Band Aid sales reach €1.2m as Geldof praises the ‘digital age’

Musician denies calling Adele 100 times in effort to include her on Ebola charity song

Musicians lamenting the advent of the digital age, which has seen record sales collapse, may have been surprised to hear Bob Geldof piping up his support for the digital format on BBC Radio 4 yesterday morning.

Geldof declared that pre-sales of the Band Aid 30 single went "bonkers" within five minutes of being released after the video was previewed on TV programme The X Factor.

"It's gone manic. That's the digital age," he told the Today programme.

Some £1 million (€1.2 million) of pre-sales were registered in that short period on the iTunes website, though Geldof admitted that people were probably tired of his “flat Paddy adenoid tones hectoring”.


Band Aid 30, the fourth incarnation of the song Do They Know It's Christmas?, features a who's who of contemporary pop artists. It starts off with (who else?) One Direction and includes Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding, Guy Garvey from Elbow, Coldplay's Chris Martin (who was also on Band Aid 20) and Sinéad O'Connor.

Only Bono, who cannot be confined to the “where are they now?” slot in rock history, survives from the original Band Aid single, released in 1984.

Adele’s phone number

Geldof angrily denied suggestions that he had phoned Adele 100 times pleading with her to take part. He stated that he didn’t have her number.

All money raised from the single will go to tackle the Ebola epidemic in west Africa, and the lyrics have been changed accordingly. The reference to there being "no snow in Africa this Christmas" gives way to "No peace and joy this Christmas in West Africa/The only hope they'll have is being alive."

The line sung by Bono in the original, “Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” has been replaced by “Well, tonight we’re reaching out and touching you”. “Feed the world” has been replaced by “feel the world”.

True to form, Geldof gave an outspoken interview to Sky News in which he dismissed suggestions that rock stars should simply pay more tax to fund Ebola relief as “bollox”. He was asked to tone down the language but was at it again when it was suggested to him that Band Aid was patronising African people. He dismissed that as a “complete load of bollox”.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times