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Today Is the 30th Anniversary of "We Are the World" Recording Session


USA for AfricaThirty years ago today, dozens of top musicians came together to record "We Are the World," the successful charity single that raised money for hunger victims in Africa.

The song, which was written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, came on the heels of the British charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" It was recorded in Hollywood after the 1985 American Music Awards, and featured a who's who of popular artists from that time.  The artists recorded under the name USA for Africa.

In addition to Richie and Jackson, the song also featured Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan, and Ray Charles.

The all-star chorus included Dan Aykroyd, Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, Sheila E., Bob Geldof, Bette Midler, Waylon Jennings, John Oates, Jeffrey Osborne, The Pointer Sisters, Smokey Robinson, and Michael Jackson's siblings, Jackie, La Toya, Marlon, Randy, and Tito.

Richie tells USA Today that he and Jackson listened to various national anthems in order to get into their minds into writing a "world anthem." "We didn't want a normal-sounding song," recalls Richie. "We wanted bombastic, the biggest thing you got."

Billy Joel told ABC News Radio in 2005 that when he first heard the track, he wasn't impressed at all.  "I wasn't that crazy about the song.  I think that was my main memory of that," he recalled. "It was, 'Oh, this is the song?'...It sounded like a Pepsi commercial!"

Dionne Warwick tells ABC News Radio the experience remains difficult to describe.  "I've been asked this question several times -- 'How did it feel, how was it,' and that.  You can't put it in words," she says.  "It's one of those, 'You had to be there.'  You know, the magnitude of talent that was in that room, my god!  It was like the who's who and who is not, even, of show business and the recorded world.  It was amazing.  Amazing."

The recording session on January 28, 1985 at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood began at 9 p.m. and lasted 12 hours.  The artists were greeted by a sign that read, "Check your egos at the door."

Quincy Jones, who produced the track, recalls that the sign wasn't necessary. "Here you had 46 of the biggest recording stars in the entire world in one room, to help people in a far-off place who were in desperate need," Jones tells USA Today.

Warwick agrees: "There are many times that you might need to say that, in close quarters," she says, laughing.  "But not that evening.  That evening is still, still sparkles.  It was an enormously incredible evening."

"I don't think that night, that experience, will ever truly be duplicated again," says Jones. "I know and believe in the power of music to bring people together for the betterment of mankind, and there may be no better example of this than the collective that was 'We Are the World.'"

Following its release in March 7, 1985, "We Are the World" sold more than 20 million copies and raised more than 60 million dollars for famine relief in Africa. It went on to win three Grammy Awards.

An updated version of the song was recorded in 2010 to help victims of the Haiti earthquake. It featured Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Adam Levine and Kanye West, among others.

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Uh-Oh, Awkward: John Mayer to Welcome Ed Sheeran as Guest When He Hosts "The Late Late Show"


ABC/Randy Holmes; ABC/Lou Rocco; Christie GoodwinJohn Mayer will be stepping in as a host on CBS' The Late Late Show next month, and he has some interesting guests lined up, including a guy who's BFFs with -- awkward! -- a woman he allegedly once dated.

John will be behind the desk recently vacated by Craig Ferguson from February 4 through February 6.  On his first night, he'll welcome Bravo's Andy Cohen, of Watch What Happens fame.  On Thursday the 5th, his guest will be Jim Carrey.  And on Friday the 6th, two nights before the Grammy Awards, his guest will be Ed Sheeran, who's up for four Grammys this year, including Album of the Year. 

But will things be weird between Ed and John?  After all, Ed is one of Taylor Swift's best friends, and John not only reportedly dated Taylor, he did her wrong enough to allegedly inspire the song "Dear John" on her album Speak Now.   Taylor, of course, has never admitted that the song is about John, and called him "presumptuous" in Glamour magazine for thinking that it was.  But a couple of years ago, John told Rolling Stone that "Dear John" "humiliated" him.

"It made me feel terrible," he said at the time.  "Because I didn't deserve it. I'm pretty good at taking accountability now, and I never did anything to deserve that. It was a really lousy thing for her to do." He added, "It's abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, 'Wait till he gets a load of this!'"

John later released a song called "Paper Doll" that everyone assumed was about Taylor.

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Meghan Trainor Was "Addicted to Diets" Before Embracing Her Curves


Brooke NiparBefore she was singing about "bringing booty back" and embracing her curves, Meghan Trainor had to fight low self-esteem just like the rest of us. The 21-year-old singer admitted to U.K.’s Reveal that she used to be "addicted to diets," and tried to follow Beyonce's weight-loss secret.

