Tag Archives: Band Aid 1984

Merry Christmas 2018!

I do not normally blog on Tuesdays but I wanted to send out a little message from us to all of you. (Yes, I am speaking for both Rhonda and myself. I think she would be okay with that.) On this holiday, we would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! We hope that people who celebrate are having a fabulous day with friends, family and loved ones. For those who do not, we still wish you all well. In the spirit of the holiday, we are rooting for peace on earth and goodwill towards all.

Of course, I figured it might be great to leave you all with some Duran related gifts to help you all enjoy the day. First, here is my favorite interview with Simon and John of all time where they made some Christmas pudding:

Then, here is a little clip to make you all laugh!

Finally, here is a clip of Band-Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas from Top of the Pops that is worth watching.

Have a great holiday, everyone!

-A & R

Throw Your Arms Around the World: Band-Aid, Duran Duran and Influences

I have been spending a lot of time with my eldest niece on this holiday weekend.  While she is from North Carolina, she chose to come to college in Wisconsin, near her grandparents and me.  (For the record, the kid loves snow, which amuses me to no end!)  All day yesterday she begged and pleaded to listen to Christmas music.  Normally, my parents would not have gone for that, believing it is way too early to start thinking about that holiday, but they indulged her request by listening to hours of Christmas music while we played games.

Of course, I could not let the opportunity go by to educate her on Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” which led to more discussion about Live Aid.  As the conversation continued, it reminded me of something I have heard John Taylor speak of before, which is how Live Aid divided the decade.  Before Band-Aid and Live Aid, artists were basically out there, having fun without worrying too much about the world’s problems.  Afterwards, it wasn’t cool not to care anymore as many artists who were more socially conscious began to find themselves in the spotlight more and more.  I have always agreed with John Taylor on this point and then moved on.  Now, though, based on the conversation with my niece and this idea, I wonder how much it not only changed the music world of the 80s but me.

Like many of you, I was a die-hard Duranie in 1984 and simply couldn’t get enough.  I lived, breathed and slept Duran Duran (as much as my parents would let me, anyway).  I remember Band-Aid coming out and how cool I thought the song was and found myself in love with the idea that it was to help people.  I was 9 at the time.  I thought it was so great, in fact, that I distinctly remember trying to tell kids at school about it during lunch time with little luck.  Even as I type that, I feel myself getting frustrated just as I did then.  Why didn’t they get it, I wondered.  Didn’t they see that it was super important to do something to help the starving people in Ethiopia?  I should have known right then that I was different.  Now, I understand that the kids at my lunch table weren’t jerks but they were kids with more fun things on their minds.

Now, Band-Aid and Live Aid didn’t immediately push me into action.  (Again, I was around the age of 10.)  Yet, I believe it stuck with me.  I saw this band I loved having fun in the 1980s and I witnessed them do something to help others.  What an awesome way to live, I thought!  I wanted to be just like them in really every respect I could think of, whether that was to be smart, articulate, well-dressed and more.  It also meant that I should try to have this combination of compassion and fun.

Looking at my life now, with Band-Aid and Live Aid more than 30 years ago, I think I do try to live my life that exact way.  I went into teaching, a service profession.  I spend my “free” time working on causes that I believe will help people.  That said, I still love to have fun.  Funny enough, that fun usually surrounds time on tour, seeing Duran Duran perform live.  I like to think that I apply what I learned from Duran Duran in 1984 and 1985.  Now, on that note, let’s watch a little Band-Aid ourselves to get us in the giving spirit of the season:

-A

Band Aid 30 – It’s Not Really Christmas Yet

So by now, I’m pretty certain the world knows Band Aid 30 recorded “Do They Know it’s Christmas” on Saturday. I heard rumblings of the recording over the weekend and decided to leave it until this morning before giving it a fair listen. As purely an aside, we have a radio station here in LA (KOST 103.5) that is already playing Christmas music.

It’s really not Christmas yet.

After listening this morning I can say this: the newest version
isn’t horrible. It shouldn’t be, because it had already been done once….twice…, ok three times prior. It is; however, incredibly subdued compared to the original. I suppose that was the intention given the reason for it’s being revisited. I can’t really argue with the reasoning behind the rerecording, except that if someone really wanted to help the cause, wouldn’t they have just written a new song? I think the cause – fundraising to help with the Ebola crisis in West Africa – is very important. Panicking at home, where ever “home” might be, is not going to help. Stopping the disease at it’s source is the right way. Donating to Doctors Without Borders, or to any number of the other agencies sending teams of healthcare workers to the area would be appropriate responses. Rehashing a song from the 80s with “current” artists, changing up a few lines as well as the rhythm and believing it’ll sell on hype alone seems a little disingenuous, to be honest, and certainly not because Duran Duran or many of the other artists were not asked or chose not to participate.

This is not a case of “sour grapes” (the idea is laughable) because my favorites or your favorites are not on the record. The cause is absolutely paramount; but if it is really all about Ebola, then why not give it it’s own song? Isn’t the cause worth the effort? No one, least of all me, is arguing that something shouldn’t be done. (Although I will argue the sentiments some have – that the song is all about stopping Ebola from coming specifically to Britain – is way off key.  The goal is to eradicate the disease, to stop it in it’s tracks, so that the entire world benefits.) I just tend to believe that the idea would have had much better traction had it not felt like an afterthought based on an idea that didn’t really work all THAT well before. Yes, the record sold millions; yes, the artists involved became even more popular; and yes, we can all recite the words from memory and squee each time we hear it on the radio at Christmastime…but it didn’t save Africa from starving. We still fail miserably at feeding the world.

The original song was joyous. It went over well as a Christmas song because while the subject matter was and still is serious, the song gave a feeling of hope. Who did not belt out the chorus when they’d see the video on TV or hear it on the radio?? We believed that buying that record would help someone. As a teenager in 1984, I felt good knowing that as young as I was, buying that record made a difference. Simply purchasing music had the potential to bring good to the world. The verses and chorus of the song had that spirit of goodwill, hope, renewal and joy. This version is much different. Ebola kills so many. It is a horrible disease. There’s one line of the song about how a baby’s tear can kill. That’s an incredibly powerful, and sad line. In a Christmas song. How can that be made hopeful and joyous? I just know that every single time I hear this version, I’m going to think about that baby’s tear. Heartbreaking.

I’m not saying the song won’t sell. My UK friends continue to say the song will hit number one in the UK. One thing it will never do though, is rewrite history. It simply cannot. It cannot fully embody the groundbreaking feeling we all had, listener and artist alike, when the first “Do They Know It’s Christmas” came out in 1984. There is no way to capitalize on that, and there is no way to outdo the first…which should have never been the goal, but somehow, choosing to remake the original only does just that.

Bottom line: if you like the song, buy it.  But, if you want to really make a difference, donate generously to Doctors Without Borders or any of the other organizations that send healthcare personnel, supplies, etc to West Africa to do the things that you and I might never be willing to do ourselves.  Either way, the point is donating to the cause. In the meantime, I still smile every single time I hear the 1984 version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” on the radio, and I don’t think that will ever change, regardless of how many remakes Sir Bob organizes. That alone should speak volumes.

-R