Charity record

Charity record

A charity record (also known as a charity single) is a release of a song for a specific charitable cause. Some of the earliest charity records came from the Music for UNICEF Concert, with ABBA's Chiquitita and the Bee Gees' Too Much Heaven among them released as singles, with all the royalties going to UNICEF. Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? began the revolution of the charity record, which would be popularised throughout the 1980s. In the United States, charity records reached their peak with We Are the World in 1985, but then essentially died out afterwards. In the United Kingdom, however, charity singles (especially Comic Relief), have become yearly #1 hits.

Notable charity singles

1980s

Release DateTitleArtistsCharity/CauseHighest Chart Position
December 1984
   
"Do They Know It's Christmas?"
   
Band Aid
   
famine in Ethiopia
   
1 (UK), 1 (Australia)
December 1984
   
"Last Christmas"/"Everything She Wants"
   
Wham!
   
Ethiopian famine appeal (not originally a charity record, but George Michael acceded to give royalties to Band Aid)
   
2 (UK)
April 1985
   
"We Are the World"
   
USA for Africa
   
famine in Ethiopia
   
1 (US), 1 (UK), 1 (Australia)
June 1985
   
"You'll Never Walk Alone"
   
The Crowd
   
Bradford City disaster
   
1 (UK)
November 1985
   
"That's What Friends Are For"
   
Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John
   
American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR)
   
1 (US), 16 (UK), 1 (Australia)
April 1986
   
"Living Doll"
   
Cliff Richard and the cast of The Young Ones
   
Comic Relief
   
1 (UK), 1 (Australia)
April 1986
   
"Heroes/A Long Way To Go"
   
The County Line featuring Suzi Quatro, Bronski Beat and Wendy Roberts
   
Children in Need
   
76 (UK)
May 1986
   
"Everybody Wants to Run the World"
   
Tears for Fears
   
Sport Aid
   
5 (UK)
March 1987
   
"Amor & Paz" (Amor E A Paz)
   
AUA (Artistas Unidos da América)
   
famine and poverty around the world 3 (US), 2 (Portugal), 1 (Canada)
March 1987
   
"Let it Be"
   
Ferry Aid
   
Herald of Free Enterprise disaster at Zeebrugge
   
1 (UK)
November 1987
   
"The Wishing Well"
   
G.O.S.H.
   
Great Ormond Street Hospital Wishing Well Appeal
   
22 (UK)
December 1987
   
"Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree"
   
Mel & Kim (Mel Smith and Kim Wilde)
   
Comic Relief
   
3 (UK)
May 1988
   
"With a Little Help from My Friends"
   
Wet Wet Wet
   
ChildLine
   
1 (UK)
August 1988
   
"Running All Over the World"
   
Status Quo
   
Sport Aid
   
17 (UK)
February 1989
   
"Help!"
   
Bananarama & La Na Nee Nee Noo Noo (French and Saunders with Kathy Burke)
   
Comic Relief
   
3 (UK)
February 1989
   
"Pour toi Arménie"
   
Charles Aznavour & many other French artists
   
Earthquake in Armenia
   
1 (FR)
April 1989
   
"Ferry Cross the Mersey"
   
The Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden, Stock Aitken Waterman
   
Hillsborough disaster
   
1 (UK)
December 1989
   
"Do They Know It's Christmas?"
   
Band Aid II
   
famine in Ethiopia
   
1 (UK)

1990s

Release DateTitleArtistsCharity/CauseHighest Chart Position
April 1990
   
"Use It Up and Wear It Out"
   
Pat and Mick
   
Help a London Child
   
22 (UK)
June 1990
   
"You've Got a Friend"
   
Big Fun, Sonia, featuring Gary Barnacle on saxophone
   
ChildLine
   
14 (UK)
March 1991
   
"The Stonk"
   
Hale and Pace (backing band includes David Gilmour)
   
Comic Relief
   
1 (UK)
November 1991
   
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
   
George Michael, Elton John
   
10 charities for AIDS, children and education
   
1 (UK), 1 (US)
April 1992
   
"(I Want To Be) Elected"
   
Smear Campaign (Bruce Dickinson, Rowan Atkinson, Angus Deayton)
   
Comic Relief
   
9 (UK)
September 1992
   
"Suicide is Painless"
   
Manic Street Preachers
   
The Spastics Society (now SCOPE)
   
7 (UK)
February 1993
   
"Stick It Out"
   
Right Said Fred and friends
   
Comic Relief
   
4 (UK)
May 1994
   
"Absolutely Fabulous"
   
Pet Shop Boys with Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley (of the television series Absolutely Fabulous)
   
Comic Relief
   
6 (UK), 2 (Australia)
March 1995
   
"Love Can Build a Bridge"
   
Cher, Chrissie Hynde, Neneh Cherry and Eric Clapton
   
Comic Relief
   
1 (UK)
December 1996
   
"Knockin' on Heaven's Door/Throw These Guns Away"
   
