"Do They Know It's Christmas?" is a song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 specifically to raise money for relief of 1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia. Geldof put together a group called Band Aid, consisting of leading Irish and British musicians who were among the most popular and recognized of the era. The original version was produced by Midge Ure, and released by Band Aid on November 29, 1984.
The name 'Band Aid' was chosen as a pun on the name of a well known brand of adhesive bandage, also referring to musicians working as a band to provide aid.
Among other artists, the original Band Aid ensemble consisted of Phil Collins, Bob Geldof, Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, Duran Duran, Paul Young, Bananarama, Bono (U2), George Michael (Wham!), Sting, David Bowie, Boy George and Paul McCartney.
A new version was recorded under the name of Band Aid II in 1989, produced by the popular Hit Factory team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman and featuring a number of the year's most accessible artists, including Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan or Lisa Stansfield. The song again reached #1 for Christmas, raising more money.
Band Aid 20 recorded a third version of the song in November 2004 for the twentieth anniversary of the original recording, and again got to #1. The idea was prompted by Coldplay singer Chris Martin, although Geldof and Ure both got quickly involved. Some of the artists who participated are: Bono (U2), Travis, Daniel Bedingfield, Natasha Bedingfield, Sugababes, Busted, Coldplay, Dido, Dizzee Rascal – the only artist to add lyrics to the song (a rap* in the middle of the "here's to you" section), Katie Melua, Snow Patrol, Joss Stone and Robbie Williams.
*LYRICS ADDED BY DIZZEE RASCAL
Spare a thought this Yuletide for the deprived
If the table was turned, would you survive
You ain't gotta feel guilt, just selfless
Give a little help to the helpless