Bob Geldof’s creation of the Boomtown Rats and Midge Ure of Ultravox, “Band Aid” was formed in 1984 as a way to raise funds for Ethiopian famine relief efforts.
The supergroup consisted of some of the biggest names in British music at the time, such as Culture Club, George Michael, Paul Young, The Police, Paul Weller, Duran Duran and U2, as well as appearances on the spoken B-side. by Paul McCartney. and David Bowie – today is the 2sd bestseller in UK history (behind Elton John’s Candle in the wind) and would spawn other huge lucrative relief efforts such as the United States We are the world and the Live Aid concerts of 1985.
However, behind the scenes of this charity single, there are many interesting nuggets of little-known information. Here we’ll take a look behind the scenes on the most successful charity single in UK history.
Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes in programming
Band Aid’s first line for the historic single was performed by Paul Young although that was not the original plan.
This was written for David Bowie but he was unable to attend. He would perform lyrics from Live Aid’s 1985 Wembley segment and make an appearance on the B-side of the record. In his place, Young – best known for his No. 1 hit single from ‘Everywhere I put my hat ‘.
Although never written for the track, a significant absence from the track was Queen. They were effectively blackballed from the single for breaking a boycott of performances in South Africa; at the time, the nation was severely torn apart by apartheid. However, the group led by Freddie Mercury would be forgiven by Live Aid and would be one of the most memorable acts of the concert’s relief effort.
The majority of Band Aid performers on the single were band members. Marilyn, who had a hit in 1983 with ‘Call your name ‘ – a top 5 single in the UK.
The androgenic singer was not invited to the studio but nevertheless switched to the venue and got a role on the track, albeit not a lead role. Good friend of Boy George from Culture Club, Marilyn is today a largely forgotten musician of the time but still has her place on this record to put on her CV.
On board a Concorde
All of the voice recordings took place over a short 24 hour period, with one arriving much later than the others.
When he first telephoned Bob Geldof, Boy George was in New York City as part of his current tour of the United States. Geldof told George to come home immediately. George got out of bed and quickly boarded a Concorde and arrived at 6 p.m.
With the coarse voices of the tour, he was consuming a bottle of brandy. He would make the greatest possible effort to ensure that his voice was interpreted satisfactorily.
Bitter sting of tears
One of the song’s most ironic lines is sung by The Police’s Sting.
Geldof recalled that: “Sting was moaning, “Should I sing this? I said, “Yeah, because it’s just a coincidence that the word prick is in it.” If you listen to the song there is a deep bitterness in Sting’s voice. “Sting would say himself”There is a touch of irony there. When we had to hand out the lines to everyone it was no accident”- it generally seems that he was not happy with these words written for him.
Likewise, Bono was originally against the phrase “well, tonight thank goodness it’s them, instead of you.” Bono delayed the process by asking for a change of lyrics but Geldof insisted that it stay. Its controversy has led to them being modified over time.
Define the status quo
One of the group’s most memorable contributions behind the recording came from Status Quo.
In addition to being allegedly high, Status Quo had its biggest song contribution deleted when it was deemed inappropriate. This was replaced by the same part sung by Sting, Paul Weller and Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17.
Elsewhere, the group mischievously followed the members of the Spandau Ballet (who themselves reportedly had hangovers alongside Duran Duran) to the bathroom. They then locked the group in the stall, with the Ballet boys then having to knock on the door to escape.
Despite some of the incidents mentioned, like Geldof’s blasphemous phone call to Boy George and the Status Quo boys locked in Ballet, it was rather peaceful.
Still, there was some tension as the egos clashed, as apparently Boy George and Paul Weller were there to make fun of George Michael. In the book “I want my MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution“, Georges writes: “The musicians of England had taken to eating all year round, and everyone had kind of forgotten about it for the day.”
He adds “The only person who didn’t succumb to the charitable nature of the day was Paul Weller, who decided to go after me in front of everyone, to whom the Wham! The member replied “Don’t be aw ****** your whole life. Have a day off. ‘”
Initially, after its release, Geldof apparently championed the single which had been his goal for months before. It even included clashing with Thatcher’s Tory government over the VAT on sales of the single.
One of the first vocal detractors of the single was Morrissey who called the project “diabolical“As well as Geldof as”foul-smelling character», But this is still the lead singer of the Smiths, always controversial.
These days, even the Boomtown Rats frontman himself despises his own work, calling himself the 2 worst song of all time in the Band Aid and USA For Africa singles. Bob recalled “I’m responsible for two of the worst songs in history. [One is] ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ The other is “We are the world”. Soon I’ll go to the supermarket, head to the meat counter and it will play. Every fucking Christmas.. He also declared in the same way: “Every time I come to buy the fucking turkey, I hear [hums the song’s intro]. The butcher looks at me with a small smile and I say, ‘Yeah, yeah. Give me the fucking turkey, man.
No hard feelings though, right Bob?