Ariana Grande sings "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"
Photo: Kevin Mazur/One Love Manchester/Getty Images
Ariana Grande releases Manchester charity single, resumes tour
On June 4 Ariana Grande took the stage at Old Trafford Cricket Ground to headline One Love Manchester, a benefit concert organized to memorialize and raise funds in support of the victims of the horrific attack that took place on May 22 at Manchester Arena in England where the singer had just completed a concert in support of her 2017 Dangerous Woman Tour.
Set up in partnership with the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, charitable proceeds from the concert— which also featured Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber, among others — combined with donations received during the 12 hours immediately following the event, reportedly totaled nearly $13 million.
As the evening came to a close, Grande bid the gathered audience of mourning fans farewell with a heartfelt cover of Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," originally written for the film version of The Wizard Of Oz and famously sung by Judy Garland.
Following the concert, Grande announced the resumption of her tour and the release of her live recording of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" to streaming outlets alongside a re-released version of "One Last Time" from her GRAMMY-nominated album, My Everything. Proceeds from both tracks will continue to benefit victims of the Manchester bombing.
The benefit concert Grande helped organize joins a venerable tradition of musicians who have made the choice to leverage their platforms to provide relief to victims of disaster, economic circumstances and acts of terrorism.
Nearly a year ago, GLAAD partnered with GRAMMY winners Nate Ruess and Imagine Dragons to host the All Is One Orlando Unity Concert to honor and raise support for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub attack on June 12, 2016. Organized days after the incident, the event was primarily focused in the Orlando community, raising more than $700,000. All proceeds were donated directly to the OneOrlando Fund to benefit victims and their families.
Reaching further back to 2001, George Clooney and Joel Gallen organized America: A Tribute To Heroes, a trio of concerts simulcast from New York, Los Angeles and London. Broadcast commercial-free on the major networks — and later shown across some 30 networks in an estimated 210 countries — the event and its associated telethon reportedly raised more than $200 million for first responders, victims and affected families of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Contributing artists included GRAMMY winners U2, Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and many others.
While modern day charity concerts and music released to benefit victims is now a common practice, prior to George Harrison's 1971 Concert For Bangladesh, the idea of collecting a group of top-tier talent to play a show for a charitable cause was an untapped concept.
Harrison's benefit concert, organized in collaboration with Ravi Shankar, drew together performers such as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voorman to raise money for East Pakistani refugees who sought to form the new country of Bandgladesh. The concert itself netted approximately $250,000 for UNICEF, but the associated concert album went on to win Album Of The Year at the 15th GRAMMY Awards. Proceeds from the live album and accompanying film raised approximately $12 million for Bangladeshi relief by 1985.
Not only was the single a charitable success, the recording won GRAMMYs for Record and Song Of The Year, Best Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, and Best Music Film, Short Form at the 28th GRAMMYs. "We Are The World" eventually sold more than 20 million physical copies worldwide. Album sales and merchandise associated with the single raised $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the United States.
From The Concert for Bangladesh to "We Are The World" and Grande's latest charity single — and numerous efforts in between — musicians have proven time and time again that when they speak up and speak out, they can make a difference.
"Music is meant to heal us, to bring us together, to make us happy," said Grande. "So that is what it will continue to do for us."