Welcome to Charity-OnLine.ie
Contact Us
Site Map
Inclusion Ireland
My Charity.ie
Internet Links
Irish Fundraising Links
Amazon Links
Other Links
Book List
DEC Members
Band Aid
Mission Fish
Inconvenient Truth
SWII Preview
Internet Links
e-mail me

Bob Geldof.info - Band Aid Page





Band Aid is a British and Irish charity supergroup founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in order to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia by releasing a record "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for the Christmas market. The single became the Christmas number one on that release and on two subsequent releases. It was produced by Trevor Horn.

Bob Geldof, after watching a television news report by Michael Buerk from famine stricken Ethiopia, was so moved by the plight of starving children that he decided to try and raise money using his contacts in pop music. (The news report itself has become famous, being voted among the greatest television moments of the Century.)

Geldof enlisted the help of Midge Ure from the group Ultravox to help produce a charity record. Midge Ure took Geldof's lyrics and created the melody and backing track for the record. Geldof called many of the most popular performers of the time, pursuading them to give their time for free. His one criterion for selection was how famous they were in order to maximise sales of the record.

The recording studio gave Band Aid 24 hours free to record and mix the record on 25 November 1984. The recording took place between 11am and 7pm and was filmed to release as the pop video. The first track to be put down was drums by Phil Collins including the memorable opening 'African Drum' beat. 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 the Paul Weller/Sting/Glen Gregory section. Paul Young has admitted since 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. Boy George arrived last at 6pm after Geldof woke him up by phone to have have him flown over from New York on Concorde to record his solo part.

The following morning Geldof appeared on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show to promote the record and promised that every penny would go to the cause. This led to a stand-off with the British Government, which refused to waive the VAT (tax) 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 15 December and went straight to number 1 in the UK pop charts 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 in the first week alone. It stayed at Number 1 for five weeks, selling over 3 million copies and becoming easily the biggest selling single ever in the UK. (It has since been passed by Elton John's tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, but it is likely to keep selling in different versions for many years to come.)

The Name "Band Aid" was chosen because it had a double meaning. At one level it means a band of musicians getting together to offer aid but, at another level, it is also an acknowledgement of the fact that such a gesture is like putting a sticking plaster on a gaping wound and does not address the full extent of the problem of world famine.

The charity set up to handle the money raised is called The Band Aid Trust. This project kick started Live Aid the following year which became a global phenomenon raising over ten times as much money as the original Band Aid single.

The group has been reformed on three occasions, each time from the most successful British and Irish pop music performers of the time to record the same song at the same time of year. Co-writer Midge Ure has commented that "Every generation should have its own version".

Who Took Part?

The original Band Aid ensemble consisted of:

  • Adam Clayton (U2)
  • Phil Collins
  • Bob Geldof (Boomtown Rats)
  • Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet)
  • Chris Cross (Ultravox)
  • John Taylor (Duran Duran)
  • Paul Young
  • Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet)
  • Glen Gregory (Heaven 17)
  • Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran)
  • Simon Crowe (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)
  • Sarah Dallin (Bananarama)
  • Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama)
  • Pete Briquette (Boomtown Rats)
  • Francis Rossi (Status Quo)
  • Robert 'Kool' Bell (Kool & The Gang)
  • Dennis D. T. Thomas (Kool & The Gang)
  • Andy Taylor (Duran Duran)
  • Jon Moss (Culture Club)
  • Sting
  • Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)
  • Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran)
  • Johnny Fingers (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)

The sleeve artist, Peter Blake, was also credited on the sleeve.

Band Aid II
Do They Know It's Christmas? - 1989

The Fight Against Famine Continues

Bob Geldof gets on the phone to 'The Pop Music Phenominon', producer Pete Waterman and asks him if he'd consider trying to put together a new version of the Band Aid hit single Do They Know It's Christmas? featuring the current crop of pop stars, to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.

Geldofs thinking was 'If anyone can put a record together at breakneck speed, it's him.'

This phone call took place on Friday 1st December 1989. Waterman, incredibly, immediately cancels his wedding planned for that day and attacks the phone, working his way down the current charts to see who's available. 48 hours later, on Sunday 3rd December, the studio (PWL Studios in South London) was alive with activity. Mick Stock and Matt Aitken started to lay down the backing track. Waterman arrived soon after, followed by an amazing array of current pop talent including: Kylie Minogue, Bananarama, Cliff Richard, Big Fun, Sonia, The Pasadeneas, Lisa Stansfield, Wet Wet Wet, Bros, and Jason Donovan.

