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Lionel Richie recalls scary moment while writing with Michael Jackson

Lionel Richie said he had a scary encounter with one of Michael Jackson's pets while writing We Are the World with the late singer. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Lionel Richie said he had a scary encounter with one of Michael Jackson's pets while writing "We Are the World" with the late singer. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 30 (UPI) -- Lionel Richie is looking back on his hit 1985 charity single "We Are the World."

The 71-year-old singer and television personality said on Thursday's episode of Watch What Happens Live that he had a scary moment while writing the song with late singer Michael Jackson.

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Richie was asked to name his favorite moment from writing the song but said a scary encounter with one of Jackson's pets came to mind.

"There's only one that comes to mind, that scared me to absolute death, was we were in Michael's room trying to write the lyrics to the whole thing and I kept hearing this sound," Richie said before mimicking the noise. "I kept thinking, what the heck is that."

"Well, to my right ... lying on the floor, I am eye to eye with his ... albino python," he added. "All I can tell you was, I was screaming like the last horror movie in Hollywood."

Richie said Jackson was unperturbed by the incident.

"Here's the words that got me -- He says, 'Oh my god, Lionel. I found him. I knew he was in here somewhere,'" Richid said. "He lost the snake in his room ... That's a memory while we were writing the lyrics."

"We Are the World," which raised funds for famine relief in Africa, featured Richie, Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan and other stars. Richie said he was worried about Dylan showing up on time for recording.

"Bob is a sweetheart but when Bob says 'I'll be there,' you have to say to yourself, 'Okay, did he get the right day? Is it the right time? Is he gonna be there?'" he said. "Surprisingly enough, Bob was one of the first there."

On WWHL, Richie also discussed writing the song "Lady" for Kenny Rogers.

"I wrote the song in sketch form. It was called 'Baby,'" Richie said. "If you know anything about presenting a song to the Commodores, you don't finish the song because if they don't like the first half of it, they'll throw it away. So I didn't finish it."

"[Rogers] called me and said, 'Do you have a song for me?'" Richie said. "I now go to Vegas. Kenny Rogers tells me how in love he is with his new wife, 'I've never had a lady before in my whole life. Can you imagine, Lionel? I married a real lady. By the way, what's the name of the song?' I said, 'Lady.'"

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