Do They Know It’s Christmas? is a song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 to raise money for relief of the 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia. The song was released by Band Aid on November 28th, 1984 and became the biggest selling single in UK history no doubt raising tons of money for famine. Merry Christmas indeed! The song featured superstars such as Sting, Bono, Boy George, Phil Collins, George Michael, Paul McCartney and the guys from Spandau Ballet (maybe they weren’t all superstars…)
However, who was to know that one song recorded back in 1984 wouldn’t solve all the problems in Africa? I mean this plan was pretty full-proof if you ask me. Regardless, more had to be done! Which brings us to 1989 and Band Aid II. If anyone can name anyone in this video other than Kylie Minogue I will be blown away. In fact I’m not sure, but I would bet somehow Africa lost money on this version.
Fast forward to 2004 and Band Aid 20 (the 20 stands for 20 years since the first recording, clever huh?). Band Aid knew if they wanted any relief for Africa and avoid the 1989 train-wreck, in this version they would need to bring in some big guns. Enter returnees Bono and Paul McCartney as well as Chris Martin, Dido, Robbie Williams and Weird Al (cause why not?) amongst others. In true Christmas spirit Bono demanded he re-record his line ‘Tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you’ instead of allowing Justin Hawkins of The Darkness record that part as originally planned. This version garnered mixed reviews but overall was still a success for Band Aid in raising money for Africa once again. Case closed. Or was it?
*For whatever reason there is no full music video for this version. My theory is that music piracy was at an all time high and they wanted to avoid illegal downloads*
Not even a little bit! Smash-cut to 2014 and Ebola is being a real dick. The disease is ravaging parts of Africa and it seemed like nothing could be done. Enter once more…Band Aid: 30 Year Edition. This by far has the most recognizable lineup as it was recorded about 10 seconds ago with some of today’s biggest stars such as Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Sam Smith, Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding and including returnees Chris Martin and Bono (who wanted to sing his part again but changed the lyrics for some reason). Also Sinéad O’Connor sings on this version…so there is that too.
Through all of this I think it is safe to say the original 1984 version is by far the best version. That said, it’s not a bad idea to re-vamp this every 10 years or so to keep raising money for charity….although I think most of us would pay just as much money not to hear the last 3 versions ever again…