Charity Singles are a staple part of British culture, we are guaranteed at least two a year from Sport or Comic Relief and Children In Need. As Sport Relief has been running since 2002 this means we have seven tracks to reminisce about, we wouldn’t say seven memorable tracks though; Radio Wexham even with its vast knowledge banks is struggling to hum the tune to two of them!
2002 – “Your Song”, Elton John
We start with “Your Song” by Elton John, featuring opera singer Alessandro Safina which was the first official Sport Relief single back in 2002. Elton John re-recorded this 1970 Top Ten single especially for the Charity, and this time round over 30 years later it surprisingly still failed to make the top spot, peaking at number 4 in the UK charts.
We think it is fair to say that Elton John agreed to re-record this song for Sport Relief after the overwhelming success of the film, Moulin Rouge in which Ewan McGregor sung so delightfully. Indeed Alessandro Safina is featured on the original film soundtrack alongside Ewan McGregor in their version.
Sport Relief Rating: 3 Starjumps! – Although this song is moving, with lovely lyrics it doesn’t quite capture the essence of Sport Relief
2004 – “Some Girls”, Rachel Stevens
We could not remember this song without listening it to on YouTube. Rachel Stevens was riding high on the success of SClub7, who did possibly the best Charity single ever – “Never had a Dream come true” for Children In Need, so it makes sense that she did a Sport Relief single. But to us this again feels like a lazy choice, it doesn’t make us think of Sport, or Charity or Aid, just girls drinking Champagne?!
Sport Relief Rating: 1 Starjumps! – Although this song has a catchy beat and chorus, the lyrics let it down.
2006 – “Don’t Stop Me Now”, McFly
This song is always a winner, who doesn’t love a classic cover of a Queen hit? McFly (now in supergroup McBusted!) can never really do again wrong. Again, they had a big Charity single “All About You” the previous year for Comic Relief. Personally, “All About You / You’ve Got a Friend – B Side” is the better of their offerings, but that is a much more sentimental song.
In terms of Sport Relief, this track works well, it is often used by those running marathons or at the gym as a good motivational track. This is also a fairly decent cover, though obviously nothing beats the original!
Sport Relief Rating: 4 jumps! – Don’t let us stop this article…
2008 – “Footprints in the Sand / Better in Time”, Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis is without a doubt a fantastic singer, and this single is a belter from her Spirit album. The video for this song is well worth a watch, it clearly shows the essence of Sport Relief, helping others in need. The lyrics are also devastatingly poetic;
“I promise you, I’m always there, when your heart is filled with sorrow and despair, I’ll carry you when you need a friend”
Sport Relief Rating: 4.5 Starjumps! – We can’t find anything bad to say about this single!
2010 – “Morning Sun”, Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams always appears to be a jovial and generous chap, so he’ll forgive us for not recognising this song either. It seems to talk about the sun, the moon and he is an astronaut..interesting! This single does not seem relevant to the context, further research suggests that this song was originally written as a tribute to Michael Jackson…
Sport Relief Rating: 2 Starjumps! – It just lacks relevance!
2012, “Proud”, JLS
This appears to be the first really targeted Sport Relief song, and no wonder, 2012 was a massive, huge, splendiferous, magnificent year for Sport for the United Kingdom. JLS had a big challenge to face, and they did. This song suited the theme and tone of the London Olympics, in addition to Sport Relief. Interestingly 3 British Olympic athletes feature in the video carrying a Union Flag, and the video is interspersed with scenes of JLS singing in Wembley Stadium – we appreciate the context!
Sport Relief Rating: 3 Starjumps! – Great lyrics to boot – “When you fall down, get back up and fight” !!
2014, “Word Up!”, Little Mix
You’ve got to love Little Mix, this track is great. It has the best video, shock horror involving sport, in a gym, wearing gym clothes – if you look past the lashings of eye-shadow and lip-liner that is! The video also features a plethora of Celebrities and Olympians and they are all wearing sport relief headbands and T-Shirts which makes this feel a concentrated effort for Sport Relief.
The song itself is a cover of Cameo’s original, and was also interestingly recorded by Mel B (of Spice Girls fame) for one of the Austin Powers soundtracks. The harmonies by Little Mix in the song are brilliant and it stands a good chance of reaching number one this weekend!
Sport Relief Rating: 5 Starjumps! – The best effort to date! #WORDUP!