Band Aid

COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’

The song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was originally performed by ‘various artists’ in 1984.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was written by Bob (Boomtown Rats) Geldof (b.1951 and later knighted) and James “Midge” Ure (b.1953) in 1984 after a news report on the famine in Ethiopia. The two brought together the cream of the music charts at that time including Paul Young, Boy George, George Michael, Bananarama, U2, Holly Johnson, Style Council and many others to record the song in one day on 25th November. Under the group name of Band Aid, the single was out the following week and became the Christmas number one that year. It has gone on to become one of the biggest selling singles in history with 3.8 million copies sold in the UK, 2.5 million in the US and ten million globally.

Five years later, producers Stock Aitken Waterman assembled a new line up – Band Aid II – to raise even more money for Africa, this time taking from the pool of artists that were riding high in 1989 including Kylie Minogue, Bros, Lisa Stansfield, Cliff Richard, Wet Wet Wet, Jason Donovan and Bananarama again, amongst others. Once again, the song topped the UK singles chart and was that year’s Christmas number one, receiving a Platinum disc for sales of more than 600,000 copies. It was also a chart hit in many parts of Europe and in Australia and New Zealand.

Fast forward fifteen years and twenty years on from the original, Band Aid (III) were back with the likes of Chris Martin, Dido, Robbie Williams, Busted, Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield, Snow Patrol and many others, and, guess what, it was Christmas number one again! This time shifting 1.1 million copies in the UK and topping the chart in a further eight countries as well as going top ten in Australia, Sweden and Switzerland! Phew!

And finally, in 2014, thirty years on from the original, another go was made with the song as ‘Band Aid 30’ (or Band Aid IV), this time to help victims of the Ebola crisis. This time the likes of Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Sam Smith, Paloma Faith, Bastille and the return of Bono recorded the single, which went to number one in the UK, Belgium, Ireland, Hungary and Spain as well as reaching No.3 in Australia and No.63 in America. It didn’t stay at the top in the UK that Christmas, but did sell more than half a million copies and raised badly needed money to help with the pandemic.

But which one is best?! the 1984 original, the 1989 version, BAND AID 20 in 2004 or BAND AID 30 in 2014?
Happy Christmas!

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cover vs original

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!