The Historic Band Aid Single “Do They Know It’s Christmas.”
#OnThisDay London, 1984 – in one incredible day, I was fortunate to be asked to be a part of this charity single along with the best of the best of British pop and rock at the time. We recorded this single for Band Aid. Four days later it was released in the UK and it has been played at this time of year ever since and one of the biggest singles of all time in the U.K. and mega seller worldwide. It’s an experience none of us involved will ever forget and a song that made a huge difference.
It began with a phone call. I’d been living on London with my best friend Jermaine Stewart after leaving my post as the original female lead vocalist of Shalamar on the 4th of July in 1983. The phone call came from Mariella Frostup, who at the time was the publicist for Phonogram Records. I’m told this was at the behest of organizer Sir Bob Geldof who was assembling some of the greatest pop and rock artists of the time and Shalamar had been blazing hot in the UK in this era. The only other American act included were members of Kool and the Gang with lead vocalist J.T. Taylor who were touring the UK at the time with a string of hits as well.
As a side note, Phonogram was very keen to sign me as a solo artist at the time at the helm of executive Chris Briggs – I feel so blessed to have been a part of this historic musical charity event helping to raise millions of dollars which also subsequently inspired USA For Africa.
Siobhan Fahey, Jody Watley, Midge Ure, Karen Woodward, Sara Dallin
This Official Band Aid Magazine with it’s 40 pages was sold in local newsstands and convenience stores selling-out quickly for 1.25 p. Imagine if we’d all had smartphones, iPhones, etc. with cameras and video back then to capture the recording and the total camaraderie and slight chaos that went on that day. At the time I thought Bananarama blowing cigarette smoke my way were unfriendly but we had a good laugh about it recently at Giorgio’s dancing the night away. The Mr. Marilyn keep the atmosphere light with his quick wit and exchanges with Boy George and everyone.
Leaving Giorgo’s on the Sunset Strip, 2013 exchanging ‘Good-night and well wishes’ to Siobhan Fahey (former Bananarama)
As I’ve said in interviews, it was at this recording that I asked George Michael, if I signed a deal would he duet with me – and he kept his word on my solo debut in 1987. There was some friendly flirting directed my way from John Taylor of Duran Duran and Paul Young as well. This was another blessed and memorable experience I was fortunate to be a part of.
One of the most monumental and memorable musical moments I’ve been blessed to be a part of was Band Aid – which just happens to have made musical history and influenced other such charitable recordings.
Jody Watley, #15.
A smiling Jody Watley far right.
“Do They Know It’s Christmas” – Band Aid; was released on November 29, 1984, and went straight to No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart, outselling all the other records in the chart put together. It became the fastest- selling single of all time in the UK, selling a million copies in the first week alone. It stayed at No. 1 for five weeks, selling over three million copies and becoming easily the biggest-selling single of all time in the UK. In October 1984, a BBC repprt was aired in the UK highlighting the famine that had hit the people of Ethiopia. Irish singer Bob Geldof saw the report and wanted to raise money and wrote the song with Midge Ure and featured some of the biggest music stars of Great Britain and Ireland including Duran Duran, George Michael, Sting, Bono of U2, Boy George, Phil Collins and more.