1985- The Year of Charity Songs

It actually started at the tail end of 1984 when many British artists came together calling themselves Band Aid and under the direction of Bob Geldolf of Boomtown Rats fame, recorded the song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas” to raise money and awareness of people starving in Africa. That song was a tremendous success as far as the charts and raising awareness and thirty-four years later, it still gets lots of play during the run up to Christmas.


Band Aid

In the early weeks of 1985, a load of American artist decided to do the same thing and recorded a song written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson titled, “We Are the World.” It went to number one in the US charts and did fairly well in the UK ones as well. It too, did a lot to raise awareness of Africa in the US. On a side note, I thought Steve Perry’s performance on the song was best.


USA for Africa

Personally, neither of these two songs did much for me but they were part of music history in 1985. At least, when “Do They Know It’s Christmas” gets played in December it does make me stop for a moment and think about those less fortunate than myself. Being one to find hidden gems, in my opinion, the best charity song for Africa was the one recorded by Northern Lights. Yes, my Canadian readers, I do think that “Tears are Not Enough”  was the best of the three charity songs and that’s why I’m sharing it below.


Northern Lights

As 1985 progressed, it wasn’t just famine Africa which was the focus of huge collaborations from singers. Towards the end of the year, singers from all over the world came together and formed Artists United Against Apartheid and recorded “Sun City” as a protest against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Quick history lesson here, Sun City was a rich people’s resort where the rich from all over the world came to play. Many famous acts played there and the ones who recorded this song, made a stand saying they were refusing to play Sun City.

The list of artists who appear on the record is phenomenal. Some like Bono and Bruce Springsteen who sang on some of the other collaborations sing on the record. Then again, in Bruce’s case, his right hand man in the E-Street Band, Little Steven, did write the song. Also Clarence Clemmons plays a sax solo. But there’s also Lou Reed, Pat Benatar, Run DMC, Ringo Starr plays drums along with his son Zack and there’s even a heavy metal singer. Michael Monroe from Hanoi Rocks makes an appearance, though he doesn’t have a solo spot on the song. Plus there’s many more. So, with a line up like this, no wonder the song is so good.

On the subject of heavy metal, it was often asked throughout the year why didn’t metal artists make a song for Africa. They did, but it wasn’t released until 1986 so when I get to that year, it will be given all the attention it deserves.

Next post: Live Aid

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html









7 Responses to “1985- The Year of Charity Songs”

  1. Ah, music for charity. I remember reading somewhere that the set of Do They Know… was so plagued with fights and egos, the song nearly didn’t get made. Guess they forgot it was the season of good Will 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • That doesn’t surprise me. I heard rumours that with the USA for Africa song, Lionel Richie was criticized for not having enough African American singers on the song. That’s another great thing about the Sun City song, there was a true mixture of artists of all races and nationalities.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post… I had never heard the Sun City one before which is obviously not surprising given that I grew up in apartheid South Africa.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Source: 1985- The Year of Charity Songs | 80smetalman’s Blog […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: