Christmas Song #10: Do They Know It’s Christmas

Another blast from the past with this 1984 hit.

Big hair.  Puffy jackets.  Big egos.  Big names and I’m sure big drama!

This is one of the feel-good stories, where celebrities came together to donate their time and talent, to raise much-needed funds for hunger in Africa – more specifically Ethiopia.

This song was performed by UK and Ireland celebrities, with verses sung by Paul Young, Boy George, George Michael, Le Bon, and Bono, while the “Feed the world” chorus featured Geldof, Ure, David Bowie, Phil Collins, Paul McCartney, Status Quo, Bananarama, Paul Weller, and many others.

“It is a song that has nothing to do with music. It was all about generating money… The song didn’t matter: the song was secondary, almost irrelevant.” – Ultravox frontman Midge Ure

Band Aid did well, although I’m not sure how much of the food and money actually arrived at the desired locations, and being distributed to the right people.  The local insane dictator probably absorbed most of the money raised.

The success influenced two organizations of live Benefit Concerts run by Celebrity Charity.  The concerts were the USA for Africa and Live Aid and were broadcast in over 160 countries across the globe.  Band Aid and Live Aid combined raised about $150 million (USD) for the famine relief effort in Ethiopia.

I guess Geldof felt it was a worthy cause, and he followed up with the 2nd attempt for more money.  This time with a much younger generation of celebrities (some probably not born in 1984), but still the same song 🙂

In 2014, Geldof and Ure re-recorded the song to help with the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, tweaking they lyrics and corralling some of the biggest British and Irish acts of the time, including One Direction, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sandé, Ellie Goulding and Rita Ora.

I still like the 1984 version much better!

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