Ok kids, did you know before the internet and mp3 downloads there used to be an industry that sold its aural product on a physical format known as vinyl. The most popular vinyl form took the shape (circular, if you must ask) of a 7-inch single which most often included 2 songs, one on each side. Anyways, the A-side was generally where the good stuff could be found whereas the b-side was normally the domain of an instrumental of the main song (chancers eh!). So when you think of all the great 80’s songs please remember that there is a forgotten little number that could be found on its flipside. And how quickly people forgot that the great Band Aid single had a sibling called ‘Feed The World’. The premise was simple, those artists who couldn’t make it onto the A-side recorded messages about the plight of the starving people of Ethiopia over the backing track of the Bob Geldof/Midge Ure classic. The messages were read out by some really big hitters such as David Bowie, Gary Kemp (from Spandau Ballet), Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes To Hollywood) and a couple of members, from the then very, Big Country. How Bono got to say something on both sides is anyone’s guess.
Perhaps it is no surprise that that particular b-side has all been forgotten when it pales into insignificance when compared to the biggest charity single of all time ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ Recorded in London over 24 hours, and including a very clever sample of a Tears For Fears track ‘The Hurting’ in the process, this perennial included contributions from a who’s who of the music industry in 1984. The most recognisable singers to take part were Simon Le Bon (of Duran Duran), Boy George (of Culture Club), Tony Hadley (of Spandau Ballet), Paul Weller (of the Style Council), George Michael (of Wham!), Paul Young, Midge Ure (of Ultravox), Sara Dallon and Keren Woodward (of Bananarama), Bob Geldof (of the Boomtown Rats) and Phil Collins (who also played drums). ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ sold over 3 million copies in the U.K. alone in December 1984 and I can remember buying a copy of the Frog Chorus’ ‘We All Stand Together’ that Christmas while everyone around me was laden down with baskets containing multiple copies of the Band Aid single (out of touch even then!).
‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ was re-recorded on 3 occasions, once in 1989 (this time produced by Pete Waterman of Stock, Aiken and Waterman fame) and again in 1994 (with Larry Mullan of U2 replacing Phil Collins on drums). In 2004, to mark the 20th anniversary of the original Band Aid a third rendition of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ was recorded by a collection of the stars of that year under the banner Band Aid 20. Only Bono of U2, George Michael and Paul McCartney remained of the original Band Aid and they were joined by the likes of Chris Martin (of Coldplay), Joss Stone, Fran Healy (of Travis), Robbie Williams, Snow Patrol and Dido. This time the proceeds of the sale of the song went to war-torn Darfur in Sudan. Like its 2 predecessors Band Aid 20's version of 'Do They Know It’s Christmas?' sold well but it is the original that has stood the test of time.
It went beyond idealism and that ridiculous term activism, which basically means talking about something but doing nothing. We made giving exciting...