Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pop History Moment: Band Aid Recorded "Do They Know It's Christmas"

Now, under normal circumstances, I'm something of a hard-ass about displays of Christmas before my birthday*; having been raised by the Queen of Christmas herself, if I didn't put my foot down as a child, those few birthday parties I did have would have all been Santa-themed and awash in tinsel. But even I am capable of reason - a revelation which may come as something of a surprise to my regular readers - so I've decided to make an exception in this case, since this particular Christmas morsel is especially suitable for blogging... ~ MSM

On this day in 1984 the cream of Britain's music industry made their way to Midge Ure's home recording studio in London's Notting Hill at the behest of Bob Geldof to record a song called Do They Know It's Christmas? under the musical rubric of Band Aid. With just 24 hours in which to do it, Ure and Geldof (with Nigel Dick behind the camera) recorded (and recorded the making of) the biggest charity record in history prior to Elton John's rewriting of his own song to assuage the public grief over the death of Diana, Princess of Wales just under a bakers' dozen years later.

For me the most interesting thing about this video, at least in pop cultural terms, is how many of the faces (or images, anyway) shown here continue to exert their pull over British music - or at least the tabloid headlines - to this day. While Kool & The Gang and Jody Watley were the only Americans present, those British and Irish performers included Freddie Mercury, Phil Collins, Paul Young, Simon Le Bon, Bono, George Michael, Sting, Paul Weller, and a badly jet-lagged Boy George; among those whose careers haven't gone so well since the 80s ended are the members of Spandau Ballet, Keren Woodward of Bananarama, Heaven 17's Martyn Ware, and Boy George's protege Marilyn.

*November 28th...

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Daniel said...

haha, badly jet-lagged. I'm using that from here on.
And a belated Happy Birthday to you!

michael sean morris said...

[1] Apparently, Culture Club were on tour in America when the recording was scheduled. George and Jon Moss flew 18 hours each way (including a stint on the Concorde) to come to London for just two days to make their contribution to music history; when the time came, George had to all but be carried into the studio! It wouldn't surprise me, given the company he's keeping here, if either his cocaine use or even abuse didn't start right here as well. Macca and Bowie, on the other hand, recorded a few tracks and sent the tapes to be mixed by Trevor Horn.

[2] I think you can still get away with it by calling yourself lager-lagged, mate!

[3] And thanks for picking up on the hint about my birthday!