Back in December 1984 MTV made a big deal about a song put together by a number of musicians in Europe. The song featured artists such as Paul Young, Simon LeBon from Duran Duran, Boy George from Culture Club, George Michael from Wham!, Bono from U2 and Sting from The Police. Many other popular artists including Paul Weller from The Jam and The Style Council and Phil Collins from Genesis (plus he was king among solo artists at that time) appeared on this single that was written by Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats and Midge Ure of Ultravox.
Geldof saw a BBC program in October 1984 about the famine crisis that was going on in Ethiopia during this time period. Inspired by the program Bob Geldof contacted Midge Ure and the two co-wrote the song “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” Geldof was able to recruit a number of popular British and Irish artists for the project. The song was recorded November 25, 1984 at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London and was released four days later.
I saw that video on MTV December of that year and immediately fell in love with the song. 28 years later the song is still one of my top five Christmas songs, a staple at this time of the year. “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” has a great pop hook, a great vocal ensemble (including several vocalists that I was not a fan of but their performances on this song were outstanding), necessary holiday sounds such as bells and most of all, a great cause. The success of the single helped lay the foundation for 1985’s Live Aid concert on July 13 of that year.
Hey, I know some of you reading this will think this pick is rubbish. Too bad, I love the song. I also included one video each from The Boomtown Rats and Ultravox in honor of the song’s composers.