Band Aid 30: stars combine to highlight Ebola crisis

Geldof reprises role of three decades past to mobilise industry’s best for good cause

 

Musicians including Bono, Chris Martin, One Direction and Rita Ora have joined forces to record a new version of Band Aid song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’

The production team aim to get the track, which features lyrics reworked to reflect the Ebola crisis, completed in time for its first public performance during tomorrow night’s X Factor show.

The new lyrics appear in the second and third verses of the song and refer to the risks of cross-infection from comforting Ebola victims.

The second verse has been tweaked to include the words: “Where a kiss of love can kill you - And there’s death in every tear” and “Well tonight we’re reaching out - And touching you.”

The third verse now includes the lines: “No peace and joy this Christmas in West Africa / The only hope they’ll have is being alive / Where to comfort is to fear / Where to touch is to be scared.”

Bob Geldof, one of the organisers of the recording, said: “It really doesn’t matter if you don’t like this song. It really doesn’t matter if you don’t like the artists, it really doesn’t matter if it turns out to be a lousy recording – what you have to do is buy this thing”.

He also revealed that British chancellor George Osborne has agreed to waive the VAT on sales of the song, meaning that all the proceeds raised will go straight to charity. “I spoke to the chancellor . . . and he agreed to forgo the VAT on the record.”

Geldof added: “The record . . . [IS]an event,and the next stage now is to turn this into a phenomenon like it was in the ’80s. And the only way to do that is to get people to buy the thing.”

And he revealed that, while many of the pop stars taking part were bleary-eyed at such an early start, they were all “excited” to be there.

“It very much reminds me of 30 years ago . . . People are excited and that excitement builds. They are glad to be here.”

Among those who contributed to the song are Angelique Kidjo; Bastille; Clean Bandit; Ed Sheeran; Elbow; Ellie Goulding; Emeli Sande; Jessie Ware; Olly Murs; Paloma Faith; Roger Taylor; Seal and Sinead O’Connor.

On his way into the studion One Direction’s Niall Horan, to loud cheers from fans gathered, said: “To be involved and get invited by Sir Bob to do this is just insane, so it’s a privilege to be here.”

Asked what he hoped to achieve, he replied: “Hopefully it gets to number one and it raises a lot of money for a really worthy cause.”

Horan’s band-mate, heart-throb Harry Styles, was also up early today to take part in his second big charity performance in a matter of hours when he joined stars recording the Band Aid 30 single.

The 20-year-old, who performed with his band in EastEnders’ Albert Square during Britain’s Children in Need television show last night, was among the first to arrive for the session at a studio in London’s Notting Hill.

But despite the early hour, dozens of fans were there to greet the stars.