Which is better? It depends if you want Brit cool or American glitz. Although nobody could ever call Marilyn cool. Or Status Quo.
I love Band Aid as much as the next girl. I had the poster on my wall and thought the whole thing was amazing. On the other hand, USA For Africa had Michael Jackson.
I feel a pro and con list coming on...
Band Aid pros:
- The sheer pastiness of them all and how they had obviously rolled out of bed and rocked up. You'd never get that now.
- George Michael
- Fab Macca Thumbs Aloft
- Duran Duran and special mention to Simon Le Bon's hair.
- Bono's line. I can forgive Bono a lot for the way he sings that line.
- Every single person's hair.
- Jon Moss and his maracas.
- Paula Yates and her baby. Makes me feel sad and old.
- The innocence of it - so English and lovely.
Band Aid cons:
- Why the hell was Paul Young allowed to open it? He was never any good. Then he gets more lines. WHY?
- The sheer state of Boy George. Rough.
- Bananarama. USA For Africa give us Bette Midler and we get sodding Bananarama.
USA for Africa pros:
- It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones. Sorry Midge Ure but you didn't stand a chance.
- The cast list. This is a song that opens with Lionel and Stevie Wonder and then goes to Paul Simon. Not Paul Young.
- Then Kenny Rogers! KENNY ROGERS!
- Tina Turner actually pushes James Ingram out of the way to sing her line. Love it. Tina Turner by the way - not Bananarama.
- Billy Joel.
- Michael Jackson's wardrobe. He looks like a pop star for goodness sake. He's wearing a white sparkly glove.
- Dionne Warwick. Yes. Indeed.
- Bruce Springsteen. He bellows it out as only Brucie can.
- Kenny Loggins. I'm all about the Kennys.
- The way Cyndi Lauper sings her line - proper laugh out loud.
- I hate Bob Dylan but nobody can deny he is a legend.
- Ray Charles. Ray Charles.
- The only song where you get a duet between Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen. And it works.
USA For Africa cons:
- OK, we get the superstars but there are some duds too. Huey Lewis? Al Jarreau? Fair enough they were stars at the time but Bette Midler doesn't get a solo line and they do?
- No Madonna.
- The lyrics are far too preachy and religious for me.
- It's a bit over indulgent and goes on for too long.
Weighing it up, I have to say I prefer We Are The World. It's simply a better song with bigger stars and proper show business razz. If I could only take one with me to a desert island, I'd pick that one. Having said that, I do still love Do They Know It's Christmas because I have such fond memories of it and reading Smash Hits avidly.
We really did know how to do this sort of thing in the 80s.