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Band Aid is a charity supergroup featuring mainly British and Irish musicians and recording artists. 

It was founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for anti-famine efforts in Ethiopia by releasing the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for the Christmas market that year.

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.

Background

The supergroup was formed by Bob Geldof, who was then lead singer of the Irish band, The Boomtown Rats. The BBC played a major role in capturing the poverty affecting Ethiopian citizens and thereby influenced Geldof to take action. Paula Yates is considered to have been the brains behind the original Band Aid. It was she who became the driving force that inspired Geldof to rally the most famous pop stars of the 1980s to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.

The group was composed of forty artists to raise awareness and funds for the Ethiopian famine in 1983-1985 . The group's name stemmed from the idea that the musicians were providing aid to the less fortunate and suggested that their project was likened to putting a band-aid on a wound. Geldof was looking for support from all nations for Africa beginning in the United Kingdom. To do so, the artists recorded a hit single titled "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" depicting the poverty stricken African scenery of the time. Lyrics of the song follows the Orthodox calendar where Christmas is celebrated on the seventh of January, however, when the song was recorded, the country had a Communist government and as such religious festivals were not celebrated.

Band Aid 30

Band Aid 30 is the 2014 incarnation of the charity supergroup Band Aid. The group was announced on November 10, 2014 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, with Geldof stating that he took the step after the United Nations had contacted him, saying help was urgently needed to prevent the 2014 Ebola crisis in Western Africa spreading throughout the world.

As in previous incarnations, the group covered the track "Do They Know It's Christmas?", written in 1984, this time to raise money towards the Ebola crisisin Western Africa. The track has re-tweaked lyrics to reflect the current Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa with all proceeds going towards battling what Geldof described as a "particularly pernicious illness because it renders humans untouchable and that is sickening".

Lyrics

Unlike Band Aid II and Band Aid 20, where lyrics were almost identical to the original, the lyrics to "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for Band Aid 30 have been altered to address the current situation in Western Africa, with the ongoing Ebola epidemic. The changes include:

  • "Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears" replaced with "Where a kiss of love can kill you and there's death in every tear"
  • "Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you" replaced with "Well tonight we're reaching out and touching you"

[One Direction]
It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid

[Ed Sheeran]
At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade

[Rita Ora]
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy

[Sam Smith]
Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time

[Paloma Faith]
But say a prayer and pray for the other ones

[Emeli Sandé]
At Christmas time it's hard but while you’re having fun

[Guy Garvey]
There’s a world outside your window and it’s a world of dread and fear

[Dan Smith]
Where a kiss of love can kill you

[Angelique Kidjo]
Where there’s death in every tear

[Chris Martin]
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom

[Bono]
Well, tonight we’re reaching out and touching you

[Seal]
Bring peace and joy this Christmas to West Africa

[Ellie Goulding]
A song of hope where there’s no hope tonight

[Sinéad O'Connor]
Why is comfort to be feared, why is to touch to be scared?

[Bono]
How can they know it’s Christmas time at all?

[One Direction]
Here’s to you

[Olly Murs]
Raise a glass to everyone

[Bastills]
Here’s to them

[Sam Smith]
And all there is to come

[Rita Ora]
Can they know it’s Christmas time at all?

[All]
Heal the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time again

Heal the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time again

Heal the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time again

Heal the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time again

Heal the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time again

Heal the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time again

Heal the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time again

Heal the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time again

Recording

The song was recorded on November 15, 2014, with all contributions going towards battling the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. Due to her filming commitments on The Voice UK, Rita Ora recorded her lines first thing in the morning, and was not present for the whole group chorus (although the video cuts to her singing alone along with them). 

The song was recorded in Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, the same studio used for the original track. Organiser Bob Geldof said he addressed the participants "like the headmaster" before they sang the chorus: "I explained the situation in West Africa, I explained what the UN were saying, explained what we could do, and just geed them up." 

Footage of the recording of the session was streamed live on an official app, with the footage forming the basis for the music video. The record was produced by Paul Epworth, who has worked with the likes of Adele and One Direction.

Music Video

Music Video Information
Band Aid 30 - Do They Know It’s Christmas? (2014)

Band Aid 30 - Do They Know It’s Christmas? (2014)

full

Released November 17, 2014
Length 4:50
Director Andy Morahan
Production Co Paul Epworth, Midge Ure
Choreographer
Filmed
Location
VEVO views 40,555,116 (as of May 09, 2019)

Release

The official music video for Band Aid 30 was first shown on the results show of The X Factor on November 16, 2014. "We'll have a rough edit on The X Factor and we'll have a rough edit of the film," he said. The video was introduced by Geldof, who described the new recording as a "bit of pop history". He said the video—which began with shots of victims of Ebola—was "harrowing and not meant for an entertainment show" but was something The X Factor audience should see.

The song was available for digital download on November 17, 2014, just 11 days short of the 30th anniversary of the release of the original version of the track. The physical version of the song was released three weeks later on December 08.  There was a remix of the track by the electronic group Underworld.

On November 18, 2014, the BBC reported that the song was the fastest selling single of the year so far, with 206,000 copies sold since its release the day before. Martin Talbot said: "Everyone expected a strong start from Bob Geldof and his team, but they have outperformed expectations with a truly exceptional first day's sales." This makes it the fastest selling single since the Military Wives track "Wherever You Are" in December 2011.

Chart Performance

After release for download, the single went straight to number one in the UK Official Singles Chart for week ending November 29, 2014 having sold 312,000 copies. It dropped the following week. On its physical release on December 08, it reached number three. The UK version of the song reached number 25 in France, number 2 in Germany and number 1 in Spain and Ireland.

Participants

The line up for Band Aid 30:

Organisers and producers

  • Bob Geldof – organiser
  • Midge Ure – organiser
  • Paul Epworth – producer

Instruments

  • Roger Taylor (from Queen) – drums, keyboards
  • Milan Neil Amin-Smith (from Clean Bandit) – violin
  • Grace Chatto (from Clean Bandit) – cello

Vocals

  • Bono (from U2)
  • Clean Bandit
  • Paloma Faith
  • Guy Garvey (from Elbow)
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Angélique Kidjo
  • Chris Martin (from Coldplay)
  • Sinéad O'Connor
  • One Direction
  • Rita Ora
  • Olly Murs
  • Emeli Sandé
  • Seal
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Dan Smith (from Bastille)
  • Sam Smith
  • Underworld
  • Jessie Ware

Remixes

  • Underworld

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