Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid 30

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Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid 30

Single Track from Various Artists - Release Year: 2014

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Review of "Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid 30"

published 22/12/2014 | DodoRabbit
Member since : 24/05/2014
Reviews : 48
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About me :
I'm an infrequent poster but an overly frequent rater- if you've missed one of my reviews please give it a rate, particularly my latest. It's great to be back and ORANGE! :)
Pro Incredible vocalists, As good a cause as any, A Christmas classic to come
Cons Lyrics may sound patronising, Some artists not getting as many lines...
Quality of Lyrics/Music
How does it compare to the artist's other releases?

"Cure the World! Let them know someone's fighting for them..."

Here is a picture of everyone involved in the chorus. Other artists couldn't stay the whole day or arrived late so they are not in the shot

Here is a picture of everyone involved in the chorus. Other artists couldn't stay the whole day or arrived late so they are not in the shot

Apologies for the length of what is only a single review. This single wasn't just a release but a topical debate and covered intensively by the press and I thought to give you, readers, all the information you need know :)

I like Christmas music, it can really get you into the spirit of all the festivities. I've bought a 'Now that's What I Call Christmas' album a couple of years back but it's been lost amongst various decorations and has yet to be found. I really like putting on a Christmas playlist behind the Christmas tree to add to the magic of the season. I was compiling another CD review when I though "I must get another one as Christmas is fast approaching". I then was reading through some chart news when I saw who was due to start in the new 'band aid' single which I completely forgot was celebrating its pearl (30 year) anniversary this year... the line up was exiting and so was the fact that Christmas is coming!

Band Aid- The Concept

It's been 30 years since the original release of the original Band-Aid single-'Do They Know It's Christmas?'. Originally released in 1984, the song featured huge artists of the time such as Phil Collins, George Michael and Sting. It originally set out to raise money for the Ethiopian famine back in the day': hence the lyric 'feed the world' and raised over £8 million pounds from the single alone, with VAT in place, which helped a lot in African countries experiencing famine and the single is amongst the biggest selling in the UK with over 3.75 million copies sold, 2nd only behind Candle in the Wind. The Live aid campaign in that year that raised over $150 million (around £95 million in today's money) which at the time would have been worth more than it is today because of inflation.

Band Aid II was released in 1989, all the lyrics being the same which is strange with some of the same people only this time included some other acts such as Kylie Minogue, Cliff Richard and Jason Donovan. This copy went on to sell around 500,000 copies which is the least of any of the band aid singles but it still raised money and awareness for the cause so people could have donated to Oxfam knowing that their favourite singers were backing such a cause.

Band Aid 20 believe it or not was released 20 years after the original song, in 2004. This time the song featured artists such as Busted, Snow Patrol and Robbie Williams and numerous other artists that I could spend ages listing but this review is not about band aid 20. The single has sold over 1.18 million copies so far in the UK and, like the other songs, raised money for the famine efforts- this time for Sudan.

In total (before the band aid 30 release) Band Aid singles have sales figures of over 5.43 million and I would be surprise if it had raised over £250 million pounds even if not all of that goes directly to the band aid charity. I'm sure that people singing about a cause will make people go to charity shops and support the people suffering of famine...

30 years on, what's the cause?

The cause Band Aid 30 is fighting for is Ebola. Although Ebola may not be the most common disease in Low Income Countries in Africa, it is rapidly spreading. One touch can make you have the disease and as of yet there is no cure, worrying many people. It spread rapidly in West Africa due to lack of a free health service so people were catching it, not being diagnosed until symptoms appear which means it's too late.'''Ebola has claimed over 10,000 lives and rapidly increasing''' I won't go into the details of Ebola, it's a rather depressing matter but you can find all the information here from the World Health Organisation:

