Twenty-three years ago today, a group of pop stars (Boy George, Sting, George Michael, Bono, etc) got together and recorded “Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?” I heard this song every Christmas growing up on my local soft rock station. As a youth, I really liked the obvious lyrics and the apparently heartfelt performances. Once I started working in Africa (Kenya, specifically, and several other countries since), the portrait of Africa as this total basket case grated on me more and more. (There are parts of Africa that are very bad off; there are parts that are doing very well. The broad strokes painting a pathetic continent are not true and don’t help anyone.)
Now I both appreciate the obvious lyrics and am bothered by them. Last night I watched the video of the new recording from 2004 (with Dido, Chris Martin, Bono again, etc): not a bad watch.
If you’re interested in who’s singing the different parts in the different versions, here’s a guide.