Putting the charity back into charity singles: charity singles in Britain 1984-1995

Robinson, Lucy (2012) Putting the charity back into charity singles: charity singles in Britain 1984-1995. Contemporary British History, 26 (3). pp. 405-425. ISSN 1361-9462

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The development of the charity single as a response to crisis is usually exemplified by the release of the Band Aid single ‘Do They Know it's Christmas’ in December 1984 and the Live Aid concerts in London and New York in July 1985. This article will explore the subsequent development of the charity single genre in Britain as a response to perceived crisis in the domestic context. The 1980s saw a series of events that were reacted to as domestic disasters, notably relating to football at Bradford, and Hillsborough, the Zeebrugge Ferry disaster and the Hungerford and Dunblane shootings. Whilst these events played out various anxieties over regionality, class, and the role of the police and press, they all precipitated one similar response—the charity single. In the process the charity single, as a recognisable form, was consolidated through the 1980s in terms of cover design, related promotional culture and music video as well as in lyrical and musical structure. In this article I will argue that, taken together, the heterogeneity of charity singles reinforces the ways in which Thatcherism was able to use ‘common sense’ popular culture to undermine the post-war consensus. Collectivity and universality were countered with individual responsibility and individual solutions to social challenges.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Youth Culture, Popular Music and the End of ‘Consensus’ in Post-War Britain
Keywords: Thatcherism, Charity, Pop Music, The Eighties, Live Aid
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Depositing User: Lucy Robinson
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2013 09:23
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2013 09:23
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/31215
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