Simon Cowell's all-star Helping Haiti single was recently named the fastest-selling charity single of all time. But how does it compare to the record widely credited for kicking off the charity single revolution?
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" (1985)
The big daddy, the one that started them all. Bob Geldof swears on TV to raise money. Midge Ure stakes a strong claim to being the only man in the world named after a biting insect and a Yorkshire river.
Nadir: There are many, but the stunningly crass "tonight thank God it's them instead of you" line is always a highlight.
Unintentional hilarity: The line about "the bitter sting of tears" is sung by Sting, and should really have become his full title.
Oddest participant: Not Kool & the Gang's finest hour.
Interesting fact: The answer to the titular question is most likely "yes". Christianity in Africa has a following close to half the population, so there's a good chance they'd at least have heard a rumour.
"Everybody Hurts" (2010)
The logical culmination of a long Cowell-driven campaign to completely emotionally castrate a pretty decent pop record while still keeping his name in the public eye. Erm, i mean... earthquake relief! Yeh, that one.
Nadir: Rod Stewart hamming up REM like a prize-winning pork butcher. The very presence of N-Dubz. The disingenuous, mawkish, "hey, we may be perfection-preened products of the Syco sausage machine, but we, like, feel your pain, guys!" mentality. Pick one, frankly.
Unintentional hilarity: James Blunt's ridiculous warbling intonation is about the best it gets.
Oddest participant: Presumably Bon Jovi's invite fell through a wormhole into 1988.
Interesting fact: Joe McElderry lost his voice just before the recording and it was uncertain whether he would be able to participate. In the event that he was too unwell, his line was to be replaced by a sampled fragment of an old Rage Against the Machine song.
Originally for Sanctuary, March 2010
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