When Bob Geldof recruited some of the biggest names in pop music from the U.K. and Ireland in 1984, all he really wanted to do was record a charity single to raise money and awareness for the devastating Ethiopian famine. He not only did that, but he also helped prove that music can, in fact, change the world and paved the way for other charity efforts from musicians.
Geldof was given no more than 24 hours to record and mix “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” at the SARM Studios in the Notting Hill district of London. Considering the logistics of getting all of those names in one room (which included Sting, Bono, Phil Collins, Duran Duran, George Michael and Boy George, to name a few), it’s amazing the single was released in the U.K. four days later on November 29, 1984.
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” shot straight to number one selling an astounding one million copies in the first week of release. The single would go on to raise over $24 million.
Band Aid opened the doors to countless other charity singles (most notably USA for Africa’s “We Are The World”) and also led to the Live Aid concert, which took place on July 13, 1985, and helped raise $125 million.