Sheila E. says she felt "used" by the creative team behind the 1985 all-star charity single "We Are the World." She says they promised her a solo verse that never materialized, in an attempt to lure Prince into participating in the project.

The singer and percussionist tells her story in the new Netflix documentary The Greatest Night in Pop, which details the star-studded late-night recording session behind the 1985 hit single.

In order to get dozens of the music world's biggest stars in one place, the creative team behind the song, which included Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones, decided to hold the session immediately after the American Music Awards telecast.

"At that time I was [the opening act on Prince's] Purple Rain tour, it was nonstop," Sheila E. explained. "By the time I got to the AMAs, I was delirious. And I was nervous as heck. I remember Lionel telling me, 'after the AMAs everyone is going to go and sing this song and I want you to sing one of the verses,' and so I was like 'oh, absolutely.'"

Prince had produced, played on and written or co-written every song on Sheila E.'s 1984 debut album The Glamorous Life, and the two were also romantically linked. Richie was apparently hoping she could help convince the "When Doves Cry" star to attend the session. "Lionel said he was hoping Prince would also sing a verse," she recalled. "I was like 'Cool but you know, he's gonna do it on his own time.'"

At the time, Prince and Jackson were battling for dominance on the pop charts. "The rivalry was real," Richie remembered. "It would be great if Michael and Prince were together singing. It was a great statement to make, that even these two guys, for saving lives we can come together to do this."

Sheila E. participated in the group vocals at the start of the evening's work, and was flattered when some of music's biggest stars included her in an impromptu autograph trading session. "I called Prince to let him know how it was going," she recalled. "I said, 'I think maybe you should come. It's pretty cool and you know, everybody's hanging out we're having a great time.'" But Prince had other plans.

"I'm now on the phone with Prince," Richie continues. "He said, 'I want to play a guitar solo. In another room.' I said, 'No no no it's... we're all in the same room. I need you to come and sing.'" Jones backed up Richie: "We just happened to not need a guitar on it."

Why Sheila E. Left the 'We Are The World' Recording Session

Meanwhile, Sheila E. was getting frustrated. "It was getting late and I was looking forward to singing one of the verses. But they kept asking, 'Well, do you think you can get Prince here?' I just started feeling like I feel like I'm being used to be here, because they want Prince to show up and the longer they keep me maybe Prince will come up."

Eventually, she had enough. "I already knew he wasn't gonna came, cause there were too many people and he would feel uncomfortable. I told Lionel, 'I'm gonna go.' They never intended on having me sing a verse, which was a little bit heartbreaking."

With Prince now out of the picture, a new soloist was needed. "Michael came to me and said Prince isn't coming, so we have a spot on the line that needs a soloist who do you recommend?" recalled Kenny Loggins. "I said Huey Lewis. Huey Lewis has a great solo voice."

"So now I get Prince's line," Lewis remembers, still in disbelief nearly four decades later. "I mean, those are pretty big shoes to fill. From that point on, I was nervous out of my brain."

Released on March 7, 1985, the "We Are the World" single went on to sell over 20 million copies and helped raise over $80 million for African famine relief.

Although he doesn't appear on the "We Are the World" single, Prince and the Revolution contributed a brand new track named "4 the Tears in Your Eyes" to the We Are the World album. He briefly addressed the controversy surrounding his non-appearance at the recording session with the 1985 "Pop Life" B-side "Hello."

Prince Year by Year: 1977-2016 Photographs

The prolific, genre-blending musician's fashion sense evolved just as often as his music during his four decades in the public eye.

Gallery Credit: Matthew Wilkening

More From WZOZ