It was a busy weekend in London as some of the top UK and Irish music stars re-recorded the Band Aid classic "Do They Know It's Christmas", now known as the collective Band Aid 20. Since Friday, artists including Sir Paul McCartney, Chris Martin, Justin Hawkins, Keane, Fran Healy of Travis, the Sugababes, Ms Dynamite, Robbie Williams, Dido, The Thrills and Jamelia have been in Sir George Martin's Air Studio re-recording the song which was a hit 20 years ago. Nigel Goodrich is producing.
Some drama erupted as U2 singer Bono wants to get his bono-ness back on legendary line ”Well tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you” after a stellar rendition was laid down by the Darkness' Justin Hawkins. Hawkins said last night, "I did it and I did it better than him. So, his management kicked up a stink. It obviously means a lot to him. It's a valuable line for him, he needs it, so I think he's going to fly back and try again to beat me." Other awkward moments include Sir Paul McCartney, who plays bass guitar on the song, being banned from singing because he was too old, and artist Damien Hirst's CD cover being scrapped because it was too disturbing.
According to NME, Blur’s Damon Albarn, who had previously recorded his part in Gorillaz' mode, was also at the studio. He was there only to serve tea and provide moral support for the people singing. Was Rick Astley busy?
Original co-organizer and current executive producer Sir Bob Geldof said that recording the song again brought back memories of two decades ago stating, "It takes me back to another nice morning 20 years ago. It doesn't feel the same because I didn't know what to anticipate before with all the mayhem and chaos. It would be nice to get the same amount of chaos but now people understand clearly what they're doing and I think that's the difference."
When the video is unveiled on BBC One on Thursday, Madonna will be seen introducing it, as David Bowie did before the original. Madge tells viewers, "Twenty years ago I performed at Live Aid. You saw me and my generation demanding a change. Once again, here we are 20 years later and more people die of hunger in Africa than war and Aids put together. In a world of plenty, it is hard to imagine that there are African children going to bed tonight hungry. Bob Geldof and his friends are here to remind you that none of us can forget. Not ever. Feed the world. I am honoured to introduce Band Aid 20."
With all that goodwill towards men in mind, an anonymous UK record executive has tried to put a £1 million bet on the Band Aid III track reaching Christmas No. 1. Ladbrokes spokesman Warren Lush said, "The customer tried to stake £1 million on Band Aid at odds of 1/5 but we turned down the bet. We offered him the opportunity place a smaller bet but he said it was £1 million or nothing." At 1/5 odds, the million pound bet would have paid out £1.2 million. Not too shabby.
Band Aid 20, which will raise money for famine relief in the Darfur region of Sudan, will be released on November 29 in the UK and "just in time for the holidays" January 11, 2005 in the US.