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Band Aid – Do they know it’s Christmas

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
When nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
#BandAid #DoTheyKnowItsChristmas

“Do they know it’s Christmas” was definitely the first mega charity project in the music world. The idea came from Bob Geldof, former histrionic leader of an alternative Irish group, the Boomtown Rats. Not only did this project make Bob Geldof an icon of the 1980s, but in the long run it also earned him the title of “Sir”.

Bob Geldof had the idea, wrote the lyrics to the song, and did the hardest thing, worked hard to realize the initiative involving all the protagonists of the supergroup. Midge Ure, leader of Ultravox, the group singing “Vienna“, wrote the music. Trevor Horn, the author of “Video killed the radio star“, worked behind the scenes as always: he did not participate in the project, but made his private recording studio available.

Geldof thought of everything, but it did not turn out to be easy, because when the pop stars showed up in the studio they had not heard the song yet, not once, and therefore in the space of a day they had to go from absolutely nothing to the final recording. Geldof himself recalls that perhaps this race against time was one of the key elements for the excellent final result: there was really no time for excessive discussions, everyone did their part without wasting too much time, often putting aside rivalries and dislikes between artists.

There was also some logistic problems, such as when Boy George was late in arriving. They called him, and he revealed that he was still asleep. There was a small problem: he was in America. Geldof insisted that he ran for a Concorde and he really showed up in London after some hours.

The biggest names in pop were singing the verses: Paul Young, Boy George, Simon Le Bon, George Michael, Bono, Sting, Tony Hadley. Bod Geldof and Midge Ure sang the chorus along with, say, people like David Bowie, and Paul McCartney. John Taylor on bass and Phil Collins, immense, on drums. In the final chorus of the song there were also everyone else. The project was called Band Aid.

“Do they know it’s Christmas” was indeed an important event from the point of view of charity, but also from the point of view of music: the emotional, musical and philanthropic wave of “Feed the world” grew day after day, and ended up in the spectacular realization of Live Aid, a truly unique concert, held on July 13, 1985 at London’s Wembley Stadium and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia , simultaneously taking advantage of the time zone difference, with Phil Collins playing in London, then taking the Concorde, and then playing again in the United States.

Legend has it that on that Concorde Phil met Cher, who knew nothing about Live Aid. Moral: Phil tells her, “When we land, come with me!” and a few hours later she’s also doing the choir on stage in Philadelphia.

Live Aid, the final act of the Band Aid project, was probably the highest point of the 1980s. Certainly it was the very clear watershed between the first part of the 80s and the second. Many great artists basically played for the last time at the highest level, I am thinking of Status Quo, but also of Duran Duran, who played together for the last time (they will be back in full only in 2004), but in that spectacular concert also rose definitively the star of Freddie Mercury, who crowned himself king of the second part of the 80s.

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
When nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
#BandAid #DoTheyKnowItsChristmas

Band Aid on Wikipedia

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