The project was organized by Bruce Allen, who brought together a large group of artists to record a song written by Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance and David Foster, with additional contributions by Rachel Paiement, Paul Hyde and Bob Rock. The song was recorded on February 10, 1985 at Manta Sound studios in Toronto, Ontario.
The song was issued as a single by CBS Records in March of that year, and quickly reached Number 1 on the Canadian Top 40 charts. The song was later included on USA for Africa's We Are the World album as well. The song's video also received extensive airplay on MuchMusic.
On December 22, 1985, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation aired a 90-minute documentary on the song's creation, which was subsequently released on videocassette as well. A CBC reporter, Brian Stewart, had been the first Western journalist to bring the famine in Ethiopia to worldwide attention.
By 1990, the project had raised $3.2 million for famine relief projects in Africa, although 10 per cent of the money raised were kept to fund Canadian food assistance programs as well.
Chorus members included:
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