep.com recommends washing your duvet cover once a week, but this depends on whether you use a top sheet. Somewhere between the Gen X and Millennial eras, young folks stopped being about the top sheet life, just using their duvet with no top sheet. If that's you, wash that baby once a week. If you do use a top sheet, you can go a couple weeks longer on the duvet cover.

For blankets and comforters and duvet inserts, Sleep.com says every 3 months. And for decorative blankets and quilts that you don't really use, once a year washing will suffice.

What about pillows? Pillowcases should go in with the weekly sheet washing, but pillows themselves should be washed every 3 to 6 months. Washing pillows can be a pain, and if you don't do it right, you can end up with a lumpy pillow, but it's a good idea because between your sweat, saliva and skin cells, pillows can start harboring bacteria.

Finally, how about the mattress itself? Home influencers on TikTok can often be seen stripping their beds, sprinkling their mattress with baking soda, brushing it into the mattress fibers and then vacuuming it all out. Architectural Digest says the longer you leave baking soda on the mattress, the better—at least a few hours, but preferably overnight. Some people add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda for some extra yummy smell.

If that all sounds like way too much work, maybe just start with the sheets. Pick a day of the week and make it your sheet washing day. You might find that climbing into a clean, fresh set of sheets more often is a nice way to feel pampered without a whole lot of effort.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young perform in 1970.

Nineteen-sixty-nine was a pivotal year in American culture. The hippies and the counterculture were ascendant, and everything that came before in entertainment was as square as can be.

In cinema, there was the world before and after 1969’s “Easy Rider.” In music, the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair was a defining moment for the new era, and on television, the anti-establishment “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” divided households over its anti-war stance.

In September of that year, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSN&Y) were asked to play a duet with Welsh singer Tom Jones on his television show and the pairing was a perfect example of the culture clash. Jones was famous for his hit songs “It’s Not Unusual” and “What’s New Pussycat?” and was adept at dodging panties being thrown at him by the adoring ladies in the audience.

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Photo by Adam Gonzales on Unsplash

A seafaring lifestyle from the comfort of home.

Imagine spending every day exploring wondrous locations, eating expertly crafted meals, enjoying year-round indulgence … could there be anything better?

Taking a lifelong cruise might sound like something out of a dream, and an unrealistic one at that. But leaving the land behind and adopting a seafaring lifestyle is now more attainable than ever.

By 2024, cruise line Storylines will launch a 741-foot ship dubbed the MV Narrative, a huge vessel containing 547 fully furnished rooms available for purchase or lease.

The cruise will definitely be the stuff of luxury, with its high-end spas, movie theater, yoga sun deck, state-of-the-art fitness center, art studio … it even has a bowling alley, for crying out loud. But being a “residential community at sea,” there will also be things like a library, post office, school and bank.
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Education

Incredible audio shows what WWI sounded like when the guns and bombs just suddenly stopped

It's both beautiful and haunting to hear the ceasefire silence at the agreed-upon 11th hour.

Much of World War I was fought in trenches.

On November 11, 1918, U.S.soldier Robert Casey wrote from the American front in Western Europe:

And this is the end of it. In three hours the war will be over. It seems incredible even as I write it. I suppose I ought to be thrilled and cheering. Instead I am merely apathetic and incredulous … There is some cheering across the river—occasional bursts of it as the news is carried to the advanced lines. For the most part, though, we are in silence … With all is a feeling that it can’t be true. For months we have slept under the guns … We cannot comprehend the stillness.

It was the 11th day of the 11th month, and the war was scheduled to end with a ceasefire at the 11th hour—11:00 a.m. exactly. It had been four years of bloody, brutal fighting in what would later be called World War I. (Ironically, the war that was dubbed "the war to end all wars.")

The sense of relief at the ceasefire had to have been palpable, and thanks to modern technology, we can get an idea of what it sounded like to have the constant gunfire, artillery shells, fighter planes and bombs just…stop.

The following audio is not a recording, since magnetic tape recording technology didn't exist in WWI. It's a sound recreation based on visual "sound ranging" recordings the military used to determine where enemy fire was coming from. Special units placed microphones in the ground and used photographic film to visually record the noise intensity of gunfire, similarly to how seismometer measures an earthquake.

The lines you see in the film below are vibrations from noises at the River Moselle on the American Front, which were interpreted by sound company Coda to Coda using meticulous research on the kinds of weaponry that would have been used and how far away they were, even taking into account the geography of the area.

The result is the sounds soldiers would have heard during the last minute of World War I. Listen:

The little bird chirp at the end really punctuates it, doesn't it? Beautiful, yet haunting.

The fact that there was an exact minute when opposing forces agreed to lay down their arms and then did so is a bit surreal. If you know you're going to stop shooting, why wait for a few hours and keep shooting one another? Why not just say, "Stop, we're done now"? Communication took time and the various forces needed to be informed of the ceasefire agreement, so it makes some sense, but still. The armistice agreement was signed six hours before the ceasefire. In those six hours—when peace had already been agreed upon—3,000 soldiers were killed. Talk about senseless deaths.

Of all the things humans have devised and systematized, war is probably the weirdest. Leaders get into disputes over political or geographic particulars, and then one says, "I'm going to send my people to kill your people." Another responds, "If your people kill my people, then my people will kill your people." Then the worst of human atrocities are perpetrated by people who would normally never dream of doing such things to one another until, at some point, they've all have had enough of the senseless destruction, the leaders come to some kind of agreement and say, "OK, our people will no longer kill each other. Good talk."

Of course, it's all a bit more complicated than that, but at the same time, it's not. War as a concept is simply stupid and stupidly simple. Humanity in general does seem to have grasped the stupidity of it, as we've been making global progress toward a more peaceful world for many decades. But as conflicts ignite and violence explode in certain regions, we feel the tenuousness of that progress, which makes peacemaking skills all the more valuable.

Twenty million people were killed in WWI, more than half of them civilians. Many of them died from famine and disease brought on by the conditions of war. This audio is a reminder that these things don't just happen—they are choices that human beings make. Destruction and diplomacy are both choices. Retaliation and restoration are choices. War and peace are choices.

We've tried choosing war followed by peace, many times over. Maybe we should try choosing peace without having to go through the stupid, senseless killing part first.

@soimjenn/Instagram, used with permission

You never know where chance encounter might lead.

A woman named Jen Chia is having even the most cynical of us reconsidering the existence of fated encounters after finding an old selfie with her husband Jon visible in the background…years before they even met.

On Instagram, Jenn wrote “I’m still shaking looking at this,” sharing a photo taken in Oct 2012, where she appeared to be enjoying a drink at what appears to be a theater.

Behind her we see a bearded man casually standing with a backpack. That man was apparently Jon. Both were completely oblivious to their future significant others.

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