The late Michael Jackson will appear in the 25th anniversary remake of “We Are The World,” Access Hollywood has learned.
Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones, who, along with Jackson, masterminded the original version in 1985, told Access’s Shaun Robinson on Wednesday that the King of Pop’s original vocals and footage would be used in the song and video. Michael will appear posthumously in a split-screen with sister Janet Jackson joining him.
“To have Michael’s presence singing his part is the best gift we could ever get,” Richie said. “His original image and him seeing his part.”
Richie called the duet with Janet Jackson “magical.”
“She’s singing with Mike,” Richie said. “It was all put together with fabulous choreography. It’s magical.”
The request came straight from Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother, herself, the pair told Access.
Jackson is the only star to appear on both versions. The rest of the dozens of singers (not to mention rappers and actors) involved will be a new group — for a new generation.
“My daughter Sophie — (when she was) 5 years old, 6 years old — she came to me and said, ‘Dad, we learned a new song in school, ‘We Are The World,’ and I found out you wrote it with Michael Jackson,” Richie explained. “How do we give it to the next generation? And (my daughter) Nicole (Richie), with her kid — she was 4 years old. And now she’s in this one holding Harlow.”
“And my two daughters,” Jones added. “They were all babies together.”
Other performers involved in the remake range from young stars such as Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers to Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett.
“When you say you’re going to redo, it conjures up al kinds of terrible images of what could go wrong. Everything could go wrong!” Richie said. “Once we got there, we realized, who do we give the power to? A totally new group. And we put the icons in, of course — Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion — because that’s the ground floor of what will make the excitement come from the newer people, to stand next to those people.”
And Richie added that the good vibes were flowing in the studio.
“Snoop was having the best time of his life, just standing there next to Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand. “It was just a wonderful group of people together.”
Money raised from the single, due shortly, will go toward Haiti relief.