n October 1984, a BBC television report by Michael Buerk was aired in the UK. It highlighted the famine that was sweeping Ethiopia. Bob Geldof, singer with the band The Boomtown Rats, saw the report and was inspired to do something to raise money to help the starving people of Ethiopia.
Bob Geldof called his friend Midge Ure, from the band Ultravox and they got together to write the song 'Do They Know It's Christmas'?
Geldof was booked to appear on Radio 1 the following month. He was to join Richard Skinner's show to discuss the new album by Boomtown Rats but instead, took the opportunity to talk about his idea for a charity single.
By the time the musicians were recruited for the project, there was already significant media interest and great excitement among the record buying public.
Before the days of The X Factor, the competition for the Christmas No. 1 was eagerly anticipated by music lovers, but that year, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' would be the Christmas No.1 of 1984. It stayed at the No. 1 spot for five weeks, selling 3.7 million copies in the UK alone.
The featured artists on that 1st edition of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' were: Paul Young, Boy George, George Michael, Simon Le Bon, Sting, Tony Hadley, Bono, Paul Weller, Glenn Gregory, Marilyn, Adam Clayton, Martin Kemp, Steve Norman, John Keeble, Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor, Roger Taylor, Chris Cross, Holly Johnson, Martin Ware, Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Jody Whatley, Bananarama, Boomtown Rats, Kool & The Gang.
Also, Phil Collins (drums) Gary Kemp (guitar) John Taylor (bass) Midge Ure (keyboards) & John Moss (percussion).
A B side was recorded which featured the spoken voices of some artists who hadn't managed to make the recording of the song. Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Holly Johnson, Bob Geldof and others can all be heard wishing Merry Christmas and asking for help for the starving Africans. The Supergroup were called Band Aid.
A total of over two million copies of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' were sold throughout the rest of the world in 1984 and the success of the song inspired musicians in other countries to embark on similar projects, including USA for Africa and Live Aid.
Live Aid was an event that was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium and John F Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. On the same day, 13 July 1985, concerts were held in support of the cause in other countries too, including Germany and Austria.
A year later in 1985, 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' was released as a 12" single and reached No. 3 in the UK charts.
Band Aid 2 came in 1989 and was produced by the hit factory that was Stock Aitken & Waterman. The lyrics and arrangement were changed slightly from the original and once again the song went straight to No.1. It was the very last song to be played on Top Of The Pops in the 1980s.
The line up for Band Aid 2 was:- Bananrama, Big Fun, Bros, D, Mob, Cathy Dennis, Jason Donovan, Kevin Godley, Glen Goldsmith, Kylie Minogue, Pasadenas, Chris Rea, Cliff Richard, Jimmy Somerville, Sonia, Lisa Stansfield, Technotronic & Wet Wet Wet.
Then came Band Aid 20 - 20 years after the original recording of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?', a third recording of the iconic song was made. This time it was the idea of Coldplay's Chris Martin. Bob Geldof & Midge Ure were keen to get involved and Geldof took on the publicity.
This time the song was to benefit Sudan's troubled Darfur region. It became the biggest selling single of 2004 and of course, the Christmas No. 1! The 2004 version of the song featured an extra segment, a rap by Dizzee Rascal. It was produced by Nigel Goodrich, known for his work with Paul McCartney, Radiohead, R.E.M & many other notable artists and bands.
On 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' 2004, the featured artists were: Daniel Bedingfield, Natasha Bedingfield, Bono, Busted, Chris Martin, Dido, Dizzee Rascal, Ms Dynamite, Skye Edwards, Estelle, Neil Hannon, Justin Hawkins, Jamelia, Keane, Beverley Knight, Lemar, Sahznay Lewis, Katie Melua, Roisin Murphy, Feeder, Snow Patrol, Rachel Stevens, Joss Stone, Sugababes, The Thrills,Turin Breaks, Robbie Williams, Will Young & Fran Healey.
30 years after the creation of Band Aid, a 4th version of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' has been launched to raise funds for treating victims of Ebola in West Africa. The song has always had critics but this year it seems to be more controversial than ever.
Critics are saying that the lyrics are patronising and irrelevant. According to news reports, some Africans find the song offensive. I wonder if this is the last time this historic song will be recorded?
Surely if only one life is saved as a result of Band Aid, it will have been a worthwhile project.
The artists who are part of Band Aid 30 are: Bastille, Guy Garvey, Chris Martin, Karl Hyde, Seal, Bob Geldof, Joe Sugg, Roger Taylor, Aflie Deyes, Grace Chatto, Neil Amin Smith, One Direction, Olly Murs, Sinead O'Connor, Ellie Goulding, Jessie Ware, Ed Sheeran, Zoe Sugg, Angelique Kidjo, Emeli Sande, Paloma Faith, Midge Ure, Bono, Sam Smith & Rita Ora.