Whenever there has been a call, musicians all over the planet have risen up to the occasion.
Hope all of you remember the Global Citizen Festival 2016 powered by Coldplay, which was more than just a band gig. Though these events have always attracted some criticism and at times have been referred to as a mere publicity stunt. But the truth is that star power has raised millions for the victims of tragedy around the world, from Manchester to Haiti and to India.
Here are the top six collaborations that show how some of the world’s biggest artists used their voices for the humanitarian issues of their times including how much they really made…
1. Concert for Bangladesh (1971)
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This sold-out concert in NY Madison Square Garden, organized by George Harrison and our very own Sitar Maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, was the among the first benefit concerts. This indeed set a template for modern-day benefit gigs. Proceeds went to help the 10 million refugees who had fled Bangladesh’s civil war stuck between Mukti Vahini and the Pakistani Army, and the aftermath of the deadly 1970 Bhola Cyclone. The original show grossed $250,000 (of $15 million total) with no live broadcast. Later sales of the recording of the show raised the vast majority of the funds. Performers also included Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman, Jim Keltner, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Badfinger, Ali Akbar Khan, and Bob Dylan.
2. Live Aid Concert (1985)
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Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure (aka Band Aid) held “Live Aid,” at Wembley London. Almost a sum of $38 million was raise and donated to the victims of the African famine crisis. Performers included: Queen, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Sting, U2, The Who, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan.Two decades later, Geldof organized Live 8 Concerts (2005) which brought together more than 1,000 musicians in the US and UK.
3. A Concert for Life: 1992
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The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness at Wembley, London.
The concert acted as both a tribute to the late Queen singer, and a benefit for AIDS research.Almost a billion people were an audience of this musical saga thanks to cable TV. The earnings amounted to $35 million, as quoted.Performers included the surviving members of Queen, Metallica, Def Leppard, U2, Guns N’ Roses, Seal, David Bowie, Mick Ronson, Elton John, George Michael, Annie Lennox, and Robert Plant.
4. Concert for New York City and A Tribute To Heroes: 2011
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Theorganizers of this concert were Paul McCartney and George Cloony. The concert was broadcast from Madison Square Garden on all major music channels. Performers included: Paul McCartney, The Who, Elton John, Jay-Z, David Bowie for the former, and Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, U2, Faith Hill, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys and many more for the latter.Combining both of them, almost $200 million was generated for the affected lives of the 9/11 attacks.
5. Live 8: 2005
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Concerts were held in London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Chiba, Japan, Johannesburg, Moscow, Cornwall, U.K., Edinburgh — and Barrie, Ont.The 11 concerts held in cities across the world were free; the proceeds from a British contest for tickets to the London concert raised £1.6 million for the Prince’s Trust.Despite having a similar name and some of the same participants, Bob Geldof said the event was not a sequel to 1985’s Live Aid concert. It was a delightful sight for Pink Floyd fans who saw the band playing together for the first time since 1981.
The concert took up a challenge to address global poverty.
6. Hope for Haiti Now: 2010
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Almost 83 million viewers worldwide were an audience to this benefit gig.
This was conducted to aid the lives affected by the earthquake in Haiti.
Organizers: George Clooney, Wyclef Jean, Joel Gallen. Performers included: Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, Bono, Jay-Z and Rihanna. The Hope for Haiti Now album became the biggest one-day album pre-order in iTunes history. Combining them all almost $63 million was raised by this drive.
7. Special Mention: One love Manchester (2017)
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On June 4th, Ariana Grande hosted ‘One Love Manchester’ at Old Trafford in Manchester.
It was broadcast live on television, radio and social media. Ariana along with Katy Perry, Coldplay, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus performed along with a few more high profile artists. Free tickets were offered to those who had attended the show on 22 May. It was no ordinary gig. Ariana, on the orders of the mother of a Ms Olivia Campbell, the 15 year teenager who succumbed to the bomb blast, sang all her top chart numbers, shedding fear and tears. The benefit concert and associated Red Cross fund, raised £10 million for victims of the attack.
Ps: Our Indian artists are not behind. Be it the Tsunamis of 2004, or any education mission, or welfare of our army men. From Lata Mangeshkar to Sonu Nigam to A.R Rahman, our artists have always fulfilled their responsibilities towards the society.
Thus it’s safe to conclude that music is indeed a healing force.