When speaking about the cause on the X factor Sir Bob Geldof was inspirational as always; This is hardcore, to allow x-factor nation to watch this with all the artists yesterday. Of course it's a bit of pop history but it's an enormous production and the reason they came yesterday, the reason Simon wants you to see this is because this thing could arrive here on a plane any time; that means that instead of watching African mothers not able to touch their babies when they're dying, when you don't allow lovers to comfort each other, when husbands and wives can't touch each other in their last moments. This is the most anti-human disease.We can stop it and we will stop it. We will support those immensely brave thousand NHS workers, those young doctors and nurses who are going down there, those young soldiers who volunteered, those young boys and girls going down and the government who are leading the world in this and yesterday when I spoke to the chancellor George Osborne said "Take all the tax on this", iTunes are giving us 100%. At 8AM tomorrow morning all of you; this isn't about me, it's not about you, it's not about them; for the first time this is about us, it could be here, it could be in Britain. Buy this thing don't get it free. Buy 5, buy 10.... 8am tomorrow-X-factor nation we go to war. We're going to stop this thing. Buy this song
Who is Band Aid 30 years later

Band Aid 30 includes some of the most-loved artists currently in business and selling millions as well as a few familiar faces from the past. I've taken the liberty of listing all the artists, in appearance order with a little bit about them so you can get to know those artists who gave up their time to support a cause as good as this one:

* One Direction is one of the most successful boy-bands ever to grace the music industry. Since coming 3rd on the X-Factor in 2010 they have accumulated over 94 number ones covering the majority of the globe. Undoubtedly the most successful act to come from the X-factor and one of the most popular acts in the world.

* Ed Sheeran is the man of the year. He scored the fastest and biggest selling album of 2014 which contained 2 number ones and unmountable more to come. He's sold over 3 million albums in the UK alone.

* Rita Ora broke 'records' (oooh the irony burns) with her début album 'Ora' as she gained 3 consecutive No.1 singles from that album. She is also one of the few female Brits to have gained 4 number one singles to her name and she's still only released one album!

* Sam Smith won the prestige critics choice award and is the name on everyone's lips, picking up 6 Grammy nominations, breaking America at, what is only, the beginning of his career.

* Paloma Faith is a name that is increasingly appearing on more people's radars. She's had her fast number one single with 'changing' earlier this year and her most recent album 'A perfect contradiction' was her fastest selling to date!

* Emeli Sande won the critics choice back in 2012 and has gone onto to many great things, with her début album 'Our Version of Events' selling over 2.1 million copies in the UK alone breaking the beetle's chart record with her début album staying in the top 10 for over 63 weeks, deservedly.

* Elbow's Guy Garvey' provides stunning vocals to the single. They've had a career spanning over 22 years, unchanged, which [in 20 years time] I doubt we'll see many bands in their position.

* Bastille won British breakthrough at the 2014 Brit awards. With vocals provided by Dan Smith who does most of the writing entirely himself some of which are inspired by horrific true stories.

* Angelique Kidjo is a grammy award winning songstress with 12 albums to her name. The Guardian listed her as one of the 100 most influential women of 2011 and Forbes ranked her as No.1 on their most powerful celebrities of Africa.

* Chris Martin is best known for being the front man of one of the UK's most successful bands, 'Cold Play'. 6 albums , 80 million records sold and 14 years later; their most recent album "Ghost Stories" sold over 168,000 in its first week proving Coldplay have still got it in them to be one of the UKs legendary acts to keep going in every decade, I can feel it, they're incredible.

* Bono from U2 was obviously the talk of the 80s but he feels rather out of place on this song and his lines are the only I cringe on because he sings them in a cheesy american accent. Across their 13 studio albums and various compilation albums; U2 have gone on to sell over 150 million records world wide.

* Seal is one of the most recognised voices and faces from the 1990's. Currently judging on the voice Australia; Seal has 4 Grammys, 3 Brits and an MTV music award under his belt selling over 30 million records world wide!

* Ellie Goulding won the critics choice award back in 2010 and , with her distinctive voice, has gone on to sell over 4 million records and 15 million singles worldwide after only 2 albums, making her worthy to join some of the world's greatest on this song.

* Sinead O'Connor is known for being a famous from the late 80s with no hair (and is shaved) who's released 9 albums in her 27 year career span. She has breathing issues in this song which is nice to listen to but on the music video is annoying to say the least!

