Charity and music have shared a bond for a while now with some big name artists joining together to raise money for various causes by releasing the so called charity single. I think George Harrison is credited with the first charity record with his Bangla Desh single being released in 1971 in aid of the Bangladesh Liberation War.
We have a regular contributions for both Children In Need and Comic Relief in the UK whereby the latest pop sensations will release a song with the profits going to charity. Usually these are upbeat numbers and will hit the number one spot by taking over the airwaves. We’ve also seen a variety of different concerts over the years for charitable causes with Live Aid probably being the one most people will remember.
So, let’s take a look at a six picks based on charity singles. You might remember some of these and perhaps some of them you might not.
Tears for Fears and Friends - Everybody Wants To Run The World
For Sport Aid, 1986.
A song that everyone already knew, but cleverly they changed the word rule for run. Good thinking. It reached number 5 in the UK charts.
USA For Africa - We Are The World
For the famine in Ethiopia, 1985.
Led by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, this collective of mainly American artists were inspired to come together by Band Aid. Reached number one in many countries including the USA and Australia.
Manic Street Preachers - Theme from M.A.S.H (Suicide Is Painless)
For The Spastics Society (now Scope), 1992.
Released as a double A side along with The Fatima Mansions who gave us a version of Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” as the other A-side. Reached number 7 in the UK charts.
George Michael and Queen - Five Live EP
For The Mercury Phoenix Trust, 1993
Released in 1993, the EP features five tracks performed by George Michael, Queen, and Lisa Stansfield. “Somebody to Love” and “These Are the Days of Our Lives” were recorded at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, held on 20 April 1992, at Wembley Stadium.
The Justice Collective - He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
For Hillsborough, 2012.
A Christmas number one in 2012 featuring musicians and celebrities including Paul Heaton, Paloma Faith, Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden, Glenn Tilbrook, Kenny Dalglish, and Alan Hansen for various charities associated with the Hillsborough disaster.
Crowded House - Help Is Coming
For Save The Children, 2015
The reason I wrote this post in the first place, a forgotten song by Crowded House has been used to support Syrian refugees. At the time of writing, the song is number 29 in the iTunes chart without any airplay (it has not been played on the radio as they do not endorse charity songs apparently). A limited edition 7” vinyl is available and ALL proceeds are going to the intended charity. Also, George Osborne has agreed to waive the VAT on download purchases so of the 79p cost of the single (79p), so at least 61p from each download will go to help refugee children. Watch the video and buy the single from http://www.helpiscoming.org/.