When the original single was recorded in 1985, there was a sign at the studio that read, "Check your egos at the door." This time, Lionel says everyone's egos disappeared once they were reminded why they were there. "It lasted for about 20 minutes," he says. "Once you see the kids standing on top of their homes, on top of their families—because they're still in the rubble. ... Now, the egos stop. You absolutely know what you're supposed to do when you're there."
Despite the amazing talent in the room, Lionel says many of the performers were actually nervous. "You get in there and realize the new group can't really perform in the circle. In other words, they're nervous," he says. "We had to have three separate rooms [for soloists to record in]."
The plan, Lionel says, was for the new recording to remain a secret.. "Right after we finished the first verse, everybody's Twittered."