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Celebrity Charity Singles

Monday, March 28, 2011

U2, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry are among the megastars teaming up to benefit earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan. But their compilation, “Songs for Japan,” will have a long road to match the success of early efforts like “We Are The World” and Live Aid. We look at why contemporary charity singles and albums tend to fall short. 

Guests include Atlantic writer Kevin Fallon and Billboard editorial director Bill Werde. Plus: music writer Amanda Petrusich gives us an overview of relief efforts spearheaded by New York musicians.


Kevin Fallon, Amanda Petrusich and Bill Werde

Comments [12]

jennifer from Brooklyn

I think it would have been helpful with this story to touch base on the financial need that the Red Cross of Japan will be facing in the immediate and coming years and how the disaster has changed since the tsunami and earthquake - as the country is now faced with long term environmental issue due to the nuclear power plants. Also the individual persons need and desire to help in crisis is often irrespective of a countries wealth...especially if there is a cultural connection.

I would also be curious to address the issue further of how long does it take to make the money collected get to work? Has the Clooney telethon money reached Haiti in a stream of on-going funding? How is helping or what hindered the process?

Mar. 28 2011 02:54 PM
Pat Harris

Jazz for Japan happens on April 17th at Rue 57 with Joe Lovano, Karyn Allison, Allan Harris and many more artists.

Mar. 28 2011 02:42 PM
Hillary from LI

'Do They Know It's Christmas?' Are you kidding? I detest that pathetic tripe with something approaching passion. Not only is the song pedestrian and the production overblown, but the lyrics are ridiculous. "There won't be snow in Africa this Christmas" -- well, no, mostly NOT; there are a lot of TROPICAL and DESERT regions in it! "Do they know it's Christmas?" NO, they don't CARE, because unless some missionaries have smacked it into their heads, they aren't CHRISTIAN!

Oh my. I don't mean to be uncivil, but it blows my mind that anyone can take that song anything like seriously...

Mar. 28 2011 02:33 PM
Barrett from Brooklyn, NY

By the time this album comes out, I will have donated money to at least *three* organizations responding to the Japan earthquake and Tsunami. The difference is the Internet, which in the case of most of the previous musical efforts mentioned, didn't exist as we now know it. One doesn't need to wait for an effort such as Songs for japan to put one's shoulder to the wheel. It's so easy to do now (from your desktop, laptop, or smartphone), there's little excuse *not* to do something.

Mar. 28 2011 02:32 PM
geoffosullivan from prospect heights

"Do they know it's Christmas" ?? probably as much as the general record buying public knew what day Ramadan started in1985 or any other year for that matter

Mar. 28 2011 02:29 PM

What always got me about the "Do They Know it's Christmas" song was the basic answer to that question was "No." They don't know it is Christmas...they're muslims.

Mar. 28 2011 02:28 PM
Maria from NYC

I agree with Bill, the Band Aid song IS a good song, and it has the added charm of being a Christmas song (well, for some of us, that's a positive, not a negative).

I always thought this was a much better song than We Are the World (I guess I'm a bigger fan of the 80s bands from the UK & Ireland).

Mar. 28 2011 02:25 PM
a g from n j

don't forget so much depends on the specific gov't political infrastructures[assuming they exist]. and so much of the tumult in these countries[japan not included] are caused by the economic appropriation and exploitation, by developed countries. let's be honest....

Mar. 28 2011 02:23 PM

As i was listening to the Bangladesh music, i wondered.. how long does the purchase price go to the charity? If i bought the Bangladesh concert now, what happens? I'm also very glad some average music, not a kind of all-star trite tribute song, is what's on the charity album.

Mar. 28 2011 02:21 PM
Gary from Upper Left Side

Does anyone ever follow up and check that these charity records and concerts "actually" deliver the money to the intended recipients? George Harrison once quipped that the only people who received money from the Concert for Bangladesh were the promoters.

Mar. 28 2011 02:11 PM

Do't they do better just asking us to text to make a donation? I would think the overhead of recording new music, creating the discs and distributing them would eat up a decent chunk of the donation. And nowadays with people buying fewer CDs it seems obvious that they'd raise less money

Mar. 28 2011 02:11 PM
Cory from Planet Earth

Japan is a terrible tragedy, but they are a rich country and don't need cash. If you want to contribute cash, contribute to Haiti or plenty of other charities that really need the cash.

Mar. 28 2011 02:10 PM

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