On November 25, 1984, one of the greatest songs of our time was recorded.
It was written in a matter of hours, pretty much thrown together.
Recording it were some of the biggest stars the UK had to offer at the time.
Of course, this track is Do They Know It’s Christmas? which has gone on to become the second biggest-selling song in UK chart history, behind Elton John’s 1997 reworking of Candle In The Wind for Princess Diana’s funeral.
The proof of this song’s greatness is that it is about to be released as a fourth version.
No-one dare write a new charity Christmas song as the nation’s love for this one is so great.
Writers Midge Ure and Bob Geldof had a fine pedigree, with massive hits with their respective bands Ultravox and Boomtown Rats.
It was Michael Buerk’s powerful report on the BBC’s Nine O’Clock News about the famine sweeping Ethiopia at the time that spurred Bob into action.
When you dissect the lyrics, you realise what a truly great piece of writing this is.
It hits home how comfortable our lives are here, but then gets us to imagine ourselves in their place.
‘It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid’ Paul Young sings softly. It instantly grabs your attention.
The words continue to remind us of our good fortune, then Bono hits home with ‘well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you’. Wow.
Apparently Bob and Midge just phoned round people to take part. No agents talking to other agents, placing demands or certain guarantees of exposure in the video.
They were probably contacts made by appearing on Top of the Pops.
Each artist who attended the recording sung the whole song through whilst the others watched. No pressure then.
Midge Ure took notes, then decided the order in which they appeared.
He had to wait for Boy George to arrive from New York on Concorde.
The stuff of legends. I still look forward to its first play of the year.
When I hear it, I know that Christmas has begun.