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


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1985 Single Extras:

Full Track Listing:

  • Do They Know it’s Christmas (Single Version) – Band Aid
  • Feed the World (Studio Version) – Band Aid
  • Do They Know it’s Christmas (12-Inch Mix) – Band Aid

Background Information

It was November 25th, 1984 when a group of artists concerned about the famine in Ethiopia joined together to form the Band Aid project. Unable to take part, producer Trevor Horn gave his Sarm West Studios in London for the recording of this song, and the song was recorded over 24 hours in that studio. Horn would later help out with the production of the song, and also doing a remix for release on the 12” version. Bono and Adam Clayton were both part of the group of musicians that made up Band Aid, and both feature on the recording of this song. The single would be released only a few days later on radio and would go on to be a number one single throughout Europe that Christmas. All proceeds from the song were promised to charity and Geldof had a stand off with the British government over the collection of the VAT tax on the single. Eventually the goverment agreed that even the tax made from the purchase of the single would be donated.

As the single states, “this record features the cream of pop music talent” and included both Bono and Adam Clayton along with the following: Phil Collins; Bob Geldof, Simon Crowe, Peter Briquette, Johnny Fingers (Boomtown Rats); Steve Norman, Tony Hadley, Martin Kemp, John Keeble, Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet); Midge Ure, Chriss Cross (Ultravox); Paul Young; John Taylor, Simon Le Bon, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran); Glenn Gregory, Martin Ware (Heaven 17); Marilyn; Jody Watley; Keren, Sarah, Siobhan (Bananarama); Paul Weller; Peter Blake; James Taylor; Robert Bell, Dennis Thomas (Kool and the Gang); George Michael (Wham); Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt (Status Quo); David Bowie; Paul McCartney; Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood); Sting; Jon Moss, Boy George (Culture Club).

One song was recorded by the assembled musicians. This song was “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”. The b-side was the instrumental track of the main song, with wishes of holiday greetings from many of the participants, including Bono and was called “Feed the World”. A remix of the track by Trevor Horn appeared on the 12” single. One year after the initial release, the single was re-released on 7” in many regions, and on this version “Feed the World” had been replaced by “One Year Later (Feed the World)” which was a written piece by Geldof and Ure discussing the situation in Africa. In France, the piece was translated and played over top of the single version of the song. In 1985 the three main tracks were collected on “Band Aid Special” a Japan only CD Release, which marked the first time many of these tracks appeared on CD. In 1992, a 3” CD single was released by Mercury in Japan, the first time the single had appeared in CD format.

A video was put together using clips of the musicians singing their lines in studio intermixed with footage of the artists arriving outside the studio. A performance of the song was also put together for the Top of the Pops TV program, featuring the artists miming their lines. Bono was unavailable for that appearance, and the video from “Top of the Pops” features someone else singing the lines that are clearly Bono’s. The “Live Aid” concert of July 13, 1985, saw this song performed live on stage with many of the original artists present. Bono joined the others on stage, and once again sang his usual line. That live performance of the song was released on the “Live Aid” DVD set released 20 years later, as well as the 20th anniversary single “Do They Know It’s Christmas 20”. Finally, a making of video of the original recording was released on VHS by Polygram video. It featured the official video, as well as footage from the 24 hour recording sessions. You can see Bono recording his sections of the song in this video release.

A 20th anniversary recording of the song was done in 2004. Bono and Paul McCartney were the only two artists involved from the original recording that participated on the 20th anniversary recording. Bono was the only person who sings vocals on both recordings, and in both cases he sings the same line. The re-recording was released on CD single in 2004.

Liner Notes

Do They Know it’s Christmas? (Single Version):
Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. Produced by Midge Ure and Trevor Horn. Engineered by Steve Lipsom.

Do They Know it’s Christmas? (12” Mix):
Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. Remixed by Trevor Horn. Produced by Midge Ure and Trevor Horn. Engineered by Steve Lipsom.

Feed the World:
Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. Produced by Midge Ure and Trevor Horn. Engineered by Steve Lipsom.

One Year On (Feed the World):
Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. Produced and Mixed by Midge Ure and Alvin Jeff Clark.


Cover by Peter Blake.

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