* Olly Murs found fame on the x-factor in 2009 and has since sold around 2 million albums in the UK and has managed to make big bucks in the US. He's a very popular man with nearly 6 million twitter followers, perfect to get the song spreading viral!
The Chorus includes:
  • Jessie Ware is an uprising female solo artist with stunning vocals and an ability to write incredible songs. Whilst she does not have a solo in this song, seeing her name involved and having to research for this review has made me into a bit of a fan.
  • Underworld are a British electronic group that helped produce the song, but with 30 people so in a chorus you don't need to be a good singer! All the Band Aid choruses sound the same!
  • Clean Bandit are unique in that they produce dance music but with an underlining classical feel with the use of the violin. I like their music, it can be repetitive, but they released one of the biggest selling songs of the year 'Rather Be' which sold over a million so who else would be better to join the recording in 2014 than one of the biggest selling acts of 2014?!
  • Zoe Suggs is a 'YouTuber' 'Zoella' with over 2.5 million subscribes. Her 1st published work 'girl on-line' went on to sell over 78,000 copies in its first week of release breaking the world record for the fastest selling book of all time.
  • Alfie Deyes is also a YouTuber with over 3 million subscribers. Yes they're not singers but who else can get a video trending to gain more sales than those that millions already follow?

Producer and Organisers included:
  • Bob Geldof who was formally a part of the 'Boomtown Rats' but is mostly famous for his charity work with Band Aid and for having this warming voice whenever he speaks which is probably why people listen to him when he asks you to buy something!
  • Midge Ure was also involved in the production of the previous band aid singles. He and Bob worked together to secure this year's line up and what a great job they did!
  • Paul Epsworth is famous for producing records for the likes of One Direction and Adele. The production was good for what they could actually do with the song but it's a bit like repainting a small room, it's still a small room no matter how much you jazz it up.

Providing instrumentals on the track were
  • Roger Taylor from Queen. I didn't actually know this until I checked Wikipedia so I would have liked to see him in the music video. Obviously Queen are one of the greatest bands of all time and Roger Taylor still carries the legacy with him to this day, incredible!
  • Grace and Milan from Clean bandit provided Cello and Violin inputs on the track as well as singing in the chorus, sticking to what they know and that's what the track is all about. Giving the public what they love to raise money for a good cause.

I like how they've updated the song and lyrics. It's not that much of a difference and I cannot compliment how 'amazing' the production was but it was thrown together in 36 hours with the video so a level of respect has to be dished out to those who worked so hard editing the song and the video but there's nothing new to comment on.I would have liked to see the following in the line-up:
  • Labrinth (A unique rough tone)
  • Ella Henderson (Incredible tone and range)
  • Ella Eyre (A voice like gold ore-rough but strong and pure)
  • Adele (Would help to raise more money with over 6.1 million albums sold in the UK alone)
  • Laura Mvula (A voice so angelic and almost gospel)
  • Tinie Tempah or Professor Green (someone to bring some heart-felt rap with aggression into the song so we can feel the pain of the situation)

Artwork was provided by Kentish-born Tracy Emin who has also designed this year's Brit award. It's rather simple but effective and not as dark as previous covers have been.
The Lyrics

All the singers sang their lines pretty well, although I would say Bono hasn't moved on from the 1980s and still is singing in some cheesy american accent with the 'kerching' arm movement. Also One Direction tried to sound like they meant it and making it look like they have the voice but their vocals were lacking anything special and were boring to be honest. An act like Labrinth, Ella Henderson or even Ella Eyre would have been better to start the song off, it needed some omph and it was lacking amongst these 5. Yes I know the song has to sell but they're the least talented bunch in the line-up. The lyrics are listed below (*denotes a lyric change from the original):