Meghan tells the publication that her insecurities began in school when her best guy friend told her she’d be "so hot" if she lost ten pounds. She said she rushed home and told her mom she was “never eating again.” That's when she started researching fad diets online.

"I Googled, ‘What does Beyonce do?’ and decided I'd try the detox diet with cayenne pepper,” Meghan recalled. "Do you know how much I had to drink to get used to it? It was so gross. I stopped straight away. I was like, ‘This is not normal.’”

Meghan said she’s since met Beyonce, who's a fan of her music, and credits her for having a “real figure” in a business where many women feel they have to be skin and bones.

"I definitely feel like I'm 30 and I've been through a lot,” the 21-year-old singer said. “I haven't experienced anything crucial or devastating. But I got addicted to weird little diets and I quickly realized how stupid it was.”

Meghan said that when she first wrote her #1 Grammy-nominated hit “All About That Bass,” it was more about how she wished she felt, rather than how she actually felt, about her body. But once she started performing and getting positive feedback, she says, she started to feel more confident.  Now, she encourages her friends to love their bodies.

"I'm just 100 percent happier than I was,” she said. “The trick I tell my girlfriends now is that you have to say it out loud. You haven't got to nearly kill yourself on these diets. You just have to look in the mirror and tell yourself, ‘Damn I look good today!’”

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Enrique Iglesias Accused of Stealing His 2014 Hit, "Bailando"?


ABC/Lorenzo BevilaquaEnrique Iglesias is reportedly being sued over his 2014 hit, "Bailando," by two songwriters who claim he stole the tune from them.

According to TMZ, Cristian Escuti and German Schulz claim "Bailando" is a rip-off of a song they recorded in 2009 called "Quiero Bailar Contigo." The pair claim they sent the tune to a Sony executive in 2012, but never heard back.

The songwriters claim the melody, lyrics, rhythm and chorus line of "Bailando" were taken from their tune.  The pair claims Sony had partial ownership of the tune, and conspired to steal it from them.

TMZ says Escuti and Schulz are particularly angry that "Bailando" was Iglesias' biggest song from his Sex and Love album, and the video has nearly 690 million views on YouTube.

TMZ claims they requested a copy of "Quiero Bailar Contigo," but Escuti and Schulz's attorney said his clients wouldn't let him send it to the them.

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Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani Performing at the Grammys


ABC/Ida Mae AstuteLady Gaga and Tony Bennett, who are nominated for a Grammy for their duet album Cheek to Cheek, will be performing at the ceremony next month.

Gaga announced Tuesday on Twitter, "Me and @itstonybennett are so excited to announce we will be performing at #TheGrammys this year! Thank you to @TheGRAMMYs and our fans!"

Cheek to Cheek is nominated in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category.

Grammy organizers have also announced that Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani will take the stage together. Gwen served as a coach alongside Adam on the fall 2014 season of The Voice.

Pharrell, Sam Smith, Madonna, AC/DC, Ed Sheeran, Usher, Ariana Grande, Annie Lennox, and Hozier will also perform at the Grammys, which will air February 8 on CBS.

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One Direction, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran & Calvin Harris Named Among Most Influential Brits


Jeff Daly/NBCOne Direction, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Calvin Harris made this year’s annual Debrett’s 500 list of most influential Brits.

They were featured in the music section of the list, alongside producer and X Factor judge and creator Simon Cowell.. According to Debrett’s, a publisher specializing in British etiquette and style, the annual music list “shines a spotlight on the people who are making the most impact on this fast-changing industry, from the recording artists and record label executives, to the radio playlist-setters, music critics and the people changing the face of the music industry in the digital age.”

The unranked list features the most influential people in the U.K. across 24 disciplines including art, stage & screen, business & industry, sports and politics.

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Lifehouse Announces New Album, Premieres Lead Single "Hurricane"


Ironworks Records/Kobalt Label ServicesLifehouse is back with new music. The band has announced details of their upcoming album, and premiered their new single “Hurricane” on Billboard.com.

Out of the Wasteland, the band’s first new release since 2012’s Almería, will arrive May 19. “There was a kind of unlearning with this album,” says frontman Jason Wade. “We wanted to retrace our steps back to the beginning and really find the innocence, that feeling of being 17-year-old kids who get excited about playing in the garage.”

The album's lead single, “Hurricane,” represents the type of return to its roots that the band was going for. "'Hurricane' started as a catchy up-tempo pop song and then transformed into this electric, energetic rock song that was very reminiscent of our first album," Jason tells Billboard. "I feel like it is the backbone of the record, and was the catalyst that brought our band back around full circle."

