Thursday, December 16, 2010

Message Received

Single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Band Aid, Columbia, 1984. B-Side "Feed the World" Near mint--pristine--you might get up to $10 bucks for it.

There are times when I really WANT to love a song, but just can’t manage it. Intentions may be good, the message may be worthy and the musicianship may be top notch, still certain songs just fall flat.

The number one single on this day in the UK in 1984 was “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” a song written by Bob Geldorf and Midge Ure and performed by the many artists who contributed their time and talents to Band Aid, the proceeds going to bring relief to the famine-ravaged people of Ethiopia. Everything good--except the song. It’s not a very good song.

I’m bothered by that lyric “Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.” I’ve never found that kind of schadenfreude or hubris--or whatever it is that makes us think it’s okay to wish this on someone else to spare ourselves—to be an attitude to be encouraged.

This single isn't highly collectible since it sold 3.5 million in the UK alone. It remained the top-selling single there until Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diane “Candle in the Wind” displaced it in 1997.

When I hear the song now, I just try not to cringe and remember the purity of the intention to help those in need. I hope it made a BIG difference.

Maybe soon a new generation of musicians will band together to raise money for a worthy cause and a new Christmas song will be written—I have hope!


  1. This music makes me want to dance!

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