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 30. Which rather begs the question – why does nobody ever talk about Band Aids 3 to 29? Take a trip down memory lane as we remind 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.

Band Aid 19: A fragile acoustic rendition of the song by Gary Jules really revealed the underlying quality of the songwriting craft. A rival waxing by The Darkness, “Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Pies End)”, made less impression.

Band Aid 20: Nothing happened this year. Certainly nothing involving Joss Stone. Or The Thrills.

Band Aid 21: The Crazy Frog’s ringtone version became a mobile smash. “Let them know it’s Crazy time, DING DINGDINGDING” said a Jamster spokesperson, “Though if you want something more tasteful, a Clanging Chimes Of Doom ring is available.”

Band Aid 22: Looking for teen appeal, producers turned to My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. “Feel’s The Word” they crooned. The B-Side, featuring 30 fans reading out different definitions of Emo, found less praise.

Band Aid 23: A landmark year as the cream of British indie music – Scouting For Girls, the Kooks, the Pigeon Detectives, Razorlight – were flown out underneath the burning sun. Then left there. There wasn’t a record or anything.

Band Aid 24: At last, a credible charity single, as TV On The Radio, Vampire Weekend, Bon Iver, Black Kids and more formed BNM Aid. Sales were bafflingly poor. “Like, don’t they have blogs in Africa?” said a hurt Panda Bear.

Band Aid 25: Big Band Aid week on the X-Factor with twelve performances of the same song. Jedward’s enthusiastic routine as buzzing dayglo flies around a giant fibreglass child saw them safe once again. “It’s meant to be FUN, Simon.”

Band Aid 26: EDM stood for “Every Donation Matters” as David Guetta organised the “biggest drop in history”. “It’s not just about food, we’re sending out everything they need over there – medicine, glowsticks, mouse masks.”

Band Aid 27: Spotify’s Daniel Ek announced a new business model for Band Aid. “It’s Christmas time, and there’s no need to be afraid – of digital disruption” quipped the entrepreneurial Swede as he distributed one grain of rice per play of the charity anthem.

Band Aid 28: A beautiful advert about a boy and a baby vulture broke hearts and records for John Lewis, and helped Lily Allen’s emotive ukulele rendition of “Do They Know” soar high in the charts.

Band Aid 29: The year pop got a social conscience, and Macklemore stepped up to do his Band Aid duty. “People often say I look a bit thin, so I can speak for the starving. In a sense, we’re all Africans.”

Band Aid 30: In a last-minute attempt to stop a crisis – the release of a deep house version by Robin Schulz and Mr Probz – the world’s stars come together once again for Band Aid 30. “Buy the thing, don’t download it from iTunes”, said Sir Bob. “Bob, I already put it on their iTunes” said Bono.

(SERIOUS BIT: The need for a new Band Aid record is disputable, the need for medical aid in West Africa and elsewhere isn’t. Medecins Sans Frontieres donation page.)