Recently Bob Geldof and his team released the newest version of “Do they know it’s Christmas?” 30 years after its first release. I’m pretty sure the Africans know that it is Christmas time by this stage.
Releasing the single on the X Factor guaranteed the perfect audience of pop culture-crazed teens with profits reaching 1 million by the end of the show. Profits are to go to West Africa to help deal with the Ebola outbreak.
While it became the fastest-selling single of 2014, with more than 206,000 copies sold on the first day, it received much criticism in the media.
Artists such as Adele and Fuse ODG turned down the opportunity to appear in the video alongside artists such as One Direction, Olly Murs and Bono. The fact that some of the lyrics were changed in an attempt to modernise the song seemed to be a problem. Fuse ODG claimed that he turned down the opportunity as the lyrics were “not in line” with the positive message of the New Africa movement.
Tensions were also expected to be high on set, with Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding and Niall Horan all in the same room, singing merrily. Allegedly Goulding cheated on Sheeran last year with Horan, inspiring Sheeran’s hit song ‘Don’t’. You can imagine the awkwardness of the reunion.
The video was also criticised for its gory images of a dead, Ebola-stricken woman being lifted from her bed. The woman is left without dignity and it was broadcast on the X Factor, which many children were watching. However, Geldof retaliated by saying that it is important to show what is really going on in Africa.
Geldof’s team also came under fire over the proceeds with many claiming that most of the money was not going to Africa at all. It was also suggested on Sky News that if the artists taking part in the song paid their taxes properly then we wouldn’t need a charity single like this one. Geldof responded by saying that it was a ‘load of bollocks’ and the interview was quickly shut down.
It would seem that Band Aid has outlived its purpose and that many have grown tired of the track. With 30 years having passed since its initial release it may be time to retire the song. At the end of the day though, these stars coming together to release the charity single have raised huge funds and while all of it may not reach Africa, they have still made a difference. While humming along to the ceaseless track this Christmas it may be best to focus on that.
By Catherine Devine