Thursday 20 June 2019

'Band Aid's Christmas smash was hit of the 80s... but just wasn't very good', says co-writer Midge

Midge Ure and Bob Geldof say Band Aid is not over, despite reports
Midge Ure and Bob Geldof say Band Aid is not over, despite reports

Nick Bramhill

IT'S the enduring hit charity Christmas single, masterminded by Bob Geldof and which went on to raise millions for the starving of Africa.

But Midge Ure - the singer-songwriter who teamed up with Geldof to write Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? - has dismissed it as "not a very good song".

The 1984 hit, which featured Irish and British stars including Bono, Sting and Simon Le Bon, became the fastest-selling single in UK chart history.

APPEAL

Midge Ure and Bob Geldof at the Ivor Novello Awards for 1984 where they won a joint award for Do They Know It’s Christmas? (PA)
Midge Ure and Bob Geldof at the Ivor Novello Awards for 1984 where they won a joint award for Do They Know It’s Christmas? (PA)

It passed the million mark in the first week and three million on the last day of the year.

Dubliner Geldof, who co-wrote the song in response to the famine in Ethiopia, only expected the record to make around €80,000.

But its mammoth appeal exceeded all expectations, pulling in €9m in 12 months and becoming the biggest UK chart success of the decade. Despite its success and subsequent versions for famine relief and again in 2014 for the Ebola crisis, Ure remains unimpressed with it from a musical viewpoint.

The former Ultravox frontman, still a Band Aid trustee, said: "This was a strange record to make in that Bob and I were trying, for the first time in our careers, to write a song that would make as much money as possible.

"I don't think it's a very good song. It's a bit of an oddity."

Recalling the race to record and release the song in early December, the Scottish musician said it was "nerve-racking".

"We had loads of artists who had never worked together before and we didn't know how it would gel," he said.

"I had to say things like, 'You're a bit out of tune, can you do it again?'

"But all egos were checked at the door. There were no limos or entourages. Everyone turned up, worked hard and got the job done.

"We had to hit a press deadline so recorded and produced for 24 hours solid.

"Bob made a cassette recording and took it straight to the BBC, where they played it immediately.

"I heard it over the radio while driving home, only an hour after leaving the studio."

In 1985 Ure again teamed up with Geldof for Live Aid and in 2005 was again by the Boomtown Rats' frontman's side to organise the Live 8 concerts, to press G8 leaders into action on world poverty.

Herald

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