Song Lyric Sunday – Don’t They Know It’s Christmas

This week Jim Adams has prompted us with Christmas, Holiday or Snowman for Song Lyric Sunday. My immediate choice was “Don’t They Know It’s Christmastime by Band Aid. It’s fun to pick out the artists from 1984. They all look so young!

Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is a song written in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in reaction to television reports of the 1983–1985 famine in Ethiopia. It was first recorded in a single day on 25 November 1984 by Band Aid, a supergroup put together by Geldof and Ure and consisting mainly of the biggest British and Irish musical acts at the time. The single was released in the United Kingdom on 3 December 1984 and aided by considerable publicity it entered the UK Singles Chart at number one and stayed there for five weeks, becoming the Christmas number one of 1984. The record became the fastest selling single in UK chart history, selling a million copies in the first week alone and passing three million sales on the last day of 1984, on the way to displacing Wings’s “Mull of Kintyre” as the biggest-selling single of all time in the UK. It held this title until 1997 when it was overtaken by Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind 1997”, released in tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales following her death. The original version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” has sold 3.8 million copies in the UK to date. In a UK-wide poll in December 2012, it was voted sixth on the ITV television special The Nation’s Favourite Christmas Song

The song was also a major success around the world, reaching number one in thirteen other countries outside the UK. In the US, the single fell short of the top ten in the Billboard Hot 100 due to a lack of airplay, but it had sold an estimated 2.5 million copies in the US by January 1985. Worldwide the single had sold 11.7 million copies by 1989. Geldof’s cautious hope was that the single would raise £70,000 for Ethiopia, but “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” raised £8 million within twelve months of release. The single’s worldwide success in raising awareness and financial relief for the victims of the Ethiopian famine led the recording of several other charity singles in the UK and in other countries, such as “We Are the World” by USA for Africa. The song also led to various spin-off charity events, such as Comic Relief, and the Live Aid concert which would take place seven months later in July 1985.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was re-recorded three times: in 1989, 2004 and 2014. All the re-recordings were also charity records; the 1989 and 2004 versions also provided money for famine relief, while the 2014 version was used to raise funds for the Ebola crisis in West Africa. All three of these versions also reached number one in the UK, with the 1989 and 2004 versions also becoming the Christmas number ones for their respective years. The 2004 version of the song was also a UK million seller, with 1.8 million copies sold. 

Original Artists of BandAid were:

  • Bananarama
  • Bob Geldof
  • Culture Club
  • David Bowie
  • Duran Duran
  • Eurythmics
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  • Heaven 17
  • Human League
  • Kool and the Gang
  • Midge Urge
  • Paul McCartney
  • Paul Young
  • Phil Collins
  • Spandau Ballet
  • Status Quo
  • Sting
  • The Style Council
  • U2
  • Wham!
It's Christmas time, and there's no need to be afraid
At Christmas time, we let in light and banish shade
And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world
At Christmas time
But say a prayer and pray for the other ones
At Christmas time, it's hard but while you're having fun
There's a world outside your window, and it's a world of dread and fear
Where a kiss of love can kill you, and there's death in every tear
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight we're reaching out and touching you
Bring peace and joy this Christmas to West Africa
A song of hope where there's no hope tonight, ooh
Why is coming first deadly feared?
Why is to touch to be scared?
How can they know it's Christmas time at all?
Here's to you
Raise a glass to everyone
Here's to them
And all their years to come
Can they know it's Christmas time at all?
Feed the world, let them know it's Christmas time again
Feed the world, let them know it's Christmas time again
Heal the world, let them know it's Christmas time again
Feed the world, let them know it's Christmas time again
Heal the world, let them know it's Christmas time again
Heal the world, let them know it's Christmas time again
Feed the world, let them know it's Christmas time again
Heal the world, let them know it's Christmas time again
Heal the world

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Geldof / Midge Ure
Do They Know It's Christmas? lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

  20 comments for “Song Lyric Sunday – Don’t They Know It’s Christmas

  1. December 23, 2019 at 12:34 am

    I remember Band-Aid and vaguely this song. The lyrics you posted didn’t seem to match what they were singing but that’s OK. They’re good lyrics anyway!

    • Christine Bolton
      December 23, 2019 at 8:26 am

      Ha! They did do three versions over the years so maybe this one got tweaked. Thanks for reading/viewing 🙂💕

  2. December 22, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Wonderful cause and message they’re promoting. I’d not heard this before. I like it, and I do like when artists get together to make such an original song. 🙂

    • Christine Bolton
      December 22, 2019 at 7:25 pm

      Yes this was to springboard for Live Aid the following year. Wish we saw more of these efforts now ☺️💕

  3. December 22, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Great choice for today.

    • Christine Bolton
      December 22, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  4. December 22, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    I remember the original when it came out 35 years ago.

    • Christine Bolton
      December 22, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      Yes, this is it. It was really special at the time.I rememberers er Bob Geldhof of the Boomtown Rats pioneering the project. It was amazing.

      • December 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm

        It was certainly a landmark of its time.

  5. December 22, 2019 at 9:16 am

    This is a wonderful Christmas sing and I have a new found appreciation for it after reading your post.

    • Christine Bolton
      December 22, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks Jim, yes it started the whole thing a year before Live Aid. It was huge in the UK and then you know the rest 🙂💕

  6. December 22, 2019 at 5:43 am

    Enough said it the best choice 💜💜

    • Christine Bolton
      December 22, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      Yes, it was very special t the time, wasn’t it? 🙂❤️

      • December 22, 2019 at 2:35 pm

        Yes it was before people got charity fatigue 💜

      • Christine Bolton
        December 22, 2019 at 7:27 pm

        Yes you may be right 😕 at least we were entertained by it 👍

      • December 23, 2019 at 2:56 am

        Yea 💜

  7. December 22, 2019 at 2:24 am

    OMG! They look like kids! 😄

    Still enjoy hearing this and will always appreciate their efforts. We need some of that giving spirit today.

    Pretty sure I recognized everyone, but I NEVER knew Kool and the Gang were a part of this too!

    Great share! Merry Christmas, Christine! 😉🎄

    • Christine Bolton
      December 22, 2019 at 1:16 pm

      You know neither did I! How funny, I’ll have to watch the many videos I found to see them all again. Thanks Felicia and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 🙂💕

    • Christine Bolton
      December 22, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      Felicia, I just updated my post to show the list of performers in BandAid. Yes, Kool & The Gang!

      • December 22, 2019 at 2:34 pm

        Great update! 👍

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