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Do They Know It's Christmas?
Band Aid 20
Creating another version for the second biggest selling single in UK pop history was always going to be a challenge, but the stars of today gathered at Sir George Martin's Air Studios on 14th November 2004 to play their part in producing a 21st
Band Aid 20
Song facts
Composer Midge Ure & Bob Geldof
Genre Pop
Album n/a
Year of Release 2004
Chart position 1
Century Christmas classic. Like the original 1984 release, it was Sir Bob Geldof who gathered the stars together and persuaded the current crop of musical talent to lend their support. Sir Bob viewed this release as "firing the starting pistol" to raise money for famine relief in the Dafur region of Sudan.

Despite Sir Bob's legendary status, some of today's young stars were a little confused about who was organising the event. Soul sensation Joss Stone mistakenly called Geldof "Gandalf"! She can be a little forgiven however, as she wasn't even born when the original song came out.

U2 frontman Bono was the only artist to perform on the new version and the original, reproducing his line "Well, tonight thank God it's them instead of you". Bono dismisses his 1984 efforts, claiming that he "really, really loathed" his interpretation.

It was Geldof who originally suggested to Midge Ure that they do something to help the Ethiopian famine, where over 3,000 people were dying of starvation each day. The pair met to discuss a charity record and Bob brought to the session a unused Boomtown Rats tune, It's My World. Midge worked on a piano part that Geldof described as sounding "like Z Cars done on a Stylophone". The cream of mid-80s pop responded to Bob's powers of persuasion, and joined him in a unique recording session.

Today, Bob looks back on the release with pride: "I feel absolutely proud, not because it's a profound song at all, but because I've contributed something to popular culture which has really embedded itself into the nation's consciousness".

Radio 2 marks the 20th anniversary of Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas with a one hour special

Listen to Bob Geldof on Do They Know It's Christmas
Bob Geldof
In the first part of this clip, you can hear Bob Geldof and Midge Ure reveal how they came to create the original version of Do They Know It's Christmas? In the second part, Bob Geldof talks about how he feels about recording a new version of the song after all these years.

Other versions
Do They Know It's Christmas cover
 Listen to the original 1984 version, which still makes around £100,000 a year from sales and repeat plays for The Band Aid Trust.

I will never forget the video of this on Top Of The Pops - it brings back so many memories of Christmas 1984

Sally Fisher

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