Picks and Pans Review: Usa for Africa: the Story of 'we Are the World'

updated 05/06/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/06/1985 01:00AM

HBO (Wednesday, May 1, 10 p.m. ET)

If Woodstock were convened today, it would not be on a muddy farm field but in a well-lit studio. And the stars would not arrive in VW vans but in limos. It would be a video. And afterward the story would be told, not in a movie but in a making-of-the-video video. That's what we have here, a fascinating, touching, sometimes funny and altogether delightful inside look at the already legendary recording session by rock's top 45 for We Are the World. You get to see the stars having a kick singing The Banana Boat Song, a sweet tribute to Harry Belafonte who inspired rock's Ethiopian relief here. You see the hilarious scene you've heard about: Stevie Wonder teaching Bob Dylan to sing like Bob Dylan. You hear Ray Charles sing his soulful solo track—without accompaniment (he hears that in his headphones and you don't). You get to see how a record is made, and that's interesting. And you get to see the stars at ease, and that's fun. Michael Jackson even takes off his glasses.

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