Geldof arrives with Paula Yates and a young Fifi Trixiebelle, who is dying to meet Jason Donovan. The problem Geldof explained 'is it's the same song, the same time of year, and the only thing that has changed is the faces in British pop music.' Geldof was there to see how things were going and lend moral support, insisting 'It's all down to Pete Waterman now.' The recording was now in full swing.

The following day, Monday 4th December, Stock, Aitken & Waterman were back in PWL to finish mixing and putting the re-vamped version into some sort of shape. Throughout the day, Waterman in a very Geldofesque style put the business end of the project together, ensuring the record gets into the shops as quickly as possible whilst incurring the minimum costs, so as much as humanly possible goes to famine relief.

Next day, Tuesday 5th December, Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid II, gets its first play on London's Capital Radio. Advance sales of the record reached 500,000, virtually guaranteeing it would chart at number one.

On Monday 11th December, the record is officially released and as expected goes straight into the number one position.

Who Took Part?
The Band Aid II ensemble consisted of:

  • Bananarama
  • Big Fun
  • Bros
  • Cathy Dennis
  • D Mob
  • Jason Donovan
  • Kevin Godley
  • Glen Goldsmith
  • Kylie Minogue
  • The Pasadenas
  • Chris Rea
  • Cliff Richard
  • Jimmy Somerville
  • Sonia
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Technotronic
  • Wet Wet Wet

Band Aid 20

The Band Aid 20 single was first played simultaneously on the Chris Moyles show on BBC Radio One and the breakfast shows on Virgin and Capital radio at 8am on 16 November 2004. The video was first broadcast in the UK simultaneously over multiple channels, including the five UK terrestrial channels, at 5.55pm on 18 November 2004, with an introduction by Madonna.

British Artist Damien Hirst designed a cover for the Band Aid 20 single, featuring the grim reaper and a starving African child. However this was later dropped after fears that it might scare children. The single was released on 29 November 2004 and all money raised goes toward famine relief in the Darfur region of Sudan.

One of the new ways to buy the song by downloading it from the Internet hit a problem when Apple computer's iTunes initially refused to supply it due to their fixed pricing policy. A partial solution was reached after a few days enabling UK users to download the song at the standard iTunes price, with Apple donating an extra amount (equivalent to the price difference) to the Band Aid Trust.

The CD version sold over 200,000 copies in the first week to become the fastest-selling single of the year.

Bono, Paul McCartney and George Michael were the only artists asked back who lent their voices to the original Band Aid. There was a reported dispute over the line Tonight thank God it's them instead of you which Bono sang on the original version. Justin Hawkins of The Darkness laid down a version of the line but Bono insisted on re-recording his version, which was eventually used on the record. Strangely, although he wasn't invited, Blur's frontman and songwriter Damon Albarn appeared at the sessions, wanting to assist however he can the recording process of the charity single. He wasn't allowed to sing but Bono advised him how to be most useful for the singers. "I asked him to make the tea," the U2 frontman explained to Xfm, "I saw him on Thursday night. He said 'I don't know what to do' I said, 'Make tea,' he said 'You really think so?' I said, 'Yeah, make tea!'." Albarn quite happily responded and thus served biscuits and tea for the participants as well as appeared briefly in the video, at which Bono "fatherly" commented: "Good on him. I always knew that boy would turn out good in the end."

The single sold 72,000 copies in the first 24 hours after release, and went straight in at number one in the UK charts on 5 December 2004. It stayed at number 1 for Christmas and the week after, all in all holding onto the top spot for four weeks, just one week shorter than the original did in 1984.

