From Farm Aid to Manchester: The biggest celebrity benefit concerts

(CNN)When tragedy strikes, celebrities take center stage to bring attention to worthwhile causes.

Using their status as icons and well-known figures, A-listers leverage their star power to solicit donations to benefit disease research, natural disaster recovery, and aid after tragedies around the world.
Billions of dollars have been raised since benefit concerts gained popularity and thousands of fans have followed the example of their favorite actor, comedian or musician and become supporters of causes they might not have otherwise.
Here is a look back at the most notable and influential benefit concerts we've seen.

    2017: One Love Manchester

    Two weeks after a bomb was set off at the close of an Ariana Grande concert, the well-known American pop artist returned to the United Kingdom for the One Love Manchester benefit concert. The star-studded lineup included Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, Usher and the Black Eyed Peas. The concert was streamed online around the globe and made available at the local hospital where several victims were still recovering from injuries suffered during the attack. The sold out show raised over $3 million to benefit the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund in partnership with the British Red Cross and Manchester City Council.

    1985: Live Aid

    Live Aid rocked the world via satellite on July 13, 1985. Bob Geldof, lead singer of the Irish band the Boomtown Rats, put on one of the most well-known benefit concerts to date. At least 70 acts performed for about 162,000 fans at stadiums in London and Philadelphia. The worldwide TV audience was estimated at 1.5 billion. Artist Phil Collins flew on the Concord, a British supersonic jet, to play at both Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. The event reportedly raised $245 million to fight widespread famine in Ethiopia.

    2001: America: A tribute to Heroes

    Stevie Wonder in a 2014 photo.
    A week and a half after the 9/11 tragedy, actor George Clooney was able to get big names such as Stevie Wonder and Tom Hanks to appear in a telethon recorded on stages in New York, Los Angeles and London. Aimed at raising funds for the families of fallen first responders, the band of celebrities raised a reported $140 million during the worldwide event.

    1985: We Are the World

    In over 30 years, the United Support of Artists for Africa organization that came out of the hit single "We are the World" has raised over $100 million to help alleviate poverty in Africa and the United States. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie in 1985, the song brought the music industry together, with artists like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Cyndi Lauper and Billy Joel all featured on the track. The single sold over 7 million records and has raised $63 million.

    2010: Hope for Haiti Now

    Beyonce in a file photo.
    Three days after an earthquake claimed over 200,000 lives in Haiti, plans were made to bring together artists from around the globe to raise funds to provide aid and relief to the devastated region. Haitian immigrant and famous rapper Wyclef Jean partnered with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and actor George Clooney to host the MTV Telethon. During the two-hour event, performances by artists like Beyoncé, Sting, Jennifer Hudson and Rihanna were paired with reports and calls for donations from celebrities, including Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Morgan Freeman and Reese Witherspoon. The event reportedly raised $61 million, which did not include funds raised by private donations or sales from the resulting album and video.

    2005: A Concert for Hurricane Relief

    Kanye West at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.
    On September 2, 2005, in response to Hurricane Katrina, NBC pulled together stars from across the country to put on a heartfelt benefit concert to raise money and awareness about the suffering and loss of life from the storm. Hosted by Matt Lauer, the broadcast raised $50 million for victims and families. The event caught the attention of many when rapper Kanye West went off-script and said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." It was a comment the former president later called a "disgusting moment."

    2005: Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast

    Mariah Carey in a file photo.
    After the Concert for Hurricane Relief, celebrities appeared in another televised benefit concert to raise funds for the American Red Cross and Salvation Army. Viewers who called in to the fundraising event had the opportunity to have their donation taken by A-listers such as Ellen DeGeneres, Cameron Diaz, Angela Basset, Danny DeVito and many more. Performances included Mariah Carey, U2, Randy Newman and husband-and-wife team Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. Broadcast in over 100 countries, the event raised around $30 million.

    2001: The Concert for New York

    Paul McCartney in a file photo.
    A month after New York and the United States were shaken by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, artists, actors, and athletes appeared at a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden. Aimed at raising funds for relief and aid, the event also recognized and honored all who had lost their lives. Participants expressed support for those who continued to work in the area known as ground zero. Organized by former Beatle Paul McCartney, the event was packed with over 60 celebs, as well as family members of victims who brought photographs and personal items that belonged to their loved ones. Solicited donations and auctioned off items helped raise $30 million.

    2005: Tsunami Aid: Concert of Hope

    Elton John performs in Leipzig, Germany in 2017.
    After the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that claimed the lives of over 300,000 people, George Clooney organized this TV concert to raise relief funds for victims of the historic tsunami. The two-hour telethon was filled with appeals for donations from entertainers and former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Performances by Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow and others helped raise $18.3 million.

    1985: Farm Aid

    Started in Champagne, Illinois, the Farm Aid benefit concert came about after earlier remarks by Bob Dylan about the struggles that American farmers were facing. Artists Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young organized the event to raise money for farmers who were losing their farms to corporate interests during tough economic times. After raising $9 million for American family farmers, organizers appeared before the United States Congress to express their concerns, which resulted in the passing of legislation aimed at helping family farmers avoid foreclosure.