Poptastic Confessions

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Do They Know It's Christmas? by Band Aid 30

Dear Poptastic Readers,

You probably know by now that there is a new recording of the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and this time it is credited to Band Aid 30. Before I get to reviewing the song, let's look back of the history of the song.

The 1984 single cover

The original song was recorded in 1984. It was put together by Bob Geldof (Boomtown Rats) and Midge Ure (Ultravox). All profits were to go to help out the famine in Ethiopia. The megastars of the time included Duran Duran, Culture Club, Bananarama, U2, Jody Watley, George Michael, Spandau Ballet, Paul Young, Heaven 17, Kool & The Gang, Sting and more.

The original Band Aid.

The song was the first of its kind. And it prompted American artists to make the single "We Are The World." And even spawn many other charity singles. Watch the video for the original song here: "Do They Know It's Christmas? (1984)"

The lackluster cover of the 1989 single.

Five years later, the song was re-recorded as a dancier pop track. This time, it was credited to Band Aid II. The line up consisted of Bananarama, Kylie Minogue, Cathy Dennis, Lisa Stansfield, Jimmy Somerville, Cliff Richard, Bros and more.

Band Aid II

What I like about this was that the women had more of a prominent role is singing the verses. Also, the structure of the song was changed a bit to bring in the chorus after the first verse. Watch the video for this version here: "Do They Know It's Christmas? (1989)"

The single cover for the 2004 version.

In 2004, it was the 20th anniversary of the song. So, it was re-recorded again and credited to Band Aid 20. The artists were Cold Play, Dido, Sugababes, Joss Stone, Rachel Stevens, Bono and others. There was a campaign at the time to get Bananarama, but they weren't invited. Popjustice.com even ran an image that said, "It's not Band Aid without Bananarama."

Campaign to get Bananarama invited to Band Aid 20.


However, after hearing the end result, I was so happy that Bananarama were not involved. It turned out to be one of the worst records in pop history. A rap was added to the song, as well as a guitar solo. When everyone sang together, it sounded like too many were singing out of tune. Not even the Sugababes could save the day.

Band Aid 20

I was truly shocked at just how terrible it was. I have said that Bananarama were lucky they were not part of that. Even 10 years later, I still find this version to be completely cringeworthy. Watch the video for it here: "Do They Know It's Christmas? (2004)"

The very lackluster single cover for Band Aid 30.

Now it is 2014 and it is the 30th anniversary of the original. So, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure rounded up a new set of singers and credited them as Band Aid 30. This time the line up of stars were One Direction, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora, Chris Martin and Bono, and many more.

Band Aid 30 (Photo from the Mirror)

This time, the lyrics were changed slightly to address the Ebola crisis in Africa. And proceeds went to fight that as well. But not all the lyrics were changed. The chorus was still "Feed The World." So, the concept seemed a bit askew to me. I'm fine with the proceeds helping out fight Ebola. But I can't help but think that AIDS in Africa is a much bigger and devastating problem than Ebola. But I can let that go. Any help we can give is good, I think.

This new version of the song is indeed better than the Band Aid 20 version. However, it still worse than the original and the Band Aid II version. What was once a beautiful song that could make you get teary eyed, now has lost all of that emotion. Watch the video for the new version here: "Do They Know It's Christmas? (2014)"

If there is a Band Aid 40, I sure hope that they leave the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" alone. Come up with a new original song! But remaking this song over and over isn't helping with the legacy. Especially, when it sounds worse than the original.

"Do They Know It's Christmas? (2014)" is available on iTunes.

Cheers then,
—Davearama

P.S. Click here to see my list of my favourite Christmas/Holiday songs!


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