100 songs that changed history

Time Out explores the music that changed the course of world events

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    ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ – Band Aid (1984)

    Band Aid promoter Harvey Goldsmith on ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’:

    ‘What did I think of the single? It was okay. Nothing special. But getting all those people to perform together on a collective song with a message to it was something. What really made it successful, of course, were the pictures from Africa on the news, which are repeating again as we speak.

    ‘Did we have any idea that Live Aid would be that huge? None. None whatsoever. We were just getting the job done in the shortest possible space of time – organising it took ten-and-a-half weeks from start to finish. So we didn’t have time to think about what it was or if it was good enough or big enough. We just knew we had to do it and that there had to be two shows, which had never been done before – in fact, we ended up with three because there was one in Australia that kicked the day off. It sold out really quickly so we knew people were there to support it. We ended up with a fantastic list of artists, and our target was to raise a million quid. We had no idea we were going to raise £160 million.

    ‘The single changed the way people gave money. It changed the way people thought about giving. And we showed the world that pop artists, as crazy as they are, are also the most caring of all the artists. And that they understood how to use their powers of attraction for good.’