the World” together—writing on index cards the names of everyone they hoped would join the recording session, figuring out who was going to stand where and who would sing what part.
Now, tonight, they would actually record it.
But before that were the American Music Awards, televised on ABC, one of the biggest nights of the year. Kragen’s masterstroke in scheduling the recording session was doing it on the night of the awards, when so many artists would be in town.
Richie not only was nominated for eight awards; he was hosting the thing, too. He was supposed to be over at the Shrine Auditorium by 10:00 this morning for rehearsals.
It was 7:30.
They would run through the whole show, starting with a long opening dance number choreographed to Richie’s big hit “Running with the Night,” which he would perform wearing a gold lamé suit, surrounded by a dozen dancers.
The drive to the Shrine, from Richie’s house up on Funchal Road near the Bel-Air Country Club, was about a half hour.
Thirty-five years later, when he’s asked about that day, this is the first thing Richie will say: “Let us first trace the meaning of the words delirium
His manager, Jon Landau, had originally told Kragen that Springsteen was a long shot for this “We Are the World” thing. He’d been touring for so long, and he had a break before picking it up again overseas, and, well . . . Landau would see what he could do.
Then Landau called Kragen back a couple weeks before to tell him Springsteen was in, and the dominoes began to fall. Instead of Kragen calling managers and agents all day to recruit artists for this project, everybody started calling him.
Bruce was in. Everybody wanted in.