20 Years of Comic Relief Singles

Comic Relief’s biennial telethon Red Nose Day takes place in the UK tomorrow.

So, to get you in the mood for all of the fun and mayhem that we’ve come to expect and love from Red Nose Day, we’re taking a look back at 20 years of official Comic Relief singles.

From One Direction to the Spice Girls, Sam Smith to Gareth Gates, some of the BIGGEST names in music have released songs in aid of this wonderful charity.

Here are our pick from the last 20 years…

Mama / Who Do You Think You Are
Spice Girls

In 1997 the Spice Girls were the biggest band in the world!! So it only seemed right that Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh and Sporty were asked to do the official Comic Relief single that year.

Double A-side ‘Mama/Who Do You Think You Are’ was the girl’s fourth single release and went straight into the charts at number 1 back in March 1997.

A special version of the ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ video was shot especially for Comic Relief, guest starring The Sugar Lumps, a satirical version of the Spice Girls made up of Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Lulu, Kathy Burke and Llewella Gideon.


‘Mama/Who Do You Think You Are’ has been certified Platinum in the UK with sales of over 710, 000, making it one of the biggest selling Comic Relief singles of all time.

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

Boyzone released their version of the Billy Ocean classic for Comic Relief in 1999.

The song was a big hit for the boys and reached number 1 in the UK, making it the fifth Comic Relief single to make it to the top spot.

The video for the track featured some big celebrities of the time including Graham Norton, Will Mellor, Harry Hill, Davina McCall, Mel Smith, the cast of Emmerdale and Ulrika Johnson.

Uptown Girl

The team at Comic Relief chose another Irish boyband to release the charities single in 2001, Westlife.

Released as the first single from the bands upcoming third studio album, ‘World Of Our Own’, their cover of the classic Billy Joel tune went onto become biggest selling single in Ireland in 2001 and the 24th best-selling single of the decade in the UK.

‘Uptown Girl’ was Westlife’s biggest selling single in the UK, reaching number 1 in March 2001.

Like Boyzone before them, the video for song featured celebrity cameos from the likes of Claudia Schiffer, Robert Bathurst, James Wilby, Ioan Gruffudd, Crispin Bonham-Carter and Tim McInnerny.

Spirit In The Sky
Gareth Gates

Pop Idol runner up Gareth Gates was the golden boy of pop back in 2003, which is why he was the perfect popstar to release the 12th Comic Relief single.

Gareth’s cover of Norman Greenbaum’s 1969 single featured guest vocals from The Kumars, stars of the hit BBC sitcom The Kumars at No. 42, and went straight to number 1 upon its release in March 2003.

‘Spirit In The Sky’ was Gareth’s fourth number 1 single and was certified Platinum by the BPI.

All About You / You’ve Got A Friend

‘All About You’ was released on March 7th, 2005 as the lead single from McFly’s second studio album ‘Wonderland’.

As well as being chosen as the 2005 Comic Relief single, the track was also used to promote Make Poverty History, an organisation which focuses on issues relating to 8th Millennium Development Goal such as aid, trade and justice.

‘All About You’ became McFly’s third UK number 1 single, selling over 500, 000 copies and achieving Gold status, making it the bands best-selling single to date.

Like many Comic Relief music videos before it, ‘All About You’ featured a number of celebrity cameos, including Ruby Wax, Davina McCall, Johnny Vegas, Dermot O’Leary, Graham Norton and Fearne Cotton.

Walk This Way
Sugababes vs. Girls Aloud

Girl bands of the moment, Girls Aloud and the Sugababes teamed up to record a duet of the classic Aerosmith and Run DMC hit ‘Walk This Way’ in 2007.

The track was produced by legendary R&B producer Dallas Austin, who has worked with artists such as Madonna, TLC, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Boyz II Men and Janet Jackson.

The music video for the single was loosely based on the original Run DMC video, seeing both girl bands battle it out for vocals and later, on the dancefloor.

The song reached number 1 in the UK charts, giving Girls Aloud their third number 1 and Sugababes their fifth.

Just Can’t Get Enough
The Saturdays

Comic Relief chose another girl band to release its charity single in 2009, The Saturdays.

‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, a cover of the 1981 Depeche Mode song, reached number 2 in the UK charts making it the first Comic Relief single not to chart at number 1 in 14 years.

The music video for the song was directed by Harvey B-Brown and sees each member of the band singing in a mock-‘50’s pin-up calendar.

The video also features a cameo from U2’s drummer Larry Mullen Jr.

Gold Forever
The Wanted

10 years since Westlife’s Comic Relief single was released, it was time for another boy band to release a track in honour of the charity.

The Wanted, made up of Nathan Sykes, Max George, Jay McGuiness, Tom Parker and Siva Kaneswaran, released their fourth single ‘Gold Forever’ in March 2011.

Written by Steve Mac, Wayne Hector and Claude Kelly, the song reached number 3 in the UK charts.

The music video for single was filmed on the same set as the film The Kings Speech and saw the band partying with a bunch of extras.

One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)
One Direction

In 2013, no band was bigger than One Direction, making them the perfect candidates to release that years Comic Relief single.

‘One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)’ was a medley of Blondie’s ‘One Way or Another’ and The Undertones ‘Teenage Kicks’ and was produced by Julian Bunetta and John Ryan.

The music video for the song was shot in Ghana, Tokyo, London, New York City and at 10 Downing Street and features a cameo from the then British Prime Minister David Cameron.

‘One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)’ sold 113, 000 copies it’s opening week and debut at number one.

Lay Me Down
Sam Smith Featuring John Legend

Sam Smith released the third version of his hit single ‘Lay Me Down’ as a duet with John Legend for Comic Relief in 2015.

The video for the single sees Smith and Legend recording the song in the recording studio, interspersed with images of children who the charity has helped over the years.

What’s your favourite Comic Relief single?

What will you be doing to help raise money for Red Nose Day?

Let us know your thoughts over on Twitter @CelebMix


Written by Philip Logan

Contact: logan_philip@hotmail.com
Twitter & IG: @philip_logan