Bob Geldof: Band Aid isn't a good song
Bob Geldof doesn't think Band Aid is a good song - but insists it doesn't matter because it's saved millions of lives.
The Boomtown Rats singer and Midge Ure wrote, recorded and released 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in 1984 to raise money for famine victims in Ethiopia and the charity single has been re-recorded and released on another three occasions, most recently in December 2014 to bring much needed funds to help the Ebola crisis in Africa.
Although Geldof is fiercely proud of all the good the song has done he admits he doesn't actually like the track.
Speaking at The 60th Anniversary Ivor Novello Awards in London on Thursday (21.05.15) as he and Midge were presented with The Ivors Special Anniversary Award, he said: "The song was always a device because it's not a great song, I mean obviously the bit I came up with is ... (When we did it) Midge had never heard of f***ing Africa never mind anything else. (We talked) and he said, 'Well, you come up with something and I'll come up with something.' I came up with something I think we'll agree is miraculous, he sent me over, quite frankly, the 'Z Cars' theme. But Midge whatever idea was in my head, he made it tangible. It was a device, to do something that I thought at the time was vital. It struck me that to die of want in a world of surplus was utterly intellectually absurd, economically illiterate and repulsive."
Geldof also spoke of his pride of the Band Aid legacy, with the money raised from sales of the song being directly responsible for "giving people a life" in some of the most impoverished parts of Africa, with Band Aid 30 directly assisting in eradicating Ebola from Papua New Guinea and Sierra Leone.
He said: "What it's resulted in is countless, literally countless millions having a life, maybe a better one but a life. When we started Band Aid, Africa was considered the basket case of the planet, now as I stand here seven of the top 10 fastest growing economies on the planet are in Africa, those seven Band Aid were involved in."
Referring to the impact of Band Aid 30, he added: "Last week, only two cases (of Ebola) were reported in Sierra Leone. It's been cracked and in the meantime what you achieved last Christmas is precisely this; one of the people we fund is given daily school meals, 1.35 million every single day a kid gets a school meal, these kids have lost their parents there was nowhere to go to, the people in their neighbourhood won't take them in because of fear of contagion and they weren't their children. So we set orphanages, we sent the doctors, we sent the vaccines, put up the tents and there's only two new cases in Papua New Guinea and Sierra Leone, it's gone. It will come again but what this does is raise a giant lobby for significant change in the world.
Geldof also thanked every artist and all the behind the scenes staff who have worked on the different incarnations of the record and he hopes a new generation of artists will take on the mantle and release more versions when he and Midge are gone.
He said: "I'd like to thank so many people who have been involved in this from the beginning ... people like Boy George who flew back from New York on the day because I got him out of bed and said, 'Get the f**k over here.' He came on Concorde. It was very similar to a few months ago when Ed Sheeran was doing Berlin and I said can you get here in any way and he said, 'Yeah.' And he pitched up in the morning and then went back and played Hamburg in the same day. Nothing much changes in the brilliance of the people, beyond their musical brilliance but their brilliance as people."