Today, we explain why Pat Benatar wasn’t included in “We Are the World.”
In Pop Culture Questions Answered, I answer whatever questions you folks might have about movies, TV, music or whatever (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brian@pop culture references.com).
One of the big things that I established in a previous post about why Madonna wasn’t included in “We Are the World” is that, for the most part, being involved in “We Are the World” wasn’t, like, some sort of award that you qualified for by doing X or Y, it was simply a matter of who the organizers of “We Are the World” decided to ask (and when your manager is part of the organizing, then you definitely have a leg up, like Kim Carnes did).
So when it comes to artists being “snubbed,” it was simply a matter of them not being asked by either Ken Kragen, or one of the three musicians in charge of writing the song (Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones. Stevie Wonder was ostensibly part of the song development process, as well, but he wasn’t actively involved, and he definitely didn’t get involved enough to ask other people to participate).
One of the more surprising singers who was absent from the song was Pat Benatar, who was on a hot streak at the time, including the monster 1984 hit, “We Belong” (it never reached #1 in any given week, but it finished the year in the top 40 songs overall).
In this case, though, Benatar wasn’t snubbed. She was pregnant at the time, and due to give birth a few weeks after the recording of “We Are the World,” so she wasn’t able to participate. She did, though, donate the proceeds of a single (I think it might have even been “We Belong,” I haven’t been able to get a confirmation on the specific song. If so, that’s super generous of her) to USA for Africa.
So that’s one possible snub that wasn’t an actual snub!
I can’t find the person who asked me about Benatar. Let me know and I’ll add in a mention of your name here! As for everyone else, if you have a pop culture question, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!