On Monday, the music world came together to record a new version of “We Are the World,” the classic charity single organized by Michael Jackson and producer Quincy Jones that was originally conceived to fight hunger in Africa and will now raise funds for earthquake relief in Haiti.
But it wasn’t the only star-studded charity song to grab headlines, as the Simon Cowell-produced cover of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” premiered this morning. The track contains turns from more than 20 stars, including Susan Boyle, Mariah Carey, Jon Bon Jovi, Rod Stewart, Mika, Miley Cyrus, Leona Lewis and Kylie Minogue. The song also includes a reunion of Take That, featuring lead singer Robbie Williams.
The tune was recorded in both Los Angeles and London and made its premiere on BBC Radio 1 early Tuesday morning (February 2). The song is currently available for pre-order via a handful of British retailers (including HMV.com and Amazon.co.uk) and will be available starting Sunday, February 7. Proceeds will benefit the Helping Haiti fund established by U.K. newspaper The Sun, which also helped organize the production of the track, and the Disasters Emergency Committee.
“We have a short time to do this but already we are getting some fantastic support,” Cowell told Sky News while organizing the recording. “Right now this is an absolute priority for us all. The people of Haiti need as much help as we can give them as soon as possible. Every day the situation becomes more desperate.”
“Everybody Hurts” was originally a massive hit for R.E.M., one of several big singles from their 1992 album Automatic for the People. The video, which featured a traffic jam in which people abandoned their cars, became an MTV staple in 1993 and scored four Video Music Awards in 1994.