Before Live 8, before Live Earth, and (more importantly,) before USA For Africa, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure came together to create Band Aid – an ensemble of popular UK musicians – to record the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to raise money for and awareness of the famine in Ethiopia. The song, penned by Geldof and Ure, is a classic slice of 80s pop, rich with the sonic stylings of the time and as catchy as, I dunno, the common cold. The single, and the accompanying video proved to be a massive success (staying at #1 for five weeks and selling more than 3 million copies in the UK alone) and was a who’s who of 80s pop royalty: Paul Young, Boy George, Bono, Sting, George Michael, Phil Collins, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Paul Weller, Bananarama, you name it. If they were pale, and they were popular, it was a good bet they were in the mix somewhere. The following year America jumped on the righteous bandwagon with USA for Africa and the song “We Are The World”, which I’m sure raised loads of cash for a good cause, and sported another star-studded cast including: Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Lionel Ritchie, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper and many others. But the song just wasn’t as good. It was 50 choruses too long for starters, and not half as 80s as the UK pioneer. “We Are The World” came off as heavy-handed and over-cooked, and it sounds more like USA for USA. (And poor old Springsteen would be parodied as the constipated crooner for the next ten years.) Anyway, start singing all you 80s kids…don’t pretend you don’t know the words.
~ DECOY SPOON