"Do They Know it's Christmas?" - Band Aid 30


U2 Related Tracks:

Full Track Listing:

  • Do They Know it’s Christmas? (2014 Version) – Band Aid 30
  • Do They Know it’s Christmas? (Single Version) – Band Aid 20
  • Do They Know it’s Christmas? (1989 Version) – Band Aid II
  • Do They Know it’s Christmas? (Single Version) – Band Aid
  • Do They Know it’s Christmas? (Deutsche Version) – Band Aid 30 German
  • Noël est là (Christmas is Here) – Band Aid 30 French

Background Information

In 2014, worried about the growing Ebola crisis in Africa, Bob Geldof organized a new recording of the classic “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” which he had originally worked on to address the famine crisis in Africa. Geldof stated that he was asked by the UN to record this 30th anniversary version of the song. Instead of a straight re-recording of the song as was done for the 20th anniversary, this version of the song has a number of lines re-written to address the Ebola epidemic. Not only was an English version recorded, but a French and German version was also recorded but with different artists, and not including Bono.

Bono was back for the recording of this song, his third time participating in a Band-Aid project, having been there for the initial recording of the song in 1984, and again in 2004 for the twentieth anniversary recording. His line that he sang in both earlier recordings “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” is one of the lines that has been re-written for this performance and now is “Well tonight we’re reaching out and touching you.”

The new version of the single was recorded at Sarm Studios in Notting Hill, London, which was the same studio used to record the original track. Other artists joining Geldof and Bono in the studio are Chris Martin from Coldplay, Seal, Sinead O’Connor, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Dan Smith from Bastille, Paloma Faith, Guy Garvey from Elbow, Rita Ora, Olly Murs, Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith, Angelique Kidjo, Emile Sande, and Jessie Ware. Roger Taylor from Queen also participated on drums and keyboards. The song was produced by Paul Epworth.

The song debuted as a video during X-Factor in the UK on November 16th, 2014, just a day after the song was recorded. The video was introduced with shots of victims of Ebola in Africa, before the song started and the video switched to film from the recording sessions. The download of the song was made available the next morning on iTunes and other digital services. That week the song reached number one on the UK charts. The BBC confirmed that the single was the fasting selling single of the year so far on November 18th.

Originally it was announced that there would be remixes of the track available on a commercial CD including remixes by Underworld and Disclosure, but these remixes never appeared. One remix by High Contrast (05:10), was debuted on YouTube on December 18, 2014. This remix did not make use of any of Bono’s recorded lines.

The physical release on CD came on December 8, 2014, and it came in a variety of configurations around the world. In most regions, the commercial single contained four tracks, the new version, the 2004 version recorded for the 20th anniversary, the 1989 version (no participation by U2) and the original 1984 version of the song. In Germany a five track version was offered instead including the newly recorded German version of the song. There was also a two track version in Germany, containing just the newly recorded version and the German version.

Bono being interviewed about the project stated “there’s no us and them, it’s we, there’s no them, there’s only us.” This was just a few months before U2 would release “Invisible” with those same lyrics.

Liner Notes

Produced by Paul Epworth.

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