Band Aid/Band Aid 20, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’

As a globally conscious 12-year-old, I spent my hard-won cash on the single like millions of others. I was struck by how much one of the Ethiopian children on the cover looked like Bob Geldof. Yesterday morning, Junior was subjected to the original and the recent remake – she was lucky that I couldn’t find the awful Stock Aitken Waterman version, or I would’ve carried out my threat to play one a day ‘til Christmas.

I’m one of the few who admits to liking the 1984 song. I’m one of the even fewer who can see value in 2004’s edition. I like Thom Yorke’s piano. The Darkness guitars are dreadful, though, and it goes on way too long. Also, don’t we get proper heavyweight pop stars any more? There’s hardly anyone on the later record to compete in terms of fame, glamour, ego and interest with the likes of Simon Le Bon, George Michael, Boy George, even Sting. I bet Status Quo weren’t plying Will Young and Jamelia with Class A drugs.

Junior can’t see what any of the fuss is about. She manages to laugh near the Dizzee Rascal bit, and I can see her wondering who Glenn Gregory is. Or was.

Jona Lewie, ‘Stop The Cavalry’

Pomp-a-pomp-a-pomp and dub-a-dub-a-dum. That’s always going to work for a five-month-old. You can do the “riding on a camel in the deeeeee-sert” to it, and generally bounce up and down. Of course, with all that frolicking, you could miss the serious message in Jona Lewie’s song. Like everyone else. 

It’s just a Christmas song now. In fact, I think it was released as a Christmas record, but I don’t suppose it was written that way, unless Jona had some mad premonition of how many compilations it was going to appear on and how he wouldn’t have to lift a finger again. On the other hand, by marrying an anti-war message to a Christmas lyric, Jona is a forerunner in a rich tradition. If not for him, we might not have ‘The Pipes Of Peace’ and ‘Altogether Now’. Harrowing thought.

Thumbs up from Junior, then. For the rest of this week’s festive records, I’m toying with doing all three versions of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’. Who’s going to stop me?