Band Aid (band)
|Years active||1984, 1989, 2004|
Band Aid was 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-poverty efforts in Ethiopia by releasing the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for the Christmas market that year. On 25 November 1984, the song was recorded at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, and was released in the UK four days later. 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.
- 1 Background
- 2 Original Band Aid
- 3 Band-Aid II
- 4 Band Aid 20
- 5 Musicians and instrumentation
- 6 Related projects
- 7 Criticism
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
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 formed on three occasions, each time from predominantly the most successful British and Irish pop music performers of the time, to record the same song at the same time of year.
Original Band Aid
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2011)|
The original 1984 Feed the world logo was designed by Phil Smee of Waldo's Design, who designed all the Ads prior to the event being announced. Geldof was so moved by the plight of starving children that he decided to try to raise money using his contacts in pop music. 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 at SARM Studios in Notting Hill 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. 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, from Heaven 17. Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran sang between contributions from George Michael and Sting. 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. (At the time, Culture Club was in the middle of a US tour.)
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 November 29, 1984, 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, thus beating the seven-year record held by Mull of Kintyre. 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. In 1986 the original music video from "Do They Know It's Christmas?" received Band Aid a Grammy Award nomination for Best Music Video, Short Form.
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, modelled 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.
The original Band Aid ensemble consisted of (in sleeve order):
- Adam Clayton (U2)
- Phil Collins (Genesis, solo)
- 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 (Bananarama)
- Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
- Jody Watley (Shalamar)
- Bono (U2)
- Paul Weller (The Style Council)
- 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)
- Sara (Bananarama)
- Siobhan (Bananarama)
- 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)
- Sting (The Police)
- Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)
- Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran)
- Johnny Fingers (The Boomtown Rats)
- Boy George (Culture Club)
- Paul McCartney
- Holly (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)
- David Bowie
- 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.
This version, released in 1989 was produced by British songwriting and production team formed of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman known as Stock Aitken Waterman. The only artists from the original Band Aid to be featured again on this version were Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward of Bananarama. This version topped the UK Singles Chart for three weeks, but ultimately achieved far less historical significance and status than its predecessor.
On Friday 1 December 1989, Bob Geldof called Pete Waterman to ask if he would consider producing a new version of the song featuring the big stars from that time. Waterman immediately cancelled his wedding (planned for that very day) and began calling up the artists. With just two days' notice, on Sunday 3 December, recording took place at PWL Studios in South London. Present in the studio was Bob Geldof, wife Paula Yates and six-year-old daughter, Fifi Trixiebelle, who was eager to meet Jason Donovan.
Production continued through the Monday, and by Tuesday 5 December the song was aired for the first time on London's Capital Radio. Advance sales of the record reached 500,000 and a number-one was inevitable. The song was released the following week on 11 December and spent three weeks at number one, becoming the 9th biggest selling song of the year, outselling Madonna's "Like a Prayer".
The line up for the Band Aid II project consisted of (in alphabetical order):
- Big Fun
- Cathy Dennis
- D Mob
- Jason Donovan
- Kevin Godley
- Glen Goldsmith
- Kylie Minogue
- The Pasadenas
- Chris Rea
- Cliff Richard
- Jimmy Somerville
- Lisa Stansfield
- Wet Wet Wet
Band Aid 20
Musicians and instrumentation
Most of the people involved in the original Band Aid single appeared on the 1984 Christmas edition of Top of the Pops to mime to the record. However Bono could not attend, which led to the spectacle of Paul Weller miming to Bono's line. According to the film made by The Tube on the days of the recording 24–25 November 1984, Bob Geldof says The Edge from U2 was to have played guitar on the track but was unable to as he was in hospital at the time with a kidney infection.
