Band Aid was a multi-member supergroup set up in 1984 by Bob Geldof in order to make a record to raise money for anti-famine efforts in Ethiopia. Geldof was moved by a BBC News report on famine conditions in the country and contacted Midge Ure in order to write a song to be performed by leading UK and Irish pop artists of the time. The recording of 'Do They Know It's Christmas' took place in one day on Sunday 25 November 1984 and the single was released four days later, going straight to no.1 in the UK the following week. The Band Aid project spawned the global Live Aid event in July, 1985 as well as several similar projects such as Ferry Aid, USA For Africa, Band Aid II, Band Aid 20 and Band Aid 30. (Full details on Wikipedia)
Links to Peel
Although the focus for Band Aid participants was on contemporary pop artists (Geldof's one criterion for selection was how famous they were, in order to maximise sales of the record), several former Peel session artists took part in the recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas" including Geldof himself and other members of Boomtown Rats, Sting (Police), Paul Weller (formerly Jam, now Style Council), Martyn Ware (formerly Human League, now Heaven 17), Midge Ure (formerly Rich Kids, now Ultravox), Chris Cross (Ultravox), Phil Collins (Genesis), and Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi (Status Quo). The voices of David Bowie, Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and members of Big Country were recorded for the B side of the single as they were unable to take part in the studio recording. George Michael of Wham!, Boy George of Culture Club and Bono and Adam Clayton of U2, whose early records had been featured by Peel, also performed on the single.
Geldof promoted the project and the single prior to its release via shows hosted by Peel's colleagues Richard Skinner first and then Mike Read on BBC Radio One. Peel never played "Do They Know It's Christmas" or even the B-side at the time although was presenter on Top of the Pops when it was at no. 1 in the first week of 1985 and on the Christmas Day 1985 show. Also at the end of 1985, highlights of the 'Live Aid' concert started proceedings of the Janice Long and John Peel's New Year's Eve Party. It was belatedly featured on Only At Christmas in 1987, although this may have been ironically, given the programme's description.
- 31 December 1985: "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (Live Aid performance)
- Only At Christmas: 'Do They Know It's Christmas?'
Top Of The Pops
- 03 January 1985 (TOTP): "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (video)
- 25 December 1985 (TOTP): "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (video clip)
- The Making of Band Aid: Secrets and Stories From the Star-Studded Session - rollingstone.com (2014)