Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Rewind - 1984

I am boarding my time machine for a look back at Christmas 1984. I was sixteen years old and in the tenth grade. I had big hair and big dreams. Ronald Regan was President and George Bush was Vice President.

The music was amazing and boasted hits such as Madonna's "Like a Virgin", Phil Collins' "Against All Odds", and Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It". There was one song, however, that brought many singers together for the ultimate song of 1984. This song was released on December 3, 1984 and immediately shot up to #1 where it remained for 5 weeks, became Christmas #1 and sold more than 3.5 million copies.

Live-Aid, who later became Band-Aid, recorded this song in the hopes of sending much needed relief to Ethiopia. They succeeded in raising the money for the food, but despite their good intention, the food never made it to Africa. Much of it was found spoiled on the shipping docks.

Have you guessed this song? 




Here is a group photo of the Band-Aid performers


Adam Clayton (U2), Phil Collins (Genesis, Solo), Bob Geldof (Boomtown Rats), Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet), Chris Cross (Ultravox), John Taylor (Duran Duran), Paul Young, Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet), Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran), Simon Crowe (Boomtown Rats), Marilyn, Keren Woodward (Bananarama), Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet), Jody Watley (Shalamar), Bono (U2), Paul Weller (The Style Council), James 'J.T.' Taylor (Kool & The Gang), George Michael (Wham!), Midge Ure (Ultravox), Martyn Ware (Heaven 17), John Keeble (Spandau Ballet), Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet), Roger Taylor (Duran Duran), Sarah Dallin (Bananarama), Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama), Pete Briquette (Boomtown Rats), Francis Rossi (Status Quo), Robert 'Kool' Bell (Kool & The Gang), Dennis J. T. Thomas (Kool & The Gang), Andy Taylor (Duran Duran), Jon Moss (Culture Club), Sting (The Police), Rick Parfitt (Status Quo), Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran), Johnny Fingers (Boomtown Rats), David Bowie, Boy George (Culture Club), Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes To Hollywood), Paul Mccartney, Stuart Adamson (Big Country), Bruce Watson (Big Country), Tony Butler (Big Country), Mark Brzezicki (Big Country)

Photo and performer names from HERE

I can remember the one line in the song that, in my opinion, was the most powerful. "Tonight thank God it's them instead of you". Bono's line ripped through many people. Some became furious because of this lyric, others not so much. 

I don't believe that this line was meant as many took it. Or maybe it was. Maybe the reaction was exactly what the writer, Bob Geldof, was looking for. It was delivered right after, "But say a prayer, Pray for the other ones At Christmastime it's hard, but when you're having fun There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear".

My take on this line is that it was a sarcastic slap in the face to those who looked down on the starving Ethiopians. It was a "wake up and get a clue" to those in their penthouse apartments who think the world's problems aren't theirs. "If you are bold enough to do nothing, then be bold enough to thank God that it's them instead of you". It was a reminder that their situation was so horrible that no matter how deep your sympathy for them, that you still wouldn't be willing to take their place. "Tonight thank God it's them instead of you" made one take notice and think about the situation. Mission accomplished, IMO.

Whether you agreed with Bono's line or not, the fact is that "Do They Know It's Christmas" will always be one of the most memorable Christmas songs.

I hope you enjoyed this trip back to Christmas 1984 as much as I did.

"Do They Know It's Christmas?"

[Chris Martin:]
It's Christmastime, there's no need to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade

[Dido:]
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime

[Robbie Williams:]
But say a prayer, Pray for the other ones
At Christmastime it's hard, but when you're having fun

[Sugababes:]
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear

[Fran Healy:]
Where the only water flowing

[Fran Healy & Sugarbabes:]
Is the bitter sting of tears

[Fran Healy & Justin Hawkins:]
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom

[Bono:]
Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you

[Will Young & Jamelia:]
And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life

[Ms Dynamite & Beverly Knight:]
Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow

[Group of ten and Joss Stone:]
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

[Tom Chaplin (Keane):]
Here's to you

[Justin Hawkins (Darkness):]
Raise a glass for everyone

[Dizzee Rascal:]
Spare a thought this yuletide for the deprived
If the table was turned would you survive

[Busted:]
Here's to them

[Justin Hawkins (Darkness):]
Underneath that burning sun

[Dizzee Rascal:]
You ain't gotta feel guilt just selfless
Give a little help to the helpless

[Joss Stone & Justin Hawkins:]
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

[Tom Chaplin:]
Feed the world

[Tom Chaplin & Chris Martin:]
Feed the world

[Tom Chaplin & Chris Martin & Sugababes:]
Feed the world

[Tom Chaplin & Chris Martin & Sugababes:]
Feed the world

[Everyone in full chorus line.]
Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again - [repeated]

[Group of ten:]
Feed the world

[Everyone in full chorus line.]
Feed the world - [repeated to end]

[Joss Stone ]
[Ad libs over outro]

2 comments:

  1. WONDERFUL Christmas rewind!

    Yes, I remember this song clearly and exactly where I was in my life during this time (1984). I was still living in Florida, and working as a hairstylist in one of my favorite salons.

    " Madonna's "Like a Virgin", Phil Collins' "Against All Odds", and Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It". "

    Boy, do I remember those songs!!!

    And I think you're absolutely correct in your 'take' on "Do They Know It's Christmas"

    "My take on this line is that it was a sarcastic slap in the face to those who looked down on the starving Ethiopians. It was a "wake up and get a clue" to those in their penthouse apartments who think the world's problems aren't theirs."

    I agree!

    Happy Monday, girl! Have a wonderful week!

    XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good morning, Ron!

    There were so many other songs from that year that I didn't include in the post. I hated that I had to chisel my list down to only a few.

    Isn't it amazing how music can take us back to a particular place in time without even the slightest hesitation?

    Hope you have a great week!

    XOXO

    ReplyDelete