Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Charity Singles Of The 1980's - Part One - "Do They Know Its Christmas?"

The 1980's had several charity singles to promote a worthy cause or raise awareness to different world issues. The Granddaddy of them all is the holiday music staple "Do They Know Its Christmas?".

Written by Bob Geldof (probably best known as the actor who played "Pink" in the Pink Floyd movie, "The Wall"), he wanted to promote awareness to the fact that people in Africa are starving. So while the more well off people are enjoying the Christmas season, the poor people in countries like Ethiopia might not even know what Christmas is. Hence, this song.

Alright I'll admit, as much as I don't like poor hungry Africans starving to death, I LOVE this video. In fact, I'll play it for friends after a night of drinking and see how many people they can get right (lame, yes...but try it sometime). If you can stand the detailed review below, trust me, you will NEVER look at this song or video the same way again and will impress your family and friends when the song comes on the radio. Let's go through the video for some highlights shall we?

0:00-0:14 The opening of the video. That's Bob Geldof in his 80ish trench coat around the 0:07 second mark. I love the quick glance of the bass player for Duran Duran as well as Sting.

0:15 - 0:30 - The first line is sung by Paul Young who is best known for the song "Everytime You Go Away" which was actually written by Darryl Hall of Hall and Oates? That alone will score you points in the completely worthless trivia category if there was one. He's also one of the few people who get more than one line.

0:31 - 0:43 Oh yes, Boy George! I'm not sure if he was banging his drummer at this time or if they had broken up but he looks pretty happy here.

0:44-0:48 I absolutely LOVE Phil Collins and to know he played drums on this song is pretty sweet to me. He also shows off the textbook "drummer face" at the :47 second mark. More on him later...

0:49-0:57 George Michael's turn. He's still baby faced here and I'm assuming liking women at this point in his life.

0:58-1:07 - A weird transition here to Simon LeBon, the lead singer of Duran Duran. Its like he's interrupting George Michael. I love how he grabs his headphones for extra dramatic effect too.

1:08-1:13 Hey now, look who magically appears next to Simon...its Sting with a trendy red scarf. Its a shame that this duet lasts only 5 seconds.

1:14-1:22 - The dude joining in here is the guy who sings the song "True". He was lucky that True was a hit around the time they recorded this song or he'd be singing in the background chorus with Bananarama (I'll show you later).

1:22-1:30: The greatest combination of voices around one microphone since the Beatles? Seriously...try and out do that one!

1:30-1:36 Perhaps the most famous lyric of the 1980's. If I ever had the chance to meet Bono, I would forgo cheesy questions and beg him to utter "WELL TONIGHT THANK GOD ITS THEM....INSTEAD OF YOUUUUUUUU!!!"

1:37-1:39 - A classic Phil Collins drum fill.

1:40-1:52 Some interesting things here...not sure who the bird necked guy you see before Sting is. At 1:45 the guy on the right with the drumstick is Boy George's secret lover. I also like the goofy guitar moves around the 1:48 mark yet you can't hear a single guitar anywhere on the song.

1:53-1:55 - There are only two ad libs on the entire song and Boy George gets them both.

1:56 - 2:09 - Random combinations of people and more fake guitar playing.

2:15-2:25 - The middle breakdown section and Paul Young again gets the forefront. I don't know why he got the first vocal and such a prominent spot. Bob Geldof isn't anywhere to be found on this song either. In fact where were other British superstars like Eric Clapton, Elton John and David Bowie?

2:26 - 2:41 - My favorite part...carloads of random 80's bands showing up to sing background vocals. I'm not sure all of them are but a few are easy....Bananarama at 2:28...Kool and The Gang at 2:29...Sade at 2:30. Listen for the classic drum fill by Phil Collins between 2:32-2:34.

2:41- End - The big finish featuring lots of playing around. Some quick questions...

1.) At 2:51, how does Bananarama stand closer to a microphone than Sting?!?
2.) Who is the random guy at 2:55 in the random suit looks like he has no place to stand and sing...I feel bad for him and he gets caught by the camera too.
3.) Who is smoking at 2:59? Sade?
4.) Again, how does Bananarama get front and center as seen at 3:41? Look at Bono using something like a fork to keep the beat. I love his hat there too...shades of the "serious" U2 on their soon to be released "The Joshua Tree" album.

Back tomorrow for the USA's response to this song...

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