"Do They Know it's Christmas?" - Band Aid 20


Track Listing:

Background Information

On November 14, 2004 artists came together to record a new version of “Do They Know it’s Christmas”, a song originally recorded for a charity single twenty years earlier. The song was put together to benefit Sudan’s region of Darfur. The song would be released later that week to radio, and would be released on CD on November 29th in the UK and Europe and the next day in Canada. Once again Bono is part of the single, revisiting his line “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” from 1984, and singing it once again.

Bono was not part of the actual recording sessions in London for the 20th anniversary single. Instead he recorded his line in a studio in Dublin, while listening to a demo version of the track laid down by studio musicians. He and the Edge were both present for the recording session, and the Edge laid down some instrumental tracks for inclusion in the song in advance of the recording session at Air Studios in London a few days later. There was some controversy about using this pre-recorded piece from Bono, and during the recording sessions, Justin Hawkins of the Darkness was also tasked with singing the line. The producers were happy with the recording, and contemplated leaving Bono’s piece on the cutting room floor, however Bono quickly made it to London to re-record the line yet again. Hawkins was quoted as saying, “I did it and I did it better than him. So, his management kicked up a stink. It obviously means a lot to him. It’s a valuable line for him, he needs it, so I think he’s going to fly back and try again to beat me.” The Edge’s guitar recordings were apparantly not used in this new recording.

Bono does appear on the track, and does sing the original line that he had in the original. Hawkins is still involved in the track, but sings on other lines. Bono was the only vocalist appearing on the original track in 1984 who re-appeared on the 2004 version. Paul McCartney who performed on the original track as well also returned, but only to play bass, and does not contribute to vocals on the new version. Bob Geldof and Midge Ure were present at both sessions but do not perform on the new track. Musicians on this new version include Ed Graham from The Darkness on drums, Thom York and Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead on piano and guitar, Paul McCartney on bass guitar, and Justin Hawkins from The Darkness and Danny Goffey from Supergrass on guitar. Other vocalists included on the track are Daniel Bedingfield, Natasha Bedingfield, Chris Martin (Coldplay), Dido, Dizzee Rascal, Ms Dynamite, Skye Edwards (Morcheeba), Estelle, Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy), Justin Hawkins (The Darkness), Jamelia, Tom Chaplin and Tim Rice-Oxley (Keane), Beverley Knight, Lemar, Shaznay Lewis (All Saints), Katie Melua, Roisin Murphy, Rachel Stevens, Joss Stone, Robbie Williams, Will Young, Fran Healy (Travis) and Busted. Members of Feeder, Snow Patrol, the Sugababes, the Thrills and Turin Brakes were also participants in the chorus.

A video was produced for the 20th anniversary recording. In the video you can see Bono recording his lines at the London session.

The single that was released includes two tracks from the original Band Aid project from twenty years earlier. The “Single Version” from 1984 is included here on CD. The final song is a recording of the song that was done live at Live Aid, at Wembley Stadium, on July 13, 1985. Bono can be heard on this version as well.

Liner Notes

Do They Know it’s Christmas (Band Aid 20):
Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. Produced by Nigel Godrich. Executive Producer: Midge Ure.
Do They Know it’s Christmas (Band Aid):
Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. Produced by Midge Ure.
Do They Know it’s Christmas (Live):
Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. Sound Production: Jeff Griffin. Recorded at Wembley Stadium, July 13, 1985, tank from the Live Aid DVD.


Sleeve by Mat Maitland at Big Active.

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