Sunday, December 13, 2015

Do we know it's Christmas?

When I woke up today and reread what I posted yesterday, it reminded me of the phenomena that began 30 years ago, 1984, when I was an optimistic, confident 24-year-old young lady, with the world at my doorstep, filled with that "anything was possible" and "can do" vigor.

Granted, I was already married, but without children at the time.  My then husband and I spent our Christmas holidays usually on a bus filled with 15 year-old hockey players going on a trip to Spokane for a tournament.  My husband was a co-coach of a Bantam AA hockey team made up of a crew of dreamers and believers that they could reach for the impossible.  In 1984, we celebrated Christmas per usual, Christmas Eve Mass and then on to Boxing Day, where we had to take down our tree, pack everything up so we could take the road trip.  That was the basis of Christmas:  giving of one's self for others.

That year a phenomena was revealed in Britain that would be remembered every year since at Christmas Time:  Source Wikipedia:

Band Aid is a charity supergroup featuring mainly British and Irish[1] musicians and recording artists.[2][3][4] It was founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for anti-poverty efforts in Ethiopia by releasing the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for the Christmas market that year. On 25 November 1984, the song was recorded at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, and was released in the UK four days later.[5][6] The single surpassed the hopes of the producers to become the Christmas number one on that release. Two subsequent re-recordings of the song to raise further money for charity also topped the charts. The original was produced by Midge Ure. The 12" version was mixed by Trevor Horn. In November 2014, a new version of the song was recorded by artists under the name of Band Aid 30.[7]


The opening footage is startling, lest we were to forget the reason this emblem of hope was established.  

How was the idea born?

Bob Geldof was deeply bothered and moved by the flight of starving children Ethiopia.  He decided to leverage his contacts from the UK, Ireland, to raise money to help these unfortunates by creating a unique song, enlisting major the talent of the day, to record a song that all proceeds would directly go towards raising funds. 

The vocalists featured the best British and Irish talent: 

Additional spoken messages on B-side:
Musicians:
  • Phil Collins – drums
  • John Taylor – bass
  • Midge Ure – keyboards and programming
Originally recorded in 1984, its re-release in 1985 after "Live Aid", caused it to soar in popularity.  An emblem of the Holiday Season, it was very successful worldwide, selling over two million copies and raising more than $24,000,000 (US).  It became the benchmark for celebrity musicians inspiring actions of charity.

One of the biggest talent at the time was "WHAM!" fronted by George Michael and Andrew Ridgely had the #1 Hit in 1984 with "Careless Whisper" topping Billboard's Top Song.





Followed by "Wake me up before you go go" became a No# favorite in 1985 in countries like the US, Canada, Australia.  So, it wasn't surprising they'd be one of the first vocal standouts on 




In fact, Wham's "Last Christmas" became the highest-selling single to ever peak at #2 in the UK charts, remaining #2 for five weeks, when "Do They Know It's Christmas" surpassed it.



Joining the chart toppers to lend vocals were from the best names of the 84-85s  like Boy George (Culture Club), Spandau Ballet, and Duran Duran.
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Fast forward 30 years and I'm a parent of kids of similar ages to what I was back then. Another "Do they know it's Christmas?" was released 2014/15 thirty years after the original.

It comes as no surprise that UK sensation  One Direction softly vocalizes the first words acapello. They are a favorite of my daughters 21 and 23, not so far off of my own age 30 years earlier. 



Band Aids 30 years lifted off the Billboard charts at No. 1.  (Source:  Billboard )

The Band Aid 30 line-up on the new version of the single, which is raising funds to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa, includes such stars as BonoOne DirectionRita OraEd SheeranSam Smith,Ellie GouldingEmeli SandéColdplay’s Chris Martin, Seal,Sinead O’Connor and Roger Taylor of Queen. “Do They Know It’s Christmas” has now topped the U.K. chart in all four of its incarnations, including the multi-million-selling first version at Christmas 1984 and subsequent anniversary editions in 1989 and 2004.  The 1984 original re-charted yesterday at No. 61.


Similarly to WHAM in 1984/85, One Direction is certainly a chart topper, and adored by Millinneal girls and minus.  Billboard recognized them as the "Artist of the Year" for 2014, when the 30 years later tribute was launched, they represent the first lyrics and melody, while girls swoon over Harry.  (Source:  Billboard )



Wise anthem for the Millennial generation:




Today Millinneal Ed Sheeran sings for his generation topping the charts in 2015.    (Source: Billboard):

Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England in 1991, Sheeran released his first EP, The Orange Room, while still at school, and his first two albums, his self-titled debut and Want Some, by the age of 16. After moving to London to gain more live experience, his performance of the self-penned "You Need Me, I Don't Need You" on YouTube channel SB.tv gained half a million viewers and attracted the attention of actor/R&B star Jamie Foxx, who invited him to appear on his Los Angeles Sirius radio show.

His new record debuted at number one on both the U.S. and U.K. charts, reached gold or platinum status in 15 countries, and the singles for "Sing" and "Thinking Out Loud" both topped the British charts.



 I hope you enjoy the music and videos selected to emphasize how impactful charity can be, whether famous or not.  Enjoy the spirit it brings.