Ahh, charity songs. They can be great or they can be flops. This list of the most successful charity singles ever recorded features only the big hits that were for the purpose of charity. A song recorded for charity raises money that will then be donated to a relief effort, a non-profit organization, or charitable foundation. Other benefit tracks have also been released to raise awareness for issues such as AIDS research or to show support for the military. Various charities all over the world have benefitted from music recorded by the most loved and successful artists of all time, including Michael Jackson, U2, and Elton John.
One of the first known charity singles ever released is "Bangla Desh" by the Beatles' George Harrison. Funds from the track were donated to UNICEF fund for Bangladesh refugees. A few years later in 1984, the most popular British singers and musicians assembled together to form charity supergroup Band Aid. The group, which included Paul McCartney, Sting, George Michael, and members of Duran Duran, recorded "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for famine relief in Ethiopia. The song's success inspired another all-star ensemble the following year called USA for Africa. Led by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, the benefit single "We Are the World" sold more than 20 million copies and topped the charts across the globe.Recording songs for charity is only one way stars are helping out those in need. Make sure to check out Ranker's list of celebrity do-gooders and their heartwarming acts of charity.