- John Taylor (Duran Duran) - bass
- Phil Collins (Genesis) - drums
- Midge Ure (Ultravox) - keyboards
- Paul Weller (The Style Council/The Jam) - guitar
- Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet) - guitar
- Jon Moss (Culture Club) - Percussion/Bells
- Tears for Fears - Drum Samples from the track 'The Hurting'
- Paul McCartney - bass
- Danny Goffey (Supergrass) - drums
- Thom Yorke (Radiohead) - piano
- Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) - lead guitar
- Fran Healy (Travis) - rhythm guitar
- Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) - lead guitar
- Dan Hawkins (The Darkness) - lead guitar
- Charlie Simpson (Busted) - rhythm guitar
The Band Aid project inspired other charity records around the world, including We Are the World by USA for Africa (in the United States), Cantaré Cantarás by Project Hermanos (in Latin America), Nackt im Wind by Band für Afrika (in Germany), Ethiopie by Chanteurs Sans Frontiere'(in France), Tears Are Not Enough by Northern Lights (in Canada), Show some Concern by The Concerned in Ireland, Sammen for Livet by Forente Artister (in Norway), Maksamme Velkaa by Apua-Orkesteri (in Finland), Chega de Mágoa by Nordeste Já (in Brazil), Za milion godina by YU Rock Misija (in Yugoslavia), Stars by Hear 'n Aid (international heavy metal artists), Afrika written by Nanna with various Danish artists, Volare by Musicaitalia per l'Etiopia in Italy and many others.
A compilation of computer games for the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum was published under the name Soft Aid. Each platform had its own selection of games from ten different publishers; Elite Systems, Ocean Software, Quicksilva, and Virgin were represented on both. The cassette also featured a recording of the "Do They Know It's Christmas?" single.
- A 1991 sketch on Saturday Night Live entitled "Musicians For Free Range Chickens" is similar to "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and USA for Africa's "We Are the World". The sketch featured Chris Farley as Carnie Wilson from Wilson Phillips, Tim Meadows as Lenny Kravitz, and Mike Myers as Mick Jagger.
- A 2002 song by Pulp, "Bad Cover Version", featured a video parodying Band Aid, utilizing musician impersonators, in the Sarm studios. Impersonators included "Mick Jagger", "Robbie Williams", "Liam Gallagher", "Noel Gallagher", "Cher", "Björk", "George Michael", "Phil Collins", "Sir Paul McCartney", "Bono", "David Bowie", "Rod Stewart", "Craig David", "Beyoncé Knowles", "Kylie Minogue", "Missy Elliott", "Kurt Cobain", "Jay Kay", "Meat Loaf", "Elton John", and "Tom Jones", plus Jarvis Cocker himself appearing and impersonating Brian May; all the lines of the song in the video were performed by impersonators themselves, singing in the voices of their stars.
- In October 2005, Vice Records released a song entitled "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?" by a collective consisting of many well-known musicians from the independent music scene, going under the label of the North American Halloween Prevention Initiative (NAHPI); proceeds from the single were donated to UNICEF.
- In Christmas 2004, local Bristol, England radio station "GWR FM" did a parody of the song, for local charities, entitled "Feed The Wurzels: Bristolian Band Aid.", it was, and still is available for download from the Bristol GWR FM website, and featured the GWR Radio presenters, along with celebrities such as Tony Robinson and Jack Nicholson.
- The 2004 comedy film Shaun of the Dead featured Chris Martin on a British TV talk show wearing a shirt promoting "Zomb-Aid".
- On the radio station VCPR in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which takes place in the 1980s, it is announced that the musical community had written a song for charity to be played for the people of Alaska, entitled "Do They Know It's the Fourth of July?"
- The first season of the sketch comedy "Upright Citizen's Brigade" featured a parody of Band Aid in an episode entitled "The Little Donny Foundation" to raise money for a boy with a very unusual medical condition.
- In episode 8F11 of The Simpsons, "Radio Bart", when Bart pretends to be stuck down a well, Krusty, along with the help of Sting and other celebrities, organises a charity single, "We're Sending Our Love Down The Well", with distinct similarities to "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and USA for Africa's "We Are the World"
- Band Aid's exploits were parodied in an episode of Futurama, where famous celebrities gather together for 'Bend Aid', a Live Aid-style event designed to help broken robots, and South Park for 'Chef Aid'.
