Jacek and I could not hit “play” fast enough last night on Netflix’s The Greatest Night in Pop. Like, think of how much joy you get from reading the oral history of whatever way back movie or show and then multiply that by a thousand – because that’s what this documentary is: the visual history of “We Are The World”, as told by many of the people who were there, in the room, in 1985 when 46 of the biggest pop stars in the world, including Michael Jackson, recorded the song. Five minutes into the film, I was euphoric. Because this is exactly the kind of inside baseball entertainment we want from our celebrities. Thanks, in large part, to Lionel Richie.
Lionel Richie is a GREAT storyteller and the fact that he was willing to participate, and willing to share, is what makes The Greatest Night in Pop so good. Because he’s coming at the legend from so many angles. First there’s the construction of the actual song – he co-wrote it with Michael Jackson – and then there was the logistics of it, gathering all those big ass artists on one night in one room. Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan. Ray Charles! Stevie Wonder! Tina Turner! The list goes on and on and on…
And there’s Lionel, who waited until the last minute to write the song with Michael, and then had to f-cking host the American Music Awards before the recording session.
So Lionel is giving us allllll the behind-the-scenes Show Your Work porn about how it all went down but also … the gossip. Because obviously, when you gather that many celebrities in one room, and ask them to sing on a song together, there’s going to be gossip. And they give us the gossip, which I won’t spoil for you here but I just wanted to bring it back to Lionel because, yes, Lionel understands the assignment; as a gifted storyteller he knows exactly what we want from this show and is here to deliver. With, um, sound effects.
It's gossip and it’s work, gossip as part of the work, which is what we live for here at LaineyGossip. Again, no spoilers, but look out for a scene between Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan that should go into the Smithsonian because of how culturally significant it is that their creative collaboration and mentorship was documented – these two titans, with such different approaches to the artform, putting their heads together to figure out the sound, because that is the essence of music, this is the power of music.
I’m telling you, put aside everything else on your watch list for now and send The Greatest Night in Pop to the top. Especially if you were around during that time. The kids on Snap and TikTok? Maybe they won’t give a sh-t but it’s because they don’t know. Their generation might never get an equivalent to what we got in “We Are The World”.
Attached – Lionel with Huey Lewis and Sheila E (!) at the premiere last night. Sheila’s part, by the way, is super noteworthy too. You’ll see… you have to see!
Yours in gossip,