One Direction this past weekend became the latest megastars to put their names and vocal talents to the official charity single for Comic Relief and while they will go a way towards ensuring it will be a rip-roaring success and the attachment of the world’s biggest boy band will be just one reason for it to do well.
Over that past two decades, Comic Relief has become the biggest charity event in the UK, routinely earning simply eye-boggling amounts of money every two years, with 2011’s event raising a simply incredible £74 million on the night and £108 million overall.
Amongst their massive success is the charity’s official song, which since 1986 has become a nearly certified chart buster every time it’s brought out.
If One Direction do the expected and rocket in at number one this week, they’ll make sure that since 1995, they’ve only not hit the top spot of the chart two times. Even then they’ve not done too badly for themselves, with The Saturdays getting to number two in the charts and The Wanted getting into the top three with their song ‘Gold Forever’.
To put that into context, that’s not a comment that can be made about either Sport Relief single or the Children In Need, despite the latter usually releasing songs that settle in somewhere near the top of charts. Children In Need has clocked up six number one hits and Sport Relief’s got one compared to the incredible twelve that Comic Relief’s amassed over the years. That’s as many number ones as Elton John and Oasis combined.
Also, a factor that must be considered is that the song has only been an original song four times since the first entry in 1986. So how has the charity routinely gotten what is basically a very high-profile karaoke session and turned it into a hit making machine? Well the answer’s in the question.
The trick that Comic Relief has got down perfectly is artist selection. They manage to either brilliantly snare the artist of the moment, or perfectly capture a comedic moment of the past year that has broken down boundaries, sometimes even going with both. From Gareth Gates, Westlife to The Spice Girls, the charity has roped in massive musical acts at the height of their popularity, something that they’ve done once again with One Direction.
Even when they’ve turned in a different direction, they’ve grabbed exactly the right comedy personalities to make the decision work. They’ve brought in Peter Kay twice, both at points when he was the biggest comedian in the UK. When they turned to Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon, it was when adoration for Gavin And Stacey was at simply immense levels.
The songs may have been on occasion utterly terrible (please don’t make us remember Girls Aloud vs Sugababes) but that truly didn’t matter one jot. The profiles of the stars and the UK’s love of giggle always combine to make it a hit. If we can legitimise it by also including the charity angle, then all the better.
While we’ve no idea who the next lucky artist will be in two years who gets to put their name on the single, but whoever they are they’ll be a guaranteed success.