The Secret History Of Band Aid
Everybody remembers Band Aid. And – despite everything – most people remember Band Aid 2. And now we have Band Aid 20. Which rather begs the question – why does nobody ever talk about Band Aids 3 to 19? Take a trip down memory lane as NYLPM reminds you of the charity singles we all forgot.
Band Aid 3: Recorded in a secret corner of the Hacienda, “Baggy Aid” in 1990 melded social conscience with a wah-wah break and found Shaun Ryder offering to feed the starving his melons. That Line was sung by Bobby Gillespie, but nobody heard his reedy mewlings and the single flopped.
Band Aid 4: Top One Nice One! Altern8, Shaft, The Prodigy and many more superstars got together to give the classic tune a new boshing 90s sound – though it was B-Side “E For Ethiopia” that found favour with the DJ community. But a secret orbital party for famine relief was busted and the marketing juggernaut found itself turned back at a police roadblock.
Band Aid 5: Comedy was the new rock and roll, and 1992′s underbought effort saw Rob Newman and Bob Mortimer reading the lyrics to “Do They Know It’s Christmas” in funny voices for three minutes.
Band Aid 6: Rob out of Senser spat fierce rhymes over a vigorous backing from fellow agit-poppers Chumbawamba and Back To The Planet. “99p buys a bar of soap / Give it up and you can give them hope!” – but the public would not listen.
Band Aid 7: Liverpool superclub Cream hosted the recording of the seventh Band Aid, as superstar DJs like ‘Sasha’ and ‘Oakey’ retooled the classic tune for the dancefloor. “One of my appearance fees can feed a continent for a month,” said a house pioneer, “It’s humbling.”
Band Aid 8 and Band Aid 9: The blackest hour in the long history of Band Aid saw a schism as Blur and Oasis insisted on recording separate versions of the legendary song for Christmas 95. Blur’s video featured Keith Allen in a dress riding a desert goat and Oasis’ contribution ran into trouble when Liam punched Michael Buerk in the face. A disgusted public turned instead to Kula Shaker’s Crispian Mills, who promised to feed the world with his cosmic love.
Band Aid 10: “This year we’ve got a sixth member – Hungry Spice”
Band Aid 11: 1997′s Di Aid saw Jennie Bond and Viscount Spencer in a flower laden studio as Elton played a piano made from frozen tears. The public seemed all emoted out, but in retrospect letting Lord St John Of Fawsley do a rap was an error.
Band Aid 12: Who can forget the year Fatboy Slim played the biggest refugee camp party ever (it’s official – just ask Guinness). His version took the line “when you’re having fun” and looped it 500 times for a dancefloor classic – but with a message!
Band Aid 13: There was no Band Aid 13. But you bought it, you say? From where? But… but… there’s been no record shop there for forty years! And the man singing That Line, it sounds like… ELVIS!? NOOOOO!
Band Aid 14: Europe joined the party with Cartoons, Eiffel 65 and Aqua lending their sizeable talents to famine relief. “Come on Barbie, let’s save Mali”.
Band Aid 15: Radiohead’s “Kid A(id)” was more challenging than most interpretations, being a 17-minute video installation showing Thom Yorke being chased by a bear to the sound of a whimpering child. Retail response was sluggish.
Band Aid 16: The honorary BA 16 broke with tradition by being a version of “What’s Going On” recorded after the tragedy of 9/11. A panoply of stars contributed, including Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, who rapped “we got humans using humans for bombs!”. Perhaps the most unlikely Band Aid yet.
Band Aid 17: “Get Ur Christmas Freak On” by the Freelance Hellraiser was the toast of the London scene for those two heady minutes in 2002. How we laughed.
Band Aid 18: It was becoming clear that the Band Aid brand needed a revamp. The appeal of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was potent, but limited pretty much to December. There were eleven other months of the year in which famine could strike. And so was born “Tan The World (Let Them Know It’s Summer Time)”. “The people in Antarctica, they’re fuckin’ freezing” said an angry Geldof. “Tonight it’s Factor Ten instead of Two” sang Bono. Glorious days.
Band Aid 19: The most recent Band Aid, a moving rendition of the song by Gary Jules, brings us up to date. The legacy of Band Aid is a rich one, and let’s hope that the twentieth effort is but the first of many, many more.
(LINK AID: To assuage my conscience for writing this in the first place, I’ll donate a pound to a famine relief charity for every link this gets. Even the ones that say it’s rubbish.)