Times Staff Writer

"We Are the World," the single recorded late Monday and early Tuesday by 45 pop-music superstars to aid the starving in Africa, will be released in early March, project organizers announced at a press conference in Hollywood Wednesday.

The single will be followed two weeks later by a double album. Though the record company that will handle the project hasn't yet been determined, organizer Ken Kragen said that RCA and CBS are the "prime candidates."

The press conference at a recording studio at A&M; Records was originally called by Kragen (who manages Lionel Richie and Kenny Rogers), Harry Belafonte, record producer Quincy Jones and singer Bob Geldof to announce the project. However, since word of the recording session quickly spread while it was taking place early Tuesday following the American Music Awards show, the speakers at Wednesday's gathering didn't have much to add to information that had already leaked out. But they did fill in a few blanks:

--A video was taped during the session, featuring the singing of the Michael Jackson-Lionel Richie composition and interviews with the participants. It will be packaged for sale, but no arrangements have been finalized. Kragen hopes that portions of it can be shown during the Grammy Awards Feb. 26, which will be telecast by CBS.

--The album will include the single "We Are the World" as well as previously unreleased material from participants on the single as well as from other artists, including Linda Ronstadt, who was unable to attend Tuesday's session due to illness.

--Thirteen tracks are in hand so far, Kragen said after the formal conference, but he added that he's gotten offers for so many additional submissions that he may have to start turning some down soon. His primary goal, Kragen added, is to include acts that will help sell the maximum number of records.

--A live benefit concert may be put together in the near future, Kragen said.

--The undertaking was inspired by Geldof's successful gathering of English pop stars for the "Do They Know It's Christmas" single. Harry Belafonte approached Kragen to organize a similar effort. Kragen contacted Richie, Richie contacted Quincy Jones, Jones contacted Michael Jackson and. . . .

--Participants on the single were: Belafonte, Dan Aykroyd, Lindsey Buckingham, Kim Carnes, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Sheila E., Daryl Hall, James Ingram, Jackie, Jermaine, LaToya, Marlon, Randy, Tito and Michael Jackson, Al Jarreau, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joel, Quincy Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis & the News, Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, John Oates, Jeffrey Osborne, Steve Perry, the Pointer Sisters, Richie, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder.

--All the proceeds from the project will be channeled through a new nonprofit foundation called USA for Africa. In addition to providing emergency food, medical relief and self-help programs to stricken areas of Africa, the undertaking will set aside some funds for hunger relief in the United States.

--Sample lyrics from "We Are the World" by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie:

We are the world, we are the children

We are the ones to make a brighter day,

So let's start giving

There's a choice we're making

We're saving our own lives

It's true we'll make a better day

Just you and me.

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