Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know that West Africa is facing one of the deadliest Ebola outbreaks the world has ever seen. With 26 million people living in Ebola affected areas, it’s time we do something.
When you’re Sir Bob Geldof, that something is releasing a charity song. Geldof has reworked the 1984 classic “Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?,” sung by Band Aid, a charity group Geldof and Midge Ure created. The likes of Sting, Boy George, George Michael, and Bono sang on the original track produced with the aim of “feeding the world,” with proceeds relieving those affected by famine in Ethiopia.
The song topped the charts and became one of the biggest charity singles ever, raising more the US$24million. The 2014 version by Band Aid 30 aims to “heal the world” and fight Ebola, and has had some much-needed lyrical amendments, with “Well tonight thank God it’s them” being replaced by “Well tonight we’re reaching out and touching you.”
But even with the changes, not everyone is happy. Adele turned down the opportunity to be featured on the track, instead supporting the cause by making a donation, while Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz questioned the effectiveness of “our idea of charity.”
In an interview on Channel 4, Albarn said: “Our perspective and our ideas of what helps and our idea what’s wrong and right are not necessarily shared by other cultures.” He also added that the artists taking part in Band Aid 30 should spend some time in Africa and see if the experiences change their mindsets.
While the effectiveness of the single is questioned, it’s Geldof’s reasoning that really highlights the purpose of the song: “It really doesn’t matter if you don’t like this song. It really doesn’t matter if you don’t like the artists. It really doesn’t matter if it turns out to be a lousy recording – what you have to do is buy this thing.”
Band Aid 30 features Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, Bono, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Sam Smith, Queen drummer Roger Taylor, Ellie Goulding, Underworld, Sinead O’Connor, Bastille, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Elbow, Rita Ora, Paloma Faith, Clean Bandit, Olly Murs, Seal, Jimmy Napes, Emile Sandé, Anélique Kidjo, Disclosure, Jessie Ware, and Fuse ODG, as well as co-writer Midge Ure.
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is available to download on iTunes.
Title image source: Band Aid Trust/Brian Aris/Camera Press