Christmas Song of the Day: “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid
After seeing a BBC report on famine in Ethiopia, Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof thought he needed to do something to try and stop all the suffering. On Nov. 25, 1984 he gathered some of the biggest acts in British and Irish pop music for one 24-hour period to record a tune he had written with Midge Ure titled “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Paul McCartney, U2, Phil Collins, Queen, Duran Duran, Boy George, George Michael, Sting, and many others took part in what started the “all star charity song” wave of the mid-80s.
The song sold a million copies it’s first week and 3.5 million overall. The single lead to “We Are the World” by USA for Africa, which eventually lead to “Live Aid,” an unprecedented concert event on two continents on July 15, 1985. While “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and others like it didn’t put an end to famine in Ethiopia, at least they got people talking about it.