The video for the song features the band playing behind bars, and cuts to scenes of a couple working out their issues in the chaotic setting of a prison. "Hurricane" is currently the iTunes’ Single of the Week and is available for free download.

Here’s the track list for Out of the Wasteland, Lifehouse’s seventh studio album:

“Hurricane”
“One for the Pain”
“Flight”
“Runaways”
“Firing Squad”
“Wish”
“Stardust”
“Alien”
“Central Park”
“Hurt This Way”
“Yesterday’s Son”
“Hourglass”

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Kiesza Announces New Single, Tour Dates


Lokal Legend/4th and B'way/Island RecordsThis “Hideaway” singer is not about to hide away any time soon. Kiesza just announced her second single, as well as dates for her first major North American tour.

The 26-year-old Canadian’s follow-up single will be “Sound of a Woman,” off her debut album of the same name. She’s hitting the road this spring with special guest Betty Who. The Sound of a Woman tour is set to kick off March 30 in Atlanta and wrap up five weeks later, on May 7 in Montreal.

In addition to the tour dates, Kiesza will also be performing at some festivals. She’ll take the stage at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami from March 27 to 29 and the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California on April 10and 17. She’ll also play the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City from June 5 to 7.  

Tickets for the tour go on sale January 30. Here are the tour and festival dates:

3/27-29 -- Miami, FL, Ultra Music Festival
3/30 -- Atlanta, GA, Center Stage
3/31 -- Nashville, TN, Marathon Music Works
4/2 -- Houston, TX, Fitzgerald’s
4/3 -- Austin, TX, Emo's
4/4 -- Dallas, TX, Granada Theater
4/6 -- Denver, CO, Gothic Theatre
4/7 -- Salt Lake City, UT, The Depot
4/10 -- Indio, CA, Coachella Music Festival
4/12 -- Phoenix, AZ, Crescent Ballroom
4/17 -- Indio, CA, C,  Hawthorne Theatre
4/20 -- Vancouver, B.C., Commodore Ballroom
4/22 -- Edmonton, AB, Union Hall
4/23 -- Calgary, AB, MacEwan Hall
4/26 -- Madison, WI, Majestic Theatre
4/27 -- Chicago, IL, Metro
4/30 -- Cleveland, OH, House of Blues
5/1 -- Detroit, MI, St. Andrews Hall
5/2 -- Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall
5/4 -- New York, NY, Irving Plaza
5/6 -- Boston, MA, House of Blues
5/7 -- Montreal, QC, Metropolis
6/5-7 -- New York, NY, Governors Ball Music Festival

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MAGIC! & Kiesza Top Juno Awards Nominations


Image Group LA/ABCThe 2015 Juno Awards nominations were announced Tuesday, and MAGIC! leads the pack.

The “Rude” group from Toronto nabbed five nominations, including Pop Album of the Year, Single of the Year and Breakthrough Group of the Year. “Hideaway” singer Kiesza, a fellow Canadian, follows close behind with four nominations, including Single of the Year and Breakthrough Artist of the Year. 

Other Canadian nominees include Avril Lavigne, Nickelback -- whose lead singer Chad Kroeger is married to Avril -- and Sarah McLachlan.  Also nominated is You Me, the side project of Pink and singer-songwriter Dallas Green.  Pink's not Canadian, of course, but Dallas is.

Other big nominees include Katy Perry, Lorde, One Direction, Sam Smith and Taylor Swift -- who are all up for International Album of the Year.

The Juno Awards, Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys, will be held on March 15 in Hamilton, Ontario. A full list of nominees can be found on JunoAwards.ca.

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Maroon 5 to Perform on "The Victoria's Secret Swim Special"


Vincent Perini/222 Recordings/Interscope RecordsIf you're still recovering from the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show that aired in December, prepare your heart for the sight of more scantily-clad models frolicking to the sound of chart-topping pop hits. 

The Victoria's Secret Swim Special, set to air on CBS next month, will feature a performance by Maroon 5.  No big surprise, since one of the models featured on the special is Behati Prinsloo, wife of Maroon 5's Adam Levine.  The special was taped in Puerto Rico, and will show the Angels modeling their sexy swimwear as they go underwater, trek through the jungle, and talk about how important the shoot is to their lives and careers.

In addition to Behati, the special features Lily Aldridge, Adriana Lima, Candice Swanepoel and others.  Spanish rocker Juanes is also on the bill.

The Victoria's Secret Swim Special airs February 26 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

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