Fresh off his bizarre but triumphant concerts at Madison Square Garden, Jackson has announced plans to bring an all-star lineup of pop stars together to record a new tune that hopes to raise $50 million for survivors and families of those killed in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.
"I believe in my heart that the music community will come together as one and rally to the aid of thousands of innocent victims," Jackson says in a statement. "There is a tremendous need for relief dollars right now, and through this effort each one of us can play an immediate role in helping comfort so many people."
The new track, "What More Can I Give," will see the Gloved One joined by such chart-topping popsters as Destiny's Child, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake of 'N Sync, Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys and Mya, among others.
"We have demonstrated time and again that music can touch our souls. It is time we used that power to help us begin the process of healing immediately," says Jackson. "The lyrics to 'What More Can I Give' seek to help the world's citizens find solace in the wake of the attack on America and to create a sense of global unity in the face of mindless violence and mass murder."
The King of Pop was originally inspired to write the tune in March 1999, after a meeting with former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Jackson is currently in the studio working on a demo and plans to release "What More Can I Give" to radio stations as soon as possible. Plans are also underway for a simultaneous release of a Spanish-language version of the song. The new tune, however, won't be finished in time to be included on his upcoming album, Invincible, due out at the end of October.
Jackson cowrote "We Are the World" with Lionel Richie in 1985 and recorded the tune with dozens of top artists. The single and subsequent album raised more than $65 million for the USA for Africa fund.
And Jackson's not the only artist rushing to the relief of victims and survivors. Arista is releasing a special single featuring Whitney Houston's recordings of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful" with proceeds going to New York's police and fire departments. Alanis Morissette is preparing an all-star benefit concert. Madonna donated the receipts of her Thursday concert in Los Angeles to disaster victims and their families, while Janet Jackson, the Backstreet Boys, Lynryrd Skynyrd, Maxwell, James Taylor and Earth, Wind and Fire all made $10,000 contributions to the ClearChannel.com Relief Fund, established by Clear Channel Worldwide, one of the nation's largest concert promoters.
Additionally, Incubus donated the proceeds from its weekend shows in New York to relief funds and Godsmack gave all proceeds from merchandise sales at weekend shows in New York and Pennsylvania to a charity benefiting families of New York City police and fire departments.