Cause Songs are a Lost Cause

The inspiration for this week’s episode was the release of Robbie Robertson & friends’ cover of “The Weight” for “Playing for Change”. But as long time music industry exec Eric Alper tells us, the interest in rock icons rallying around a cause has been lost, and the 80s may get the blame.

The video came out on September 18, 2019 featuring Ringo Starr, Robbie Robertson, Marcus King, and a bunch of other musicians from five continents. The release was to bring awareness to a project called “Playing for Change” – a music project to connect the world through music. Their website features an image an quote from Keith Richard quite prominently.

So, this got us thinking… what other songs for causes have we seen through history? Here are some of the favourites from the Geeks & Beats newsroom:

1. “Wavin’ Flag” – Young Artists for HaitiRe

Released in 2010, this song saw many Canadian artists like Tom Cochrane, Lights, Avril Lavigne, Drake, Justin Bieber, Sam Roberts, and many many more get together to raise funds for the hurricane devastation in Haiti.

2. “We Are the World” – USA for Africa

Released in 1985, this song was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and was produced by none other than Quincy Jones to raise funds for famine relief in Africa. “We Are the World” was the first ever single to be certified multi-platinum, it received a Quadruple Platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America.

3. “What’s Going On?” – MTV All Stars

The video opens with Bono, Gwen Stefani, and Aaron Lewis of Staind. Released in 2001, the song was brainchild of Bono and Jermaine Dupri to cover Marvin Gaye’s 1971 classic to raise funds and awareness for Artists Against AIDS Worldwide.

4. “We’re All In The Same Gang” – West Coast All Stars

It came out in 1990, and was organized by rapper/producer, Dr. Dre to promote a message of anti-violence. The song featured many west coast rappers including Tone Loc, Ice-T, Dr. Dre and Eazy E, and MC Hammer.

5. “Tears in Heaven” – Tsunami Relief

This song came out in 2004 to raise funds for tsunami relief. The song was produced by Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell and featured artists like Elton John, Scott Weiland, Ozzy Osbourne, Andrea Bocelli, Slash, Steven Tyler, and Mary J. Blige…. and many more surprises.


Did we miss any good ones?

Liked it? Take a second to support Vanessa Azzoli on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment


  • Project Aegis – Angel in The Ashes
    Going toward refugees and homeless in Greece.
    Thanks for the great shows
    Westlock Alberta.