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Best Benefit Concerts

Best Benefit Concerts


In its nascent years of the '50s and early '60s, Rock n Roll was, like siblings sex and drugs, little more than a social lubricant - a way for young people to get together, have a good time and blow off steam. But as the genre matured beyond a simple 'fad' (paralleling, not coincidentally, its Baby Boomer listeners' maturity), it began to take itself and the world around it more seriously. And though the "Peace and Love" mentality of Woodstock and the '60s gave way to the violence and protests of the early '70s, there nonetheless grew a sense that rock music, if applied properly, could really affect positive social change. And thus was born the Benefit Concert. With Al Gore's massive, seven continent Live Earth concert coming to a hemisphere near you this summer, we thought we'd take a look back at other notable efforts to make the world a better place through the power (both artistic and financial) of Rock n Roll. Get out your pocketbooks and get ready to rock, it's Best Benefit Concerts.

Chef Aid
Chef Aid

Chef Aid

When South Park, Colorado elementary school cook Chef faced a fine or prison time for harassing a "major record company" (he claimed that Alanis Morissette's song "Stinky Britches" had been written by him years before), he came up with the novel idea of raising money not to pay the fine, but rather to hire Johnnie Cochran, who had prosecuted the case against him, as his attorney. He initially attempted to raise the money by whoring himself to every woman in town. When this only raised $410,300, some of Chef's young friends from the school came up with the idea of Chef Aid: setting up a stage and charging people money to watch one of the boys perform a German dance. Luckily, some of Chef's former musical protege's (including Elton John, Ozzy Osbourne and Meat Loaf), touched by Chef's need, just happened to turn up and transformed the concert into a high-powered musical event.

Musical Serendipity: One of the more diverse bills in benefit concert history, Chef Aid boasted acts from punk godfather Joe Strummer to funk king Rick James. But the true musical gold was Sir Elton John's one-off performance of "Wake Up, Wendy," written by local child Stan Marsh.

Did It Work?: A resounding "yes." The concert easily raised enough money for Chef to hire Johnnie Cochran, who proceeded to get Chef off the hook and successfully sue the record company using his controversial "Wookie Defense."

Yeah, But: Years later, Chef would be brainwashed into sexual perversity by a society of world traveling child molesters and killed by lightning, a fall down a ravine, impalement on a tree stump, a mountain lion attack, a grizzly bear mauling, and bullets. So that sucks. Also, upon further research, we've discovered that "Chef Aid" and all of the events described in this entry were fictional and occurred on a cartoon television show.

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