In 1984 during the run up to the Christmas period one of the big stories on the TV news was that of the terrible famine that was taking place in Ethiopia. Â All the pictures of starving children were seen by Bob Geldof who was so moved and angered about the situation that he decided to do something about it.
Bob started gathering together many of the pop stars of the day to record a song written by the Irish star of The Boomtown Rats. Â Geldof’s criteria was that the acts had to be famous, in order to make as much impact as possible, and that they had to donate their talents free of charge.
One of the first stars on board was Midge Ure, who put music to Geldof’s lyrics, but the list grew to encompass such notables as Phil Collins, who played the drums on the record, Sting, Bono, Freddie Mercury, George Michael, David Bowie, Boy George, Paul McCartney, Duran Duran, Bananarama, Spandau Ballet and many more. Â Bowie and McCartney were not able to make the recording date so their recordings were dubbed on later, and Boy George had to jet over by Concorde to be at the recording!
The record went straight to number one in the UK charts when it was released on 29th November 1984 and stayed there for five weeks, being the UK Christmas top song. Â The song was also rereleased the following year after the Live Aid concert.
In 1989 the song was released again, only this time it was produced by Pete Waterman and so the line up of Band Aid II, as the group was called for this version, consisted of many of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman line up of artistes, including Jason Donovan, Kylie Minogue, Sonia and Bananarama again. Â Other notables were Wet Wet Wet, Cliff Richard, Bros, Technotronic and Chris Rea. Â On release it again hit the top spot in the charts, spending three weeks there.
Of course, more recently the song was re-released yet again to mark 20 years from the original. Â Band Aid 20 was formed featuring another mix of the days most famous acts, including members of Busted, Supergrass, Travis and Sugababes, plus Robbie Williams, Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield, Katie Melua and Will Young. Â Also performing again were Bono, George Michael and Paul McCartney. Â Unsurprisingly it again hit number one over the Christmas period, staying there for four weeks in total.
One thing I would like to know about the song is whether or not all the repeat plays on the radio over the Chirstmas period, and all the Christmas compilation albums it features on, raise any more money for charity?