Yadda, yadda, yadda.
It's in this spirit that I thought I'd share an oldie but goodie with you.
Back in 1984 when dinosaurs roamed the earth in day-glo spandex, Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats had the inspired idea of getting the day's most famous British bands and pop stars to record a single for charity. For Ethiopia, to be precise, which was ravaged by a horrendous famine at the time and is still, to this date, beset by other ills. At any rate, the fact that Geldof - a star but not a massive one - was able to fit all those massive egos in one room at the same time was miraculous enough. That historic gathering of Britain's best and brightest became known as Band Aid, and according to Wiki , their song Do They Know It's Christmas?
"became the UK's fastest seller of all time, entering the chart at number one and going on to sell over three million copies, making it the biggest-selling single in UK history up to that point, a title it held for almost 13 years. The single was also a major US hit, even though Christmas was long gone by the time it could be released in the States. 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' returned to the UK chart a year later, reaching number three, and eventually it raised over £8 million."
Band Aid went on to give birth to Live Aid and countless concerts for various celebrity-led charities and causes. It probably also spurred Sting's ongoing campaign to save the rainforests and Bono's campaign to save the whole fuckin' universe. It was the rebirth of celebrity activism.
The British effort also gave rise to the inevitable American me-too version "We Are The World," recorded by a no-less stellar - if motley - crew of American chart-toppers and, given the U.S.' penchant for one-upmanship, known as USA For Africa. Not just Ethiopia, mind you. Af-ri-kuh. As in the whole bloody continent.
It's been 25 years hence, and I still love this song over USA for Africa's treacly dirge. It's upbeat, it's joyous, it's hopeful -all the things one would imagine the Christmas spirit to be.
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" has, like other classics, been remade for this generation, featuring a bunch of Canadian hipsters I'm admittedly ignorant of. Then again, they're CANADIAN. 'Nuff said.
Here's the original version:
Compare and contrast with the Canadian hipster version below:
I obviously have more of a hard-on for the classic version. I'm a nostalgic old fool like that, and seeing the idols of the time looking so fresh and so young is a bittersweet sight, especially when one thinks of all that has happened to them since. Sting's saved some of the rainforest but lost most of his hair. Bono's still kickin' it with the U.N. goodwill ambassadorship gig and touring with the rest of U2. Duran Duran has, along with their rival Spandau Ballet, faded into obscurity. Boy George lost his stunning androgynous looks and became an overweight, creepy felon. George Michael was outed giving a blowjob in a public restroom and now spends his time crashing his car and taking swipes at Elton John. And the rest...well, I guess you can say they're history.
It's a lot like looking at your high school yearbook and gazing at those who've done well, those who've passed on, and those who just simply dropped out of sight.
A lot like looking back at my life and my generation.
Anyway...Merry Christmas to you all. And to all a good night.