I try never to play Christmas music until Thanksgiving is over… largely because the retail stores and tv commercials seem to start their promos right after Halloween; which really annoys me (and I’m sure I’m not alone.)

Band Aid 1984

Band Aid 1984 Musicians (click to view larger).

However, I just stumbled upon a story about a song and a concert, which both made a big impression on me nearly 30 years ago. The song: “Do They Know It’s Christmas”  coordinated by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, and  Live Aid (the Concert for Africa) in July of 1985.

Bob Geldof was moved by the following news report on October 23, 1984, and within a month had contacted dozens of musicians to donate their time and talents to the cause of getting food, medicine and clothing to these poor souls. The video is graphic, and it’s sad to think there are still areas around the world that deal with these same issues – however, the song and the concert in ’85 did help tens of thousands in desperate need.

The article I reference above discusses those who criticize those efforts; it addresses many of the issues that the song and the concert were not designed to discuss. I found it enlightening to read about how people viewed the effort then and how they see it now. Hindsight can be clouded by lost innocence; we forget that we didn’t always have cell phones and the internet. People can be very critical, citing things that didn’t happen (that  they felt should have happened) instead of acknowledging the progress made.

“The original Band Aid record, and the ensuing Live Aid concerts, were indeed only a ‘band aid’ — the point of the event was to raise emergency relief money, but also to raise awareness and put the issue of extreme poverty on the political agenda.

Bearing in mind that these kinds of immense social changes can take decades (consider the Civil Rights movement in the US), it is safe to say that Band Aid/Live Aid sowed some important seeds of change.

Yet both Live Aid and the recording that gave rise to it six months before, Band Aid, have had a lot of criticism over the years. Is it all justified?

This article has been written to challenge some of the oft-repeated arguments made about Band Aid and Live Aid, as the 30th anniversary of both these cultural touchstones re-manifests.”

The original video from November 28, 1984.

The Band Aid 30 Version, 2014 – all proceeds from song go to fighting Ebola in Africa; more details can be found on their Official Facebook Page.

There will most likely always be people in need; the challenge is to have aid efforts be more successful each time – without negating the work of those that came before.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas” really means, “Do they know there is peace… hope… comfort… love?”

There are thousands of causes and millions of people in need; this season, select one that means something to you and support it – and don’t listen to those people who criticize your choice!