[ One Direction ]
It's Christmas time there's no need to be afraid
[ Ed Sheeran ]
At Christmas time we let in light and we banish shade
[ Rita Ora ]
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
[ Sam Smith ]
Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time
[ Paloma Faith ]
But say a prayer and pray for the other ones
[ Emeli Sandé ]
At Christmas time its hard but while you're having fun
[ Elbow ]
There's a world outside your window and it's a world of dread and fear
[ Dan Smith ]
Where a kiss of love can kill you
[ Angelique Kidjo ]
And there's death in every tear
[ Chris Martin ]
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
[ Bono ]
Well tonight we're reaching out and touching you
[ Seal ]
Bring peace and joy this Christmas to West Africa
[ Ellie Goulding ]
A song of hope where there's no hope tonight (ooh)
[ Sinead O'Connor ]
Why is comfort to be feared, why is to touch to be scared
[ Bono ]
How can they know it's Christmas time at all
[ One Direction ]
Here's to you
[ Olly Murs ]
Raise a glass to everyone
[ Bastille ]
Here's to them
[ Sam Smith ]
And all their years to come
[ Rita Ora ]
Can they know it's Christmas time at all
[ Chorus - all singers ]
Feed the world let them know it's Christmas time again
Feel the world let them know it's Christmas time again
Heal the world let them know it's Christmas time again
Feed the world let them know it's Christmas time again
Feel the world let them know it's Christmas time again
Heal the world let them know it's Christmas time again
Feed the world let them know it's Christmas time again
Feel the world let them know it's Christmas time again

The writers of the new lyrics were Midge Ure and Bob Geldof, the same as on the original record but were tweaked to fit into the current Ebola crisis more which I totally agree with. The previous line "There won't be snow in Africa this Christmas" annoyed me because we rarely get snow and Africa is along the equator so of course they won't get snow. I understand the metaphor but I think they would have chosen something a little better and they did, thank god for that!

The Music Video

The music video is no different in originality to that of its predecessors only the beginning is distressing and tackles why the song was made. Geldof, when speaking to the people watching x-factor (who gain 1st airplay of the song) said this:
"It's a great track, it doesn't have to be but wait until you see this and finally: first we talked, Simon and I about this. We wanted to show you the context in which this was done this yesterday, why the artists came. It's harrowing. It's not meant for an entertainment show. We thought you needed to see it. If you're going to be sensitive about it look away for 6 seconds but this is why we did this immense track"

After the distressing part of a person in overalls carried an ebola victim into a room it cuts to the celebrities entering Sam studios in London to record the track with all the press there. This is rather controversial as shows people suffering alone with no help when singers surrounded by the press getting so much attention. It's almost oxymoronic and highlights economical injustice around the world. Then, like all the previous 3 music videos, it transits into them recording their lines before the chorus at the end. It's not original but everything was cut and made in 36 hours and they couldn't have a big budget given that it is for charity.

Other Versions

Band Aid 30 has inspired other countries to participate in raising money for the Ebola Crisis:
  • The French version entitled "Noël est là" which translates as "Christmas is here" phrases the UK version a little better. It talks about 'in spite of all that Christmas is here' which brings more hope to the situation although sometimes we need a wake-up call. It was released on December 1st but only reached number 58 in the French charts. Proving that, really, in terms of being charitable the UK is on top! The song features vocals from Johnny Depp's ex-wife Vanessa Paradis but could have had more famous people such as Mika which may have given them more sales
  • The German version was rather un-originally titled but also reached number one in the German charts. It doesn't feature any artists I would recognise, hence the version hasn't taken off in the UK. Artists like Campino, Gentleman and Patrice participated, not that those names mean anything to me.
The Band Aid 30 Challenge

On December the 11th Bob Geldof and Midge Ure unveiled the Band Aid 30 challenge which works in a similar way to he ice bucket challenge. However it is the most boring 'challenge' I've ever seen and it is obvious it was invented by middle age men who have no idea of what fun is and how to get it spread. The reason why the 'ALS Ice Bucket Challenge' worked and raised so much money is because it was funny to watch and fun to do and 'The Cancer research no make-up selfie' worked because it was raw and honest but this is just boring and won't catch on.

The Band Aid 30 challenge is to sing Bono's line of "Tonight we're reaching out and touching you" and donate £10 to Band Aid then you can nominate others to do the same. So far Damian Lewis and Richard E Grant have done the challenge along with Sir Bob and Midge. It's good, this time, that you donate AS-WELL so that more money can be raised but I'm afraid it just won't catch on. It's funny because it sounds quite wrong hearing some of your favourite celebrities singing 'I'm touching you' but it's wrong and isn't challenging which defeats the entire object of having a challenge

If you don't complete the challenge in 24 hours you have to pay a forfeit of £100 but unless you are a celebrity you can't afford paying that and it's not as if you will get a letter through the door from .

