Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The Greatest Night in Pop

Making use of documentary footage nearly 40 years old, along with recent interviews with Lionel RichieBruce SpringsteenHuey LewisDione Warwick, and Cyndi Lauper, director Bao Nguyen frames the story of one of the most unlikely nights in pop music when an eclectic group of artists came together to record a charity single which would raise more than $80 million for humanitarian aid in Africa.

Given that this footage had been around for the better part of half a century, the real question is why it took so long for someone to put a documentary like this together. That... and what was Dan Akroyd of all people doing there? Nguyen's documentary helps frame events that led to the writing and recording of "We Are the World" including much of the documentary being spent on the single night where artists ranging from Kenny Rogers to Michael Jackson were brought together in secret for one laborious recording session into the wee hours of the morning.

While I think Nguyen leaves a bit of meat on the bone, with likely several interesting tidbits of that night not delved into too deeply, and spends a bit too much time on an artist that wasn't even involved in the project, the length of time between the documentary and the original recording certainly presents some challenges with several of the performers no longer being with us to offer their remembrances. That said, The Greatest Night in Pop does deliver what it promises in an entertaining look back at a star-studded affair that led to artists earnestly seeking out each others autographs and Paul Simon to deadpan remark, "If a bomb lands on this place, John Denver is back on top."

Watch the trailer
  • Title: The Greatest Night in Pop
  • IMDb: link

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