A charity record (also known as a charity single) is a release of a song for a specific charitable cause.


Ex-Beatle George Harrison’s “Bangla Desh” single in 1971 is commonly acknowledged as the first ever purpose-made charity single – in this case to help fund relief efforts following the 1970 Bhola cyclone and the Bangladesh Liberation War. The money raised was donated to UNICEF, as were takings from Harrison’s all-star charity concert (again, the first of its kind) held at Madison Square Garden, New York, and its spin-off live album and concert film. This is one way of using artistic talent as art for charity.


Some of the other early charity records came from the January 1979 Music for UNICEF Concert, with the likes of ABBA’s “Chiquitita” and the Bee Gees’ “Too Much Heaven” released as singles, all the royalties from which went to UNICEF. Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in November 1984 began the revolution of the charity record, which would be popularised throughout the 1980s.


In the United States, charity records reached their peak with USA for Africa’s “We Are the World” in 1985, but then essentially died out afterwards. In the United Kingdom, however, charity singles (especially Comic Relief), have become annual hits.


Purpose-made “charity singles” however were not the first charity records. As early as 1956, The Lord’s Taveners released a 78 rpm disc which contained six tracks donated by popular artists at the time. This was made with the gratitude of The Decca Record Company and the entire profits of the record together with the royalties and fees from artists, publishers, etc., were donated to The National Playing Fields Association. This was the first charity record to make the UK charts and reached Number 2. Due to its success, it was followed by a second compilation in 1957.


Notable Charity Singles


Release Date   Title     Artists Charity/Cause

Jul 1971           “Bangla Desh” George Harrison          UNICEF fund for Bangladesh refugees

Feb 1975         “Santa Never Made It Into Darwin”   Bill and Boyd Rebuilding Darwin after Cyclone Tracy devastation



Release Date   Title     Artists Charity/Cause

Nov 1984        “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”       Band Aid        famine in Ethiopia

Dec 1984         “Last Christmas”/”Everything She Wants”     Wham!            Ethiopian Famine appeal

Mar 1985         “Tears Are Not Enough”         Northern Lights          famine in Ethiopia

Mar 1985         “We Are the World”   USA for Africa           famine in Ethiopia

Jun 1985          “One Big Family”        Heart of Nashville       famine in Ethiopia and Africa

Oct 1985         “Sun City”       Artists United Against Apartheid      protests/boycotts against apartheid

Nov 1985        “That’s What Friends Are For”           Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John     American Foundation for AIDS Research

May 1986        “Everybody Wants to Run the World”           Tears For Fears            Sport Aid

May 1986        “Hands Across America”        Voices of America      Hands Across America

Dec 1987         “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”           Mel & Kim (Mel Smith and Kim Wilde)        Comic Relief

Feb 1988         “Man In The Mirror”   Michael Jackson          Michael Jackson Burn Center, Childhelp, United Negro College Fund

Jul 1988           “Another Part of Me”  Michael Jackson          Michael Jackson Burn Center, Childhelp



Release Date   Title     Artists Charity/Cause

Apr 1990         “Use It Up and Wear It Out”  Pat and Mick   Capital Radio 1990 Help a London Child

Nov 1991        “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”            George Michael, Elton John   10 charities for AIDS, children and education

Mar 1992         “One”  U2       Proceeds going towards AIDS research

Apr 1992         “(I Want To Be) Elected”       Smear Campaign (Bruce Dickinson, Rowan Atkinson, Angus Deayton)            Comic Relief

Nov 1992        “Heal The World”       Michael Jackson          Heal the World Foundation

Nov 1995        “Earth Song”   Michael Jackson          Heal the World Foundation, Environmental Awareness

Sep 1997         “Candle in the Wind 1997″/”Something About The Way You Look Tonight”          Elton John            Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund

12/1/1999        “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”          Various Artists            Children’s Promise



Release Date   Title     Artists Charity/Cause

Dec 2000         “Never Had a Dream Come True”      S Club 7          Children In Need

Dec 2000         “If That Were Me”      Melanie C        Homeless charity

Sep 2001         “The Star-Spangled Banner”   Whitney Houston        9/11 charities

Oct 2001         “What’s Going On”     All Star Tribute           Artists Against AIDS Worldwide and 9/11 victims

Nov 2001        “Have You Ever”        S Club 7          Children In Need

Dec 2001         “Cry”   Michael Jackson          9/11 Relief

Nov 2002        “Don’t Let Me Down”            Will Young     Children In Need

Mar 2004         “Macushla”      Bernie Nolan   Stllbirth and Neo – Natal Death Society

Dec 2004         “We are the world (Cantonese)”         Various Chinese Artists          2004 Indian Ocean earthquake