- Gepetto News, a Danish TV puppet show, made a Danish parody of the song.
- The Venture Bros. released a cover of the song as well.
- In the episode "Tip of the day" in the animated series Phineas and Ferb, the brothers host a concert promoting the awareness of the Aglet called Aglet Aid.
- In November 2009, the internet radio comedy program Comedy Death-Ray Radio put out a video parody of "Do They Know It's Christmas" featuring Paul F. Tompkins, R.O. Manse, Tig Notaro, Rob Huebel, Patton Oswalt, Mike Phirman, Jimmy Pardo, Brian Posehn & Scott Aukerman, Garfunkel & Oates, Aimee Mann, Chris Hardwick, Paul Scheer & June Diane Raphael, Doug Benson, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Nick Thune, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Cracked Out, Dragon Boy Suede, Natasha Leggero, Thomas Lennon & Ed Helms (the latter two appearing by phone as David Bowie and Mick Jagger). The song was also available on the Comedy Death-Ray Christmas album.
- In 2010, on the website That Guy with the Glasses (later promoted to YouTube in 2011) the Nostalgia Chick (played by Lindsay Ellis) reviewed the "Top 10 Disturbing and Inescapable Christmas Songs", which had Feed the World as number 2 for patronising Africa in the darkest light imaginable with "Chimes of Doom."
Claims of self-righteousness
In 1986, the anarchist band Chumbawamba released the album Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records, as well as an EP entitled "We Are the World", jointly recorded with US band A State of Mind, both of which were intended as anti-capitalist critiques of the Band Aid/Live Aid phenomenon. They argued that the record was primarily a cosmetic spectacle, designed to draw attention away from the real political causes of world hunger.
'I'm not afraid to say that I think Band Aid was diabolical. Or to say that I think Bob Geldof is a nauseating character. Many people find that very unsettling, but I'll say it as loud as anyone wants me to. In the first instance the record itself was absolutely tuneless. One can have great concern for the people of Ethiopia, but it's another thing to inflict daily torture on the people of Great Britain. It was an awful record considering the mass of talent involved. And it wasn't done shyly it was the most self-righteous platform ever in the history of popular music.' 
View of Africa
The song presents a very bleak view of Africa, which the lyrics appear to refer to as a whole. Some of these, such as the suggestions (if read literally) that the continent has no rainfall or successful crops, have been seen as absurd by critics. It also insinuates that there are no rivers in Africa. There are many, such as the Nile, the Niger, and the Congo. At the time of the 2004 release, the World Development Movement spoke out on this issue, describing the lyrics as "patronising, false and out of date", although there was no attempt to discourage purchase of the song.
- Sir Bob Geldof on tour ITV.com. Retrieved 15 September 2011
- Looking Back At Live Aid, 25 Years Later MTV. Retrieved 15 December 2011
- Bob Geldof The Guardian. Retrieved 15 September 2011
- The 20th anniversary of Band Aid BBC. Retrieved 15 December 2011
- Billboard 8 Dec 1984 Billboard. Retrieved 15 December 2011
- "Soft Aid". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
- "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
- Garfield, Simon (7-13 Mar.). "This Charming Man: No SEX No DRUGS No ROCK 'N' ROLL and Definitely No ROYALTY!". Time out.
- "China May Be Africa's Savior or Its Curse". Za.china-embassy.org. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
- Crampton, Robert (9 July 2008). "America home of the brave who also obey all the rules". The Times (London). Retrieved 27 March 2010.
- "World premiere of Band Aid song". BBC News. 16 November 2004. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
- Documentary: Making of Band Aid Part I
- Documentary: Making of Band Aid Part II
- Band Aid discography at MusicBrainz
- Band Aid at WorldMusicDatabase
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