There were also top 40 albums that benefited Amnesty International and the Special Olympics.
Here are the key albums in which musicians have teamed up to do good. They're listed in chronological order.George Harrison organized the show, which featured such stars as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and Ringo Starr. Harrison and Phil Spector co-produced the album, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year. Peak Position: #2. Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, John Hall and Bonnie Raitt teamed to produce the album. (Hall is now a U.S. Congressman from New York.) MUSE stands for Musicians United For Safe Energy. Peak Position: #19. Paul McCartney & Wings, The Who, The Pretenders, The Clash and Queen are among the artists on this double-disk live album, which was recorded in London in December 1979. The album wasn't released until April 1981. Peak Position: #36. Phil Collins, Sting, Donovan and Jeff Beck & Eric Clapton headlined this sequel to the 1981 album The Secret Policeman's Ball. Both albums were recorded at benefit concerts for Amnesty International. Peak Position: #29. USA For Africa, was the main attraction on this album, which raised money to alleviate starvation in Africa. The song reached #1 and won Grammys for Record and Song of the Year. The album also included songs by Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Chicago and Kenny Rogers. Peak Position: #1. Little Steven and Arthur Baker organized the project, which featured Jackson Browne, Peter Gabriel, Bonnie Raitt and Bruce Springsteen. Peak Position: #31. U2, Whitney Houston, Sting, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Nicks were featured on this album, which was the first in a series of seven releases (the first three made the top 40). The franchise has raised millions of dollars for the Special Olympics. Peak Position: #20.
Cole Porter songs raised money for AIDS research and relief. It kicked off a series of "Red Hot AIDS Benefit" titles. Highlights include U2's "Night And Day" and Neneh Cherry's "I've Got U Under My Skin." Peak Position: #38.
Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Carole King and James Taylor are featured on this collection of lullabies and children's songs. The album raised money for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Peak Position: #31. Alanis Morissette, Peter Gabriel and Neil Young are featured on this album. The album also included Pearl Jam's smash remake of "Last Kiss" and Rage Against The Machine's version of Bruce Springsteen's "The Ghost Of Tom Joad." Peak Position: #18. Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The U.S.A." to Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Peak Position: #1. Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC and Britney Spears performing under the collective name Artists Against AIDS. The ensemble's remake of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" became a top 30 hit. The project benefited AIDS research. Peak Position: #18. Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, The Who, Elton John and Billy Joel. Peak Position: #27. U2's "Walk On" and Bruce Springsteen's "My City Of Ruins." Peak Position: #17. Jay-Z with Rihanna, Bono and The Edge; "Hallelujah" by Justin Timberlake (with Matt Morris); and "Lean On Me" by Sheryl Crow (with Keith Urban and Kid Rock). Peak Position: #1.
The Fine Print: I didn't include albums that were primarily viewed as tribute albums, even if they raised money for charity. 1991's Deadicated, a tribute to the Grateful Dead, benefited rain-forest preservation. 1993's Common Thread: The Songs Of The Eagles, a salute to the genre-bridging group, boosted the Walden Woods Project.
I also didn't include the annual Grammy Nominees CDs because they're primarily viewed as music compilations of general interest, not as charity albums (even though a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Recording Academy's in-house charities, MusiCares and the Grammy Foundation).
Finally, albums weren't released from the Live Aid concert in 1985 or the Live 8 concert in 2005, though in both cases DVD collections were.