Charity Singles: Rihanna, Bono, R Kelly, John Mellencamp, Jay-Z

Charity singles have the potential to accomplish two massive goals: Awareness and Money. Songs like “We Are The World” reminded us of the economic disparity in the world and the need for famine relief in Africa. And when greedy record labels keep their hand out of the cookie jar and let the proceeds from the single go to the charity in need, a huge amount of money can be donated to the cause. Today we’re spotlighting three charity singles that may have gone unnoticed by many but each song deserves to spotlight for their philanthropic goals, not to mention the incredible list of performers featured on these lost tracks including Lauryn Hill, Bono, John Mellencamp, and Mary J. Blige.


Princess Diana’s death in August 1997 caught the world off-guard.  The beautiful Princess of Wales was young, vibrant, a role model to many young woman, and a humanitarian world leader in charity work.  Diana posthumously received a Nobel Prize for her work in campaigning to ban landmines and her efforts in education truly made a difference in the world.   Diana’s tragic death in Paris created a variety of tributes including the biggest selling record of all-time, Elton John’s rewrite of Candle In The Wind.   The cornerstone single on Diana’s tribute CD was “Every Nation” written by R. Kelly who got Lauryn Hill, Gerald Levert, and Mary J. Blige to contribute.   “Every Nation” never became a huge selling record but it is uplifting and truly amazing!  


A friend of mine is originally from Haiti and she has family still living there.  Imagine the horror to hear in Nov 2010 of the massive earthquake that leveled a major portion of the Caribbean island. Who lived? Who survived? Power was out and cell phone reception was gone. The Haitians needed major help and it was great to see some major music artists jump up and help out in the best way they could, using their musical talents to generate lots of charity money for this dire situation.  “We’re not going to leave you stranded” was the hookline, Bono and The Edge created.   By the end of the day, producer Swiss Beatz, enlisted Jay-Z and Rihanna to join the collaboration.    The song may feel a little rushed but you can feel their passion and commitment to the cause.


The American farmer had hit hard times in the mid-1980’s.  Major farming corporations were taking over and hundreds of hard working American farming families were going bankrupt, unable to compete with big business.   Foreclosures were becoming an epidemic.   John Mellencamp teamed up with Neil Young and Willie Nelson to start the Farm Aid concert series which kicked off on September 22, 1985.   They are on their 32th year and have raised over forty million dollars to help the U.S. small family farmers.  The 2017 concert will be held in Bristow, Virginia and feature Mellencamp, Young, and Nelson along with the Dave Matthews Band, the Alabama Shakes, Jamey Johnson, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, and many more acts.