Feb 2005         “Grief Never Grows Old”       One World Project      2004 Asian tsunami relief

Sep 2006         “Guitarists 4 the Kids”            Various Artists            World Vision Canada

Oct 2007         “Sing”  Annie Lennox in collaboration with Madonna and 22 other artists   HIV/AIDS organization Treatment Action Campaign

Sep 2008         “Just Stand Up”          Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, 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

October/November 2008        “Hero” The X Factor Finalists Help for Heroes

Nov 2008        “Follow My Lead”      Justin Timberlake, featuring Esmee Denters   Shriners Hospitals for Children

Aug 2009        “Send It On”   Demi Lovato, Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez   Disney’s Friends for Change


Release Date   Title     Artists Charity/Cause

Jan 2010          “Oh Africa”     Akon, Keri Hilson       Konfidence

Jan 2010          “Together Again”        Evanescence    2010 Haiti earthquake relief (United Nations Foundation)

Feb 2010         “We Are the World 25 for Haiti”        70+ artists, including Michael Jackson           2010 Haiti earthquake relief

Feb 2010         “Make a Wave”           Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas    Disney’s Friends for Change

Mar 2010         “(People of Haiti) 1Radio For Haiti”  artists, including all DJ’s from 1radio.org       2010 Haiti earthquake relief (Haiti Hospital Appeal)

Aug 2010        “A Charity Record”    Undiscovered Country, Be Black, Sammy Paul, Ellee Ven, Daniel Fern, etc.            RAINN

Apr 2011         “Anata ga Iru Kara”    Mai Kuraki      2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami relief

Apr 2011         “Ashita e (Live Version)”        Misia   2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami relief

Sep 2012         “Ronan”           Taylor Swift    Stand Up to Cancer

May 2014        “Crystallize”    Kylie Minogue            One Note Against Cancer

Apr 2015         “Fly”    Avril Lavigne  Special Olympics

Oct 2015         “I Was Me”     Imagine Dragons         One4 Project

Dec 2015         “Love Song to the Earth”        Paul McCartney, Colbie Caillat, Sean Paul, Natasha Bedingfield, Q’orianka Kilcher, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Fergie, Leona Lewis, Johnny Rzeznik, Angelique Kidjo, Nicole Scherzinger, Kelsea Ballerini, Krewella, Victoria Justice and others Friends of the Earth and the UN Foundation

Mar 2016         “This Is For My Girls” Zendaya, Missy Elliott, Kelly Rowland, Janelle Monáe, Kelly Clarkson, Chloe & Halle, Jadagrace, Lea Michele        Let Girls Learn

Jun 2016          “What the World Needs Now Is Love”          Sara Bareilles, Roger Bart, Kristen Bell, Wayne Brady, Matthew Broderick, Michael Cerveris, Gloria Estefan, Sutton Foster, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Joel Grey, Sean Hayes, Heather Headley, Megan Hilty, Bill Irwin, Carole King, Jane Krakowski, Nathan Lane, Zachary Levi, Andrea Martin, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Rosie O’Donnell, Kelli O’Hara, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rosie Perez, Bernadette Peters, Billy Porter, Chita Rivera, Lillias White, Marissa Jaret Winokur and BD Wong            LGBT Center of Florida

Jul 2016           “Hands”           Justin Tranter, Julia Michaels, BloodPop, Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Mark Ronson, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Kacey Musgraves, Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Juanes, Pink, Mary J. Blige, Halsey, Troye Sivan, Ty Herndon, Dan Reynolds, Adam Lambert, Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, MNEK, Alex Newell, Mary Lambert, Prince Royce, Jussie Smollett, Nate Ruess, RuPaul    GLAAD

Jun 2017          “Bridge over Troubled Water”            “Artists for Grenfell”: Angel, Anne-Marie, Bastille, Brian May, Carl Barât, Craig David, Deno, Donae’o, Dua Lipa, Ella Eyre, Ella Henderson, Emeli Sandé, Fleur East, Gareth Malone’s All Star Choir, Geri Halliwell, Gregory Porter, James Arthur, James Blunt, Jessie J, Jessie Ware, John Newman, Jon McClure, Jorja Smith, Kelly Jones, Labrinth, Leona Lewis, Liam Payne, London Community Gospel Choir, Louis Tomlinson, Louisa Johnson, Matt Goss, Matt Terry, Mr Eazi, Nathan Skyes, Nile Rodgers, Omar, Paloma Faith, Pixie Lott, Ray BLK, RAYE, Rita Ora, Robbie Williams, Shakka, Stormzy, The Who, Tokio Myers, Tom Grennan, Tony Hadley, Tulisa, WSTRN            Victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in North Kensington, London


[wiki] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charity_record