Civil Society News is bringing you a festive countdown in the run-up to Christmas. On the tenth day Kirsty Weakley takes a look at some of the charity singles competing for the number one spot this year.
It wouldn’t be Christmas if the charts weren’t suddenly awash with charity singles and here at Civil Society News we wouldn’t have it any other way.
In no particular order here are ten of our favourite charity bids for the Christmas number one.
1. Ben Haenow ‘Something I Need’ for Together for Short Lives
It is something of a tradition for the X Factor winner to make a strong bid for the Christmas number one spot, as well as raising money for charity. This Together for Short Lives is the sole beneficiary (last year it shared the spoils with Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital) with Syco promising to donate 100 per cent of its profits to the charity. It expects this to be around 20p per download and £1 per CD sold.
The song is on track to take the number one spot this year, as having sold 75,000 copies on Sunday and Monday he is 23,000 ahead of current number one, Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.
2. Military Voices ‘1914 – The Carol of Christmas’ for service charities
Singers from across the military services have recorded a song marking the centenary of the First World War and the Christmas Truce to raise money for the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, and ABF the Soldier’s Charity.
It was composed by Chris Easton, who wrote the 1990s Christmas hit ‘Saviour’s Day’ and Judd Field. Singers include Flight Lieutenant Matt Little, Abby Scott and 12-year-old Canterbury Cathedral chorister and BBC Radio 2’s Young Chorister of the Year Finalist William Inscoe. They are accompanied by the Spitfire Choir, one of the RAF’s top vocal groups.
The video was filmed at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey with snippets of original footage from the First World War.
3. Band Aid 30 ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas’ to raise money for victims of Ebola in Africa
The latest version of the Band Aid song may have come in for a bit of criticism from some in the music industry who were concerned that the lyrics are outdated but that hasn’t stopped the public from buying it in their droves, making it the fastest-selling single of the year so far.
4. The Peace Collective ‘All Together Now’ for the British Red Cross and Shorncliffe Trust
Two years ago the Justice Collective’s version of the Farm’s ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother’ was successful in its aim to beat the X Factor winner to the Christmas number one spot and raise money for the families of the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy.
This year they’ve called themselves the Peace Collective, with contributions from Suggs, Gabrielle, Holly Johnson, the Farm's Peter Hooton, Mick Jones from the Clash and the Proclaimers to record a cover of the Farm’s ‘All Together Now’ commemorating the unofficial truce between British and German soldiers on Christmas Day 1914.
The single will raise money for the British Red Cross and the Shorncliffe Trust, which is building a national education centre which will look at the social impact of military life.
5. Out of the Blue ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ for Helen and Douglas House
Oxford University a capella group, Out of the Blue, has recorded a version of Mariah Carey’s festive treat.
It’s not their first fundraising effort for the charity this year; in August their version of Shakira’s ‘Hips don’t lie’ went viral with more than 2.6 million views, and was Civil Society News’ Film of the week.
The Civil Society News team is split on which offering is best; it probably depends on how you feel about Christmas songs.
6. Tom Watson, featuring Chris Todd, ‘Save Me’ for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research
Professional footballer Chris Todd enlisted the help of his brother-in-law Tom Watson for his latest fundraising effort for the charity. They have been working on the song for two years and it is about Todd’s personal battle with chronic myeloid leukaemia.
He has previously written a book, More than football in the blood and held events to raise money for the charity.
7. Alexander Armstrong and the Sixteen ‘Good King Wenceslas’ for Crisis
Comedian and TV host Alexander Armstrong has joined up with choral ensemble The Sixteen to record a version of the classic carol, with proceeds going to homelessness charity Crisis.
Armstrong is a former Trinity College, Cambridge, choral scholar and said: “I rarely get to sing these days – and what a privilege to perform with this great choir for a wonderful cause.”
8. Waitrose ‘Try’ for the Trussell Trust, Age UK and Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity
The music for this year’s Waitrose advert was created using voices of members of the public who took part in its 'Donate your voice' campaign in October by sending in recordings of themselves singing Dolly Parton’s ‘Try’.
Profits from downloads of the song will be split between the three charities.
9. Tom Odell ‘Real Love’ for WWF
John Lewis’s proceeds from the sale of Tom Odell’s cover of John Lennon’s ‘Real Love’ which, in case you missed it, is the soundtrack to its Christmas advert this year, will be donated to WWF to support its work with Adelie penguins like the one included in the advert.
10. Pixie Lott ‘Caravan of Love’ for Alder Hey Children’s Charity
Fresh from her stint on Strictly Come Dancing Pixie Lott is supporting Alder Hey Children’s Charity’s Alphabet Scarves campaign. The song has been featured in Matalan’s Christmas adverts that were broadcast during the X Factor and 20p from the sale of the single will go to the charity.
We’re not quite sure what the connection is between caravans and scarves but it’s usually best not to overthink pop music.