This wasn't the only way Bob Geldof thought of getting promotion for the single. A fantastic idea was They projected the video onto the houses of parliament to get the millions of London visitors buying the single on the physical release day. Although it didn't reach number 1 that week it did significantly climb the charts. That same day Geldof visited ASDA in Manchester to buy 5 singles and to try and get more people to buy the single, fair enough as it is for charity after all!

Despite the good cause behind the song it received a lot of controversy from many people. Certain celebrities refused to participate including Fuse ODG, Lily Allen and Adele. Fuse ODG criticed the line 'No peace and Joy this Christmas in West Africa', saying "For the past four years I have gone to Ghana at Christmas for the sole purpose of peace and joy. So for me to sing these lyrics would simply be a lie". However they were later changed to when he got the lyrics to "Bring peace and Joy this christmas". He was up for the cause but didn't support his 'roots' being discredited and I suppose I will have to agree because for people that have so little they are actually happier than us!

Lilly Allen, who previous accused Sir Bob of being a “sanctimonious prat” also refused to be apart of the single saying there was something all too smug about it and would rather donate actual money. If I'm honest she wouldn't have made much of a difference but donating time and money will raise a lot more than just giving money. I think she should have just donated money to Band Aid 30 and pretend she was never asked instead of the press spending money on getting articles published, that's money wasted that could help sanitation for those living in West Africa and not know they have Ebola.

Adele is probably the most famous person to refuse. Apparently she didn't answer any of her phone calls when approached to do the song. I understand she is spending time with family now but a rare cameo wouldn't have killed her. Her manager said she will be donating instead. Someone like her (excuse the pun) could have tripled sales figures and made the track go world wide raising millions more than she will actually donate so not participating hasn't killed her but it may affect those dying in West Africa.

A singer that I admire 'Emeli Sande' afterwards said that "A whole new Band Aid single is needed". She and Angelique Kidjo had written new lyrics but none of them made the final cut. They should have really made a new one. Emeli Sande is an incredible songwriter and so is Angelique and what's more they both have roots from Africa so the song would have been honest but not patronising. I think in the future they will have to write a new song because repeating the same old tired lyrics can't last much longer!
In Conclusion...
Whether or not you're a fan of this song I would certainly recommend that you buy it as it helps those suffering from Ebola and those giving up their time trying to help them including the 1,000 NHS workers who left their homes to go and help those dying in West Africa of the Ebola Crisis. It's not the most original song ever written but they've changed the lyrics to be more befitting of the modern crises in West Africa. Although 10,000 is nothing compared to those dying of malaria but this disease needs more medical attention to stop it spreading at a rapid rate. The talent on the record is incredible and it's at times like this that is heart-warming seeing a bunch of talent sing for an worthy cause, a cause worrying everyone. Songs often help people through times of trouble and I hope it helps them, despite how pessimistic the lyrics are.

You Donate by....

  • Buy the single from iTunes: It's only 99p for your membership to the human race!
  • Donate via the website: which offers for the charity to receive 1/4 bonus of the money if you pay income tax
  • Buy it from your local supermarket Sir Bob went to ASDA to buy the single on the first available day so they stock the CD version for £4 and at HMV, where I bought mine, it was £3.99. The CD comes with all 4 band aid versions, perfect for Christmas!
  • Text Aid to 70123 to donate £3 or 70060 to donate £5 or 70707 to donate £10
  • Buy the CD single on the website:
  • Get the single from Amazon:
Those are the only ways that actually donate all profits/money raised to charity. Don't get it 2nd hand from eBay or illegally download it to save money. Make a difference to the lives of the dying and helpless they need it. 99p isn't going to kill you but it could kill them

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Comments on this review

  • justarube published 26/07/2016
  • mumsymary published 18/07/2016
    great review
  • shellyjaneo published 26/07/2015
    Great review x
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Product Information : Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid 30

Manufacturer's product description

Single Track from Various Artists - Release Year: 2014

Product Details

Artist(s): Various Artists

Release Year: 2014

Sub Genre: Brit Pop

EAN: 0602547148421


Listed on Ciao since: 16/11/2014