Best of The Celeb Charity Songs

After hearing the latest celeb benefit song—Band Aid 30—I played the original 1984 version for my son. He wanted to know everything about it… who the singers were, who wrote it, why they wore those headphones, and was I sure that guy (Boy George) was actually a man? And so on…

This lead to me showing him other versions including “We Are The World” and the Canadian “Tears Are Not Enough”.

If you have a few minutes, take the musical memory walk for yourself and take your kids along!

Band Aid—Do They Know It’s Christmas (1984):
Written by Bob Geldof & Midge Ure to raise money for relief of the 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia. This will forever be my favourite. Stupidly, it took me several decades to clue in that it’s “There’s a world outside my window, a world of dread and fear” NOT... “a world a stratosphere…”

Band Aid II—Do They Know It’s Christmas (1989):
Remake featuring Bananarama, Big Fun, Glen Goldsmith, Kylie Minogue, The Pasadenas, Chris Rea, Cliff Richard, Lisa Stansfield, Technotronic, etc. Not as well known but a pretty decent effort.

Band Aid 30—Do They Know It’s Christmas (2014):
Bob Geldof’s modern day version of ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ A host of British musicians come together for the thirty year anniversary. Sinead!!

USA For Africa—We Are The World (1985):
Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian. The benefit single for victims of famine in Africa raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries. Apparently none of the singers cared much for the song during recording. Cyndi Lauper is rumoured to have said it sounded like a Pepsi commercial.

We Are The World (2010): 
Recorded in the same studio as the original 25 years earlier. Produced by Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie among others to benefit the Haitian earthquake relief efforts and the rebuilding of Haiti.


Tears Are Not Enough (1985):
Charity single recorded by Canadian artists, under the name Northern Lights, to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. Organized by Bruce Allen, written by Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance & David Foster. This is worth watching if only for the 80s fashion and Joni Mitchell’s signature hand swaying.


If you HAD to listen to just one of these for eternity, on constant repeat, which would you choose?

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