Michael Jackson performs “We are the world” live at the Bill Clinton Inauguration 1993

Michael Jackson performed “We are the world” with a selection of the worlds biggest musical stars for Bill Clinton on the 18th January 1993. The event was the official Inauguration of President Bill Clinton and the celebrations and ceremony lasted 3 days. Michael Jackson actually performed for Bill Clinton twice over the 3 days – He was a big part of it! Yesterday we looked at Michael performing “We are the world” live with “Boys II Men”, a couple of years later in 1995.

Michael Jackson and Bill Clinton

Recently, Michael said that he “liked” Bill Clinton and that is evident by his support for the man and his campaign. He says that he doesn’t get involved with politics but back in 1992 he definitely supported the man with 2 solid performances. It could be viewed that he was supporting the “President” but he also performed for Bill Clinton when he wasn’t president, for a 3rd and last time, in April 2002 at a fundraising event – This would be Michael’s last ever proper live performance. They obviously had a liking for each other and we can see this over all the performances as well as the interactions between the two men. Today we’ll look at the first performance!

President – elect and Michael Jackson sing “We are the world” at the Abraham Lincoln monument, Washington DC

It was Monday 18th January and it was freezing cold in Washington! A massive stage had been constructed for a celebration of Bill Clinton becoming President. He actually sang on stage with Michael and the stars including, Diana Ross, Quincy Jones conducting, Aretha Franklin …. basically everybody. The New York Times described it very well at the time:

“A grandiose musical celebration, staged by the President-elect’s Hollywood friends, drew hundreds of thousands to the Mall to hear Ray Charles, L.L. Cool J., Tony Bennett and others in “A Call for Reunion.” They lined both sides of the Reflecting Pool as Mr. Clinton, accompanied by his wife, Hillary, and Vice President-elect Al Gore and Tipper Gore, came down the steps of the Memorial to the blare of trumpets while 21 military jets flew over in tight formation. Well-Managed Scene

In a tableau that bore all the marks of professional image-makers from Madison Avenue and Southern California, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea, joined such middle-brow cultural totems as Kenny Rogers, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross in singing “We Are the World.” The performance was broadcast on television, the fees for which defrayed most of the costs of the evening’s entertainment”

We are the world Performance (video)

This is actually a rare performance because most people focus on Michael performance the next day and forget that he appeared at the opening of the celebration. A few things from the performance:

1) We have a massive number of people on stage.We have a choir, we have the military band, we have the orchestra in the pit, all of the vocalists and VIPs as well as the secret service (who you can see everywhere – especially at the top of the picture). This must have been stressful for the artists because each and everyone of them would have had to wait around and be searched and be checked. You can see that some them are not happy at all – look at Aretha Franklin! Does Michael Jackson have to do a security check? Probably yes, they check everybody.

2) All of the vocals are live and except for some choir parts. Musically, it is a backing track with some elements played live, it is completely live from about 5.57 minutes … considering how cold it was, most people sounded great!

3) Michael’s vocals! Michael’s vocals seemed strained (you can hear this when he shouts “Quincy” near the end). He also “missed” his cue and caught up … but i’ll let you into a little secret! πŸ™‚ He didn’t “miss” anything … he also “missed” the same cue in We are the world with Boys II Men (which you can check out here). It seems that Michael doesn’t like to sing that bit live and just leaves it out (or appears on stage slightly late, as is yesterdays articles case)

4) Diana Ross is the real star of this performance. Her vocals are amazing and she looks amazing. i once saw her perform and was shocked at how good her voice was. There was a situation with designer and Diana Ross with regard the the red coat she was wearing – when she opened her jacket it still had the white label/tag inside it – this was later reported by the media that she was angry about this.

*Michael Jackson rare secret coming here!*

Talking about labels – in 2001 at the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary celebrations Michael takes off a white jacket before he starts performing. If you were there and looked really carefully, or have eagle eyes you would have noticed something which was shown very quickly when he threw his jacket- on the inside of that jacket is an A4 size label/template it says:

“MICHAEL JACKSON, 30th Anniversary Celebration – The Solo Years – Made expressly for MICHAEL by Dennis Tompkins/Michael Bush – Las Vegas”

Something rare for you! πŸ™‚

5) We see The President and all his family greet Michael on stage and sign along – I would say they know the words pretty well and the President sound great!

Michael would perform for the President the next day and he would go on to perform 3 songs, including “Dangerous” at another show.

I hope you enjoyed the performance! More to come tomorrow!


Michael’s song “We are the world” was performed in one of the biggest shows ever – LIVE AID 1985! You may remember that Michael Jackson wasn’t actually on stage. This is what the New York Times had to say about it at the time:

“The reason Michael Jackson was not at the Live Aid concert to sing the song he co-wrote, ”We Are the World,” was that Mr. Jackson was ”working around the clock in the studio on a project that he’s made a major commitment to,” according to his press agent, Norman Winter.

”The project will be announced formally in a few weeks,” Mr. Winter said.

”Michael is just about living in the studio, rehearsing and recording. I know, what could be more major than Live Aid, but Michael couldn’t turn his back on his responsibility to the people he’s working with. This affected employment for a lot of people.”

”We Are the World” was the finale of the Live Aid concert Saturday.”

By Anthony King (c)

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