Julia's Club Eighties
Sunday, December 16, 2007
It's Christmas time!
Band Aid was a British and Irish charity supergroup, founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in order to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia by releasing the record "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for the Christmas market. The single surpassed the hopes of the producers to become the Christmas number one on that release. Two subsequent re-recordings of the song to raise further money for charity also topped the charts. The original was produced by Midge Ure. The 12" version was mixed by Trevor Horn.
The name 'Band Aid' was chosen as a pun on the name of a well known brand of adhesive bandage, also referring to musicians working as a band to provide aid and alluding to the fact that any help stemming from their efforts is likened to a band-aid on a very serious wound.
The group has reformed on three occasions, each time from the most successful British and Irish pop music performers of the time, to record the same song at the same time of year. Co-writer Midge Ure once commented: 'Every generation should have its own version'.
ORIGINAL BAND AID
The original 1984 Feed The World logo was based on a pencil sketch by Bob Geldof after watching a BBC television news report by Michael Buerk from famine-stricken Ethiopia, was so moved by the plight of starving children that he decided to try and raise money using his contacts in pop music. The news report itself has become famous, being voted among the greatest television moments of the century, and it remains Buerk's definitive work, even though most of his career was spent as an anchorman.
Geldof enlisted the help of Midge Ure, from the group Ultravox, to help produce a charity record. Ure took Geldof's lyrics, and created the melody and backing track for the record. Geldof called many of the most popular British and Irish performers of the time (Kool & The Gang and Jody Watley were the only Americans present at the original recording), persuading them to give their time free. His one criterion for selection was how famous they were, in order to maximise sales of the record. He then kept an appointment to appear on a show on BBC Radio 1, with Richard Skinner, but instead of promoting the new Boomtown Rats material as planned, he announced the plan for Band Aid.
The recording studio gave Band Aid no more than 24 free hours to record and mix the record, on 25 November 1984. The recording took place between 11am and 7pm, and was filmed by director Nigel Dick to be released as the pop video though some basic tracks had been recorded the day before at Midge Ure's home studio. The first tracks to be recorded were the group / choir choruses which were filmed by the international press. The footage was rushed to newsrooms where it aired while the remainder of the recording process continued. Later drums by Phil Collins were recorded, including the memorable opening 'African Drum' beat. But in reality, the introduction of the song features a slowed down sample from a Tears for Fears' track called "The Hurting", released in 1983. Tony Hadley, of Spandau Ballet, was the first to record his vocal, while a section sung by Status Quo was deemed unusable, and replaced with section comprising Paul Weller, Sting, and Glenn Gregory. Paul Young has since admitted, in a documentary, that he knew his opening lines were written for David Bowie, who was not able to make the recording but made a contribution to the B-side (Bowie performed his lines at the Live Aid concert the following year). Boy George arrived last at 6pm, after Geldof woke him up by 'phone to have him flown over from New York on Concorde to record his solo part.
The following morning, Geldof appeared on the Radio 1 breakfast show with Mike Read, to promote the record further and promise that every penny would go to the cause. This led to a stand-off with the British Government, who refused to waive the VAT on the sales of the single. Geldof made the headlines by publicly standing up to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and, sensing the strength of public feeling, the government backed down and donated the tax back to the charity.
The record was released on 3 December, and went straight to No. 1 in the UK singles chart, outselling all the other records in the chart put together. It became the fastest- selling single of all time in the UK, selling a million copies in the first week alone. It stayed at No. 1 for five weeks, selling over three million copies and becoming easily the biggest-selling single of all time in the UK. It has since been surpassed by Elton John's "Candle In The Wind 1997" (his tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales) but it is likely to keep selling in different versions for many years to come.
After Live Aid, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was re-released in late 1985 in a set that included a special-edition 'picture disc' version, modeled after the Live Aid logo with 'Band' in place of 'Live'. An added bonus, "One Year On" (a statement from Geldof and Ure on the telephone) was available as a b-side. "One Year On" can also be found in transcript form in a booklet which was included in the DVD set of Live Aid, the first disc of which features the BBC news report, as well as the Band Aid video, with the following statement made shortly after the video's mixing scrolling upwards in the credits:
"Dear Bob and Midge,
It's 8:00am on the 28th November 1984 just 48 short hours after you'd finished mixing the record. The video is complete and ready for TV sets all over the world.
Over twenty people were responsible for making this video: they gave us their time and their expertise. For this we shall be eternally grateful.
Our thanks too to the following for giving us the tools to do this job:
Agfa Gavaert Ltd
Film Lighting Services
Polygram Music Video
anyone we've forgotten!
It's time we went home too. Thanks for giving us the chance to do this for you.
FEED THE WORLD
Nigel, Dave and Rob."
The original Band Aid ensemble consisted of (in sleeve order):
* Phil Collins (Genesis)
* Bob Geldof (The Boomtown Rats)
* Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet)
* Chris Cross (Ultravox)
* John Taylor (Duran Duran)
* Paul Young
* Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet)
* Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17)
* Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran)
* Simon Crowe (The Boomtown Rats)
* Keren Woodward (Bananarama)
* Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
* Jody Watley (Shalamar)
* Bono (U2)
* Adam Clayton (U2)
* Paul Weller (The Style Council, and previously The Jam)
* James "J.T." Taylor (Kool & The Gang)
* George Michael (Wham!)
* Midge Ure (Ultravox)
* Martyn Ware (Heaven 17)
* John Keeble (Spandau Ballet)
* Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
* Roger Taylor (Duran Duran)
* Sarah Dallin (Bananarama)
* Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama)
* Sting (The Police)
* Pete Briquette (The Boomtown Rats)
* Francis Rossi (Status Quo)
* Robert 'Kool' Bell (Kool & The Gang)
* Dennis Thomas (Kool & The Gang)
* Andy Taylor (Duran Duran)
* Jon Moss (Culture Club, former member of Adam and the Ants)
* Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)
* Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran)
* Johnny Fingers (The Boomtown Rats)
* David Bowie (who contributed via a recording that was mailed to Geldof and then dubbed onto the single)
* Boy George (Culture Club)
* Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)
* Paul McCartney (Wings and The Beatles, who contributed via a recording that was mailed to Geldof and then dubbed onto the single)
* Stuart Adamson (Big Country)
* Bruce Watson (Big Country)
* Tony Butler (Big Country)
* Mark Brzezicki (Big Country)
The sleeve artist, Peter Blake, was also credited on the sleeve.
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