Band Aid 20 was the 2004 incarnation of the charity group Band Aid. The group, which included Daniel BedingfieldJustin Hawkins of The DarknessChris Martin of ColdplayBono of U2, and Paul McCartney, re-recorded the 1984 song "Do They Know It's Christmas?", written by Band Aid organizers Bob Geldof and Midge Ure.


 [hide*1 Recording


The song was recorded on 14 November 2004, to benefit Sudan's troubled Darfur region, and was released that same month. The single became the UK's biggest seller of 2004 as well as the Christmas Number 1.[1]

BonoPaul McCartney and George Michael were the only artists from the original Band Aid who had been asked back to lend their voices to Band Aid 20. There was a reported dispute over the line 'Tonight thank God it's them, instead of you', which Bono sang on the original version. Justin Hawkins, of The Darkness, laid down a version of the line, but Bono insisted on re-recording his version, which was eventually used on the record.

A special documentary titled Band Aid 20: Justice, Not Charity which went behind-the-scenes of the new recording was broadcast by BBC One on 6 December 2004.


The Band Aid 20 single was actually doubled when it was first played simultaneously on The Chris Moyles Show (on BBC Radio 1) and the breakfast shows on Virgin and Capital radio, at 8am on 16 November 2004. The video was first broadcast in the UK simultaneously over multiple channels, including the five UK terrestrial channels, at 5.55pm on 18 November 2004, with an introduction by Madonna.

One of the new ways to buy the song, by downloading it from the internet, hit a problem when Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store initially refused to supply it, due to their fixed-pricing policy. A partial solution was reached after a few days, enabling UK users to download the song at the standard iTunes price, with Apple donating an extra amount (equivalent to the price difference) to the Band Aid Trust.

The single sold 72,000 copies in the first 24 hours when it was released on 29 November 2004, and went straight in at No. 1 in the UK charts on 5 December 2004. The CD version sold over 200,000 copies in the first week. and became the fastest-selling single of the year. It stayed at No. 1 for Christmas and the week after, all in all holding onto the top spot for four weeks, just one week shorter than the original had done in 1984.

Because of its popularity, it was able to sell more copies than all the other British Top 20 songs combined. The first day, the cd registered 80,000 sales and then 200,000 sales by day four. Also, the song was number eight on the downloads chart online. The charity single had immense support from companies. The mobile entertainment provider, WebTV, allowed customers to play and purchase the song and music video on their mobile phones. The song could also be purchased with a bundle of tracks including both the original 1984 version and the 2004 version of Do They Know It’s Christmas?. This deal gave the charity single more exposure to the public and more appealing to purchase. The entertainment store, HMV, also worked to give the charity project more popularity by opening its stores at an earlier time to give customers more time to buy the single. Staff at HMV also wore Band Aid 20 shirts that said, “Have you bought your Copy Yet?” Another large promotion for the single was when Prime Minister Tony Blairwas seen picking up a copy of the charity single at an HMV store in Edinburgh.

Critical reception[edit]Edit

Band Aid 20's efforts met with mixed criticism. The BBC said the new generation of singers, who differed greatly from those that appeared on the 1984 original, endeavored to fit their talents into a 20-year old template resulting in an "anonymous" record.[2] The Guardian said the appearance of female singers was successful.[3]


British artist Damien Hirst designed an intimidating cover for the Band Aid 20 single, featuring the grim reaper and a starving African child. However, this was later dropped after fears that it might scare children. The single was released on 29 November 2004, with all money raised going toward famine relief in the Darfur region of Sudan.


Organisers and producers:



Who sings what on each version[edit]Edit

Lyrics 1984 version 1989 version 2004 version
'It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid' Paul Young Kylie Minogue Chris Martin
'At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade' Paul Young Chris Rea Chris Martin
'And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy' Boy George Jimmy Somerville/Big Fun Dido
'Throw your arms around the world, at Christmas time' Boy George Matt Goss Dido
'But say a prayer; Pray for the other ones' George Michael Cliff Richard Robbie Williams
'At Christmas time it's hard, but when you're having fun' George Michael/Simon Le Bon Jimmy Somerville/Matt Goss Robbie Williams
'There's a world outside your window, and it's a world of dread and fear' Simon Le Bon/Sting Marti Pellow/Jason Donovan Sugababes
'Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears' Tony Hadley/Sting Jason/Kylie Fran Healy & Sugababes
'And the Christmas bells that ring there, are the clanging chimes of doom' Sting/Bono Cliff Richard/Marti Pellow Fran Healy & Justin Hawkins
'Well, tonight, thank God it's them, instead of you' Bono Jason Donovan/Matt Goss Bono
'And there won't be snow in Africa, this Christmas time' Boy George/Paul Weller/Paul Young/Sting Marti Pellow Will Young & Jamelia
'The greatest gift they'll get this year is life' Bono/George Michael/Boy George Sonia Will Young & Jamelia
'Where nothing ever grows' Paul Young Lisa Stansfield Ms Dynamite & Beverley Knight
'No rain nor rivers flow' Glenn Gregory Lisa Stansfield Ms Dynamite & Beverley Knight
'Do they know it's Christmas time at all?' All Sonia/Lisa Stansfield All
'Here's to you' Marilyn/Glenn Gregory/Rick Parfitt/Francis Rossi Kylie Tom Chaplin
'Raise a glass for everyone' Paul Young Kylie Justin Hawkins
'Spare a thought this yuletide for the deprived'

'If the table was turned would you survive?'

Dizzee Rascal
'Here's to them' Marilyn/Glenn/Rick/Francis Matt Goss Busted
'Underneath that burning sun' Paul Young Matt Goss Justin Hawkins
'You ain't gotta feel guilt, just selfless'

'Give a little help, to the helpless!'

Dizzee Rascal
'Do they know it's Christmas time at all?' Paul Young Cliff Richard Joss Stone and Justin Hawkins
'Feed the World' (repeat) All All Tom Chaplin
'Feed the World, Let them know it's Christmas time again' (repeat) All All All

Note - In the 1989 version there are an extra two chorus' of 'Feed the World, Let them know it's Christmas time' between the verses. The first is sung by Bananarama and Cliff Richard, the second by D Mob.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.