Ted Christopher (aka Dunblane), Mark Knopfler
   
aid of Victims of the Dunblane massacre
   
1 (UK)
March 1997
   
"Mama"/"Who Do You Think You Are"
   
The Spice Girls
   
Comic Relief
   
1 (UK), 13 (Australia)
September 1997
   
"Candle in the Wind 1997"/"Something About The Way You Look Tonight"
   
Elton John
   
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund
   
1 (US), 1 (UK), 1 (Australia)
November 1997
   
"Perfect Day"
   
Various Artists, see specific article for full list
   
Children in Need
   
1 (UK)
November 1997
   
" Help The Aged"
   
Pulp
   
Help The Aged
   
8 (UK)
April 1998
   
"Release"
   
The Tea Party
   
White Ribbon Campaign
   
March 1999
   
"When the Going Gets Tough"
   
Boyzone
   
Comic Relief
   
1 (UK)
November 1999
   
"Talking in Your Sleep/Love Me"
   
Martine McCutcheon
   
Children In Need
   
6 (UK)
December 1999 "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)"
   
Various Artists
   
Children's Promise
   
14 (UK)

2000s

Release DateTitleArtistsCharity/CauseHighest Chart Position
December 2000
   
"Never Had a Dream Come True"
   
S Club 7
   
Children In Need
   
1 (UK), 10 (US)
March 2001
   
"Uptown Girl"
   
Westlife
   
Comic Relief
   
1 (UK), 6 (Australia)
October 2001
   
"What's Going On"
   
All Star Tribute
   
Artists Against AIDS Worldwide and 9/11 victims
   
27 (US), 6 (UK), 38 (Australia)
November 2001
   
"Have You Ever"
   
S Club 7
   
Children In Need
   
1 (UK), 48 (Australia)

July 2002 "Your Song"
   
Elton John and Alessandro Safina
   
Sport Relief
    
4 (UK)
November 2002
   
"Don't Let Me Down"
   
Will Young
   
Children In Need
   
2 (UK),
March 2003
   
"Spirit in the Sky"
   
Gareth Gates and the Kumars
   
Comic Relief
   
1 (UK)
November 2003
   
"I'm Your Man"
   
Shane Richie
   
Children in Need
   
2 (UK)
July 2004
   
"Some Girls"
   
Rachel Stevens
   
Sport Relief
   
2 (UK)
November 2004
   
"I'll Stand By You"
   
Girls Aloud
   
Children in Need
   
1 (UK)
November 2004
   
"Do They Know It's Christmas?"
   
Band Aid 20
   
famine in Ethiopia
   
1 (UK), 9 (Australia)
December 2004
   
"Twelve Days of Christmas"
   
Dreamtime Christmas All-Stars
   
Starlight Foundation and Youth Off the Streets
   
26 (Australia)
December 2004
   
"Father And Son"
   
Ronan Keating featuring Yusuf Islam
   
Band Aid Foundation
   
2 (UK)
December 2004
   
"Come On Aussie, Come On"
   
Shannon Noll
   
Australian Red Cross' Good Start Breakfast Club
   
2 (Australia)
February 2005
   
"Grief Never Grows Old"
   
One World Project
   
2004 Asian Tsunami relief
   
4 (UK)
February 2005
   
"Evie Parts 1, 2 and 3"
   
The Wrights
   
Stevie Wright, The Salvation Army and 2004 Asian Tsunami relief
   
2 (Australia)
March 2005
   
"All About You"/"You've Got a Friend"
   
McFly
   
Comic Relief
   
1 (UK)
March 2005
   
"Is This the Way to Amarillo?"
   
Tony Christie featuring Peter Kay
   
Comic Relief
   
1 (UK)
March 2005
   
"All Around the World"
   
ProgAID
   
2004 Asian Tsunami relief
   
unknown
October 2005
   
"Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?"
   
The North American Hallowe'en Prevention Initiative
   
UNICEF
   
4 (CAN)
November 2005
   
"A Night to Remember"
   
Liberty X
   
Children in Need
   
6 (UK)
July 2006 "Please Please/Don't Stop Me Now"
   
Mcfly
   
Sport Relief
   
1 (UK)
November 2006 "Downtown"
   
Emma Bunton
   
Children in Need
   
3 (UK)
December 2006 "Great Divide"
   
Hanson
   
Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU) at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa
   
2007 "Walk This Way"
   
Girls Aloud vs Sugababes
   
Comic Relief
   
1 (UK)
2007 "Any Dream Will Do"
   
Lee Mead
   
Children in Need
   
2007 "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
   
Matt Lucas and Peter Kay
   
Comic Relief
   
1 (UK)
March 2008 "Better in Time/Footprints in the Sand"
   
Leona Lewis
   
Sport Relief
   
2(UK)
September 2008 "Just Stand Up"
   
Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Fergie, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, Natasha Bedingfield, Miley Cyrus, Leona Lewis, Carrie Underwood, Keyshia Cole, Leann Rimes, Ashanti, Ciara
   
Stand Up to Cancer
   
TBR

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