One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1985 – Band Aid

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid

The Grandaddy of all charity supergroups – Band Aid. Band Aid founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for anti-poverty efforts in Ethiopia. In October 1984, a BBC report by Michael Buerk was aired in the UK, which highlighted the famine that had hit the people of Ethiopia. Irish singer Bob Geldof saw the report and wanted to raise money. He called Midge Ure from Ultravox and together they quickly co-wrote the song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”.

The group was composed of leading British and Irish musicians who were among the most popular at the time. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was recorded on November 25, 1984, and was released 4 days later. The song became the the biggest selling single in UK Singles Chart history, selling a million copies in the first week alone. It stayed at Number 1 for five weeks, becoming Christmas number one, and sold more than 3.5 million copies domestically. It remained the highest selling single in UK chart history until 1997, when Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind 1997” was released in tribute to the late Princess Diana.

The song also got airplay in the U.S., where it also became a hit. It did not reach as high on the charts though, peaking at #13 on January 19, 1985.

The band inspired other charity acts such as “We Are the World”, “Voices That Care”, and other incarnations of Band Aid such as Band Aid II in 1989, and Band Aid 20 in 2004. The success of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” inspired Bob Geldof to set his sights on staging a huge concert for raise more funds. That concert turned out to be Live Aid in 1985.

is the list of artists for the original Band Aid, as it is listed on it’s sleeve:

Adam Clayton (U2)
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)
Marilyn
Keren Woodward (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 Dallin (Bananarama)
Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama)
Pete Briquette (The Boomtown Rats)
Francis Rossi (Status Quo)
Robert ‘Kool’ Bell (Kool & the Gang)
Dennis J. T. 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)
David Bowie
Boy George (Culture Club)
Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)
Paul McCartney
Stuart Adamson (Big Country)
Bruce Watson (Big Country)
Tony Butler (Big Country)
Mark Brzezicki (Big Country)

Well, ’tis the season! Let’s listen to “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in case you haven’t heard it yet this year…

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2 thoughts on “One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1985 – Band Aid”

  1. One of my favorite Christmas songs…and usually my holiday tastes stay with Perry Como, Johnny Mathis and Bing Crosby. This one’s a classic that belongs with the best of them.

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