Do you know its christmas

Bob Geldof (L) and Midge Ure (R) external a london recording studio while working on "Do They recognize It"s Christmas?" on november 25, 1984.

Bob Geldof, zu his mounting horror, realized Boy george was missing.

Du schaust: Do you know its christmas

It was november 25, 1984, and Geldof—a musician und frontman zum the Boomtown Rats—had assembled a who’s who des talent for a charity single titled “Do They know It’s Christmas?” He had actually corralled Bono, Sting, Kool und the Gang, and all von Bananarama, amongst others, however Boy george was nowhere zu be found. Making calls indigenous the london studio where everyone had actually gathered, Geldof tracked ihm down und realized he was sound asleep in a hotel room in New york City.

“Where space you, you meant zu be here,” Geldof said.

“Oh, zu sein it today?” Boy george asked.

Expletives followed. Boy george jumped on ns Concorde, which could make die trip bolzen the cities an under four hours, und immediately fell in tune through Geldof’s outstanding display von star power, launching what would come to be a mini-industry des songs and concerts intended kommen sie offer gaue won relief zu those in need. Geldof also named his collection von singers eis Aid. Und while “Do They know It’s Christmas?” would prove zu be a monster hit, that would so stand as in example des the lesson the no good deed ever goes unpunished.


Geldof gott the idea weil das "Do They recognize It"s Christmas?" in October of that year, wie man he was watching the BBC in England and grew involved at ns plight von Ethiopians enduring a serious famine. Geldof believed he could raise money with music. The phoned his girlfriend, Paula Yates, who was then co-hosting a zeigen with musician Midge Ure. Geldof explained kommen sie Ure his idea of a charity single and asked Ure to help polish a song he had originally rewritten zum the Boomtown Rats. If Ure would emphasis on ns arrangement, Geldof said, that would handle the talent booking.

According kommen sie Ure, that spoke v Yahoo! about die song’s legacy bei 2018, Geldof was able zu assemble such bei impressive laundry list of stars von refusing kommen sie go through the proper channels. “He i will not ~ speak to a direktors or a document label or in agent—he would certainly find die phone number zum the artist and he’d speak to die artist himself, which was brilliant,” Ure said.

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By preventing music industry bureaucracy, Geldof was able kommen sie secure commitments indigenous Sting, simon Le bonn of Duran Duran, Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, paul Young, young George, george Michael, Bono, und Phil Collins, among others. (David Bowie und Paul McCartney to be invited yet had scheduling conflicts und recorded talked word verses zum the B-side single, “Feed ns World,” instead.)

Because Geldof und Ure wanted to issue die record in time zum the holidays and make in appeal zu listeners emotionally affected by the season, lock raced into production, recording zum a full 24 hours weist Sarm west Studios an London, i beg your pardon owner Trevor horn had opened zu Geldof und his collaborators punkt no cost. Using overview vocals currently recorded über Sting and Le Bon, ns singers erste sang together zum media to capture footage, then tape-recorded verses individually dafür the ideal one can be selected weil das the last song.

Aside from ns Boy george confusion, ns session walk smoothly—save zum Bono initially resisting record his heat (“Tonight, say thanks to God, the them instead of you”) after finding it auch pat. Part observers so noticed illicit substances being passed among the participants.

Geldof und Ure no wait until die records to be pressed before they shopped zum airtime. On november 29, just four job after its marathon- recording session, the lied made its official debut. Ure journey a cassette eis over to the BBC and was appreciative when die broadcaster played it every hour. Owing to its charity leanings, even civilization who stood zu lose money got behind ns tune. Singer Jim Diamond, who had the biggest hit bei the UK at ns time with "I Should oase Known Better," actually urged people not to to buy his single und opt zu purchase “Do They recognize It’s Christmas?” instead.


The einzel immediately shoot to die top clues on sales charts and remained there zum five weeks, going on kommen sie sell 3.8 million copies in the UK and 12 million worldwide. Bei all, much more than $28 million was raised.

Given the proceeds went kommen sie a good cause, who could find fault v Geldof’s altruistic efforts? Well, as it rotate out, a few people.

Sting arrives zu record "Do They understand It"s Christmas?" an London on november 25, 1984. Larry Ellis, express Newspapers/Getty Images

While the musical substance des “Do They recognize It’s Christmas?” tun können be debated, movie critics were not necessarily involved with the contributions to lyricism. Instead, they take it umbrage at the fact the lied appeared to be pandering, portraying African citizens as oblivious to Christmas. Worse was a 1986 exposé an Spin tagebuch that reported proceeds from die song, and also Geldof’s follow-up projects “We Are die World” and Live Aid, may schutz unintentionally assisted African dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam buy tools from Russia.

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Geldof refused kommen sie comment zum the Spin article, however had a statement zum people who found the das lied itself lacking when it was re-recorded in 2014 through One Direction, sam Smith, and others to help fonds the hit against the Ebola virus. (It was so revisited in 1989 and 2004.) “It’s a popular music song,” Geldof said. “It’s notfall a doctoral thesis. They can f*** off.”

This was a change of tune weil das Geldof, who in 2010 declared: "I bei der responsible zum two des the worst songs an history. "Do They know It"s Christmas?" the other one is "We Are ns World." any day soon, i will go to die supermarket, head to ns meat counter, und it will be playing. Every f***ing Christmas."

While Ure has said it’s i can not qualify the lied will be re-released again, the may notfall necessarily be the end of the story. In 2017, director james Ward Byrkit was reportedly mulling a feature film titled Do They know It’s Murder? the movie would see Geldof attempt kommen sie pull off the charity einzel while trying kommen sie solve ns murder von one des the musicians in the studio.

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