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The 10 best (and worst) music singles for charity

Do they know its Christmas live aid single Charity Choice.jpg


Pop stars and charities have a long history together - here we choose our favourite (and least favourite) charity singles ever. Whatever your personal taste they all raised money for great causes, and that makes music to our ears!


5 best charity singles

1. Do They Know it’s Christmas? (1984)
Band Aid
The Rolls Royce of charity singles, it sold a million copies in the first week, stayed at number one for more than a month and brought worldwide attention to the Ethiopian famine.

2. Candle in the Wind (1997)
Elton John
Originally a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, the ballad was remade in the memory of Princess Diana. Sir Elton performed the song at her funeral and it quickly became the biggest-selling single in British chart history, raising £38 million for charities that were close to Diana’s heart.

3. We are the World (1985)
Various artists
Featuring the great and good of US pop music, We Are The World was America’s own Do They Know It’s Christmas? Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, the song went straight to the top of the charts, winning three Grammies in the process.

4. Perfect Day (1997)
Various artists
Any song that features David Bowie, Elton John and Shane MacGowan is reason enough for celebration. It raised millions for Comic Relief, and became one of the greatest charity singles of all time.

5. Is This the Way to Amarillo? (2005)
Tony Christie and Peter Kay
Peter Kay’s unlikely collaboration with silver-haired crooner Tony Christie for Comic Relief featured a video with everyone from Mr Blobby to Gandhi. It resulted in the year’s biggest-selling single.


5 worst charity singles

1. Use It Up and Wear It Out (1990)
Pat Sharp and Mick Brown
When Capital Radio DJs Pat “The Mullet” Sharp and Mick Brown decided to sing for charity, the results were mixed at best. At least the song raised some money for Help a London Child.

2. Running All Over The World (1988)
Status Quo
The prize for least imaginative charity single goes to Status Quo, for their re-jigged version of Rockin’ All Over The World. But it did help raise funds for Sport Aid.

3. The Stonk (1991)
Hale and Pace, featuring Brian May
Comedians Hale and Pace released this single for Comic Relief based on a fictitious dance craze: the stonk. How on earth did they convince Brian May to take part?

4. Living Doll (1986)
Cliff Richard and the Young Ones
No selection of charity singles would be complete without something from Sir Cliff. This track, originally recorded in 1959, was re-imagined in 1986 with the help of The Young Ones. All money went to Comic Relief.

5. I’m Your Man (2003)
Shane Richie
Eastenders’ actor Shane Richie was let loose on this Wham! classic – with interesting results. But the song did make loads of cash for Children in Need.