So moved by the plight of the people of Haiti, Shane and his long term girlfriend, writer Victoria Clarke made calls to friends and associates from which began the process of recording a track from which ALL proceeds go to Concern, a charity who have provided assistance to some of the poorest countries in the world including Haiti, even before the earthquake struck. Some of the stars on the record include – Nick Cave / Bobby Gillespie / Glen Matlock / Johnny Depp / Chrissie Hynde / Paloma Faith / Eliza Doolittle.
“Hard Times” is the seventh single from British rapper and songwriter Plan B’s second studio album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks. On 19 May 2011, it was released as a digital download, featuring newly recorded vocal parts by Elton John and Paloma Faith, recorded as a charity single with all the proceeds benefiting victims of the 2010 Pakistan floods and 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, in 2012, a version of the song was recorded, and was released on 17 December 2012, by musicians and celebrities going under the name The Justice Collective, for various charities associated with the Hillsborough disaster.
The song went on to take the coveted Christmas number one position for 2012 on the UK Singles Chart, beating The X Factor winner James Arthur, who was number one the previous week.
A cover version of the song was simulcast across BBC television and radio channels on October 7, 2014, to launch BBC Music. It featured Brian Wilson himself and other major artists from different musical genres (creating a supergroup called the Impossible Orchestra). The music video, directed by François Rousselet, features the artists in lavish, fantastical computer generated settings. The track was released the following day as a charity single for Children in Need 2014.
Wilson said: “All of the artists did such a beautiful job … I can’t thank them enough, I’m just honored that ‘God Only Knows’ was chosen. ‘God Only Knows’ is a very special song. An extremely spiritual song and one of the best I’ve ever written.”
At a press conference on 10 November 2014, Geldof and Ure announced that another group of artists would come together to re-record the song, this time under the banner of Band Aid 30 and in aid of the Ebola crisis. It was released on the following Monday, 17 November, 11 days short of the 30th anniversary of the release of the original version of the track.
To raise money for the families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 and for The London Community Foundation, Simon Cowell arranged the recording and release of a charity single on 21 June 2017. London-born grime artist Stormzy featured prominently, having written a fresh 16-line intro to the song which specifically referenced the tragedy. The recording reached number one on the UK Singles Chart on 23 June 2017.