Who Took Part?
Band Aid 20 ensemble consisted of:

Organisers and producers:
  • Midge Ure - organizer
  • Nigel Godrich - producer - Radiohead, Travis) and Bob Geldof.
  • Danny Goffey (Supergrass) - (drums)
  • Thom Yorke - (piano) and Jonny Greenwood - (guitar)-(Radiohead)
  • Sir Paul McCartney - bass guitar
  • Francis Healy (Travis) - guitar
  • Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) - Guitar
  • Dan Hawkins (The Darkness) - Guitar
  • Bono (U2)
  • Daniel Bedingfield
  • Natasha Bedingfield
  • Vishal Das
  • Busted
  • Chris Martin (Coldplay)
  • Dido
  • Dizzee Rascal - the only artist to add lyrics to the song
  • Ms Dynamite
  • Skye Edwards (Morcheeba)
  • Estelle
  • Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy)
  • Jamelia
  • Keane
  • Beverley Knight
  • Lemar
  • Shaznay Lewis (formerly of All Saints)
  • Katie Melua
  • Roisin Murphy (Moloko)
  • Feeder
  • Snow Patrol
  • Rachel Stevens
  • Joss Stone
  • Sugababes
  • The Thrills
  • Turin Brakes
  • Robbie Williams - performed separately from a studio in Los Angeles
  • Will Young
Who sings what on each version?
1984 version
1989 version
2004 version
It's Christmas time and there's no need to be afraid
Paul Young
Kylie Minogue
Chris Martin
At Christmas time we let in light and we banish shade
Paul Young
Chris Rea
Chris Martin
And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy
Boy George
Jimmy Somerville
Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time
Boy George
Matt Goss
But say a prayer; Pray for the other ones
George Michael
Cliff Richard
Robbie Williams
At Christmas time it's hard, but when you're having fun
Simon LeBon
Jimmy Somerville/Matt Goss
Robbie Williams
There's a world outside your window and it's a world of dread and fear
Simon LeBon/Sting/Tony Hadley
Marti Pellow/Jason Donovan
Where the only water flowing, is the bitter sting of tears
Fran Healy & Sugababes
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Bono/Sting/Simon LeBon
Cliff Richard/Marti Pellow
Fran Healy & Justin Hawkins
Well tonight thank God
it's them
instead of you
Jason Donovan/Matt Goss
And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time
Boy George/Paul Weller
Marti Pellow
Will Young & Jamelia
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
Bono/George Michael/Boy George
Will Young & Jamelia
Where nothing ever grows
Paul Young
Lisa Stansfield
Ms Dynamite &
Beverley Knight
No rain nor rivers flow
Glenn Gregory
Lisa Stansfield
Ms Dynamite & Beverley Knight
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
Sonia/Lisa Stansfield
Group of 10 & Joss Stone
Here's to you
Marilyn/Glenn Gregory/Rick Parfitt/Francis Rossi
Tom Chaplin
Raise a glass for everyone
Paul Young
Justin Hawkins
Spare a thought this yuletide for the deprived.
If the table was turned would you survive
2004 lines, not in the original version Dizzee Rascal
Here's to them
Matt Goss
Underneath that burning sun
Paul Young
Matt Goss
Justin Hawkins
You ain't gotta feel guilt just selfless.
Give a little help to the helpless
2004 lines, not in the original version Dizzee Rascal
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
Paul Young
Cliff Richard
Joss Stone & Justin Hawkins
Feed the World (rpt)
Feed the World, Let them know it's Christmas time again (rpt)

For more information, please visit


Where Band Aid Money Goes

To donate-to the Band Aid Trust  

Donations to the Band Aid Trust

If you would like to donate money to the Band Aid Trust. Please send a
cheque or postal order made out to "Band Aid Trust" to the following

c/o Joe Cannon
BDO/Stoy Hayward
The Band Aid Charitable Trust
P. O. Box 5301

The same facility should be available on www.bandaid20.com

If you have organised a fundraising event for the Band Aid Trust, then please keep us informed of your progress.  We will try to feature as many as we can on the website.

Or Donate via WORLDPAY Ltd (Secure Credit Card transaction)

Copyright 2005 bobgeldof.info -- Website Information

Copyright 2005 bobgeldof.info -- Website Information

|Welcome to Charity-OnLine.ie| |About| |Contact Us| |AUTINET Home| |AUTINET Links| |Site Map| |CCPI (IE)| |CCPI (USA)| |Chernobyl.Info| |Inclusion Ireland| |IAN-Home| |ISIDA Page| |My Charity.ie| |NCBI| |Not4Profit| |OXFAM| |Internet Links| |Irish Fundraising Links| |Amazon.com| |Amazon Links| |AUCTIVA Refer| |Other Links| |Book List| |Lists| |Buy.At| |DEC Members| |Band Aid| |Mission Fish| |Inconvenient Truth| |SWII Preview| |Internet Links|