Tuesday, December 15, 2015

#BoTB: The Christmas Special

If you grew up in the 80's, chances are you already have a favorite in this Battle of the Bands.

First up: 25 November 1984, Bob Geldof's Band Aid records Do They Know It's Christmas to raise funds for Ethiopia. (WARNING: tough, tough images.)




Another version, in case the first video doesn't play (thanks, Lee!)...




Inspired by the UK initiative, the US follows suit: seven weeks later, in January 1985, USA for Africa records We Are The World.




These two songs marked an era. A turning outward of the world's focus... The birth, arguably, of a global social consciousness. Which one do you think does a better job of getting this global-consciousness across? Which one touches you deepest? More pragmatically, which has the best cast, the best music, the best arrangement? Which has a better chance of getting played on your Christmas / year-end playlists? Tell us and cast your vote in the comments!

Like the Band Aid video says at the end, the dying continues—perhaps not in Ethiopia anymore, not at that scale... But we've only to look at Syria, for instance, to see we've done a pretty ugly job of "making the world a better place." And, still, I believe the message of these songs works. If we stand together, if we all do something, no matter how small, the aggregate result is a positive one.

'Tis the season for giving. Whose life will you make a tiny bit better this Christmas?

May you have a Christmas full of goodwill and cheer, and may you spread that cheer to those who have less. Happy holidays, all.

More epic Battles being fought at these awesome blogs!


Thanks as always to Stephen and FAE for keeping the Battle spirit going.

46 comments :

  1. The Band Aid cut was not available for me. I think I found another version at
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc8TYsYb5i0 That's the one I'm going to use.

    I've always felt moved by "We Are the World" and it's cool to see all the music greats participating.

    Tough choice. I'm not as familiar with the Band Aid song, but it's a very good one. On the basis of sentimentality and the way it moves me I'm going to go with "We Are the World"--I think the song holds up better over the years.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


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    1. Sorry about that, Lee... I seem to be picking all the videos you can't watch! I got a new one... Hopefully that one will play for everyone. Thanks for letting me know.

      I know what you mean about We Are The World... And I wonder if most people will feel the same, that is, Americans voting for WETW and Europeans for Band Aid, based on which one was heard most often where you lived back then. The results for this one will be interesting.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  2. I grew up all through the MTV age in the 80's. They played both of these songs quite a bit. I liked Duran Duran , and George Michaels and Spandau Ballet in Band Aid but I think my favorite goes to We are the world. Huge heavy hitters like Michael Jackson, Willie Nelson, Tina turner, Paul Simon- it still gives me a chill.

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    1. I remember those Band Aid / USA for Africa bouts on MTV, Holli... Both songs got a lot of exposure back then :) Yes, the line-ups are awesome! Got you down for We Are The World :)

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  3. I wish the 80s never ended, not only that we enjoyed peace then, but it was the only decade when music was actually alive and talent was in focus, both in music and on film. We could forget the fashion, though :)

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    1. Too right, Dez... Also on the fashion—jeez, how did we get away with that?!?! I actually owned a shirt very much like the one George Michael is wearing in the video... TE-RRI-BLE!!! And the hair... No, you're right, I'm glad that bit of it is over :D But yes, the focus on talent (versus, say, image or politics) would be a welcome return.

      Thanks for the visit :)

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  4. You know, never heard the 2nd song before, but I can tell you... not a fan! I much prefer the Band Aid song, though the lyrics are a little bit of a downer now that I'm actually listening listening to them. Hm.

    Happy holidays to you, too! :)

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    1. Hahahahahahaha... Madilyn, I hear you. And yes, the Band Aid lyrics aren't exactly "merry"... Then again, I believe that was the point ;)

      Your vote is the first for Band Aid! Let's see if they can make more headway in this predominantly American audience... So glad you stopped by :)

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  5. I really don't like either of these songs. I'll go with "Do They Know It's Christmas" because it annoys me less.

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  6. I find the Band Aid song more moving and realistic. I'm also an anglophile, so they get my vote. Soon 2016 will be here, and I'll have another year of dreaming that I'll go to England some day.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I'm not a child of the eighties. I realized as I watched the videos that I don't know who most of the Brits are. On We Are the World, I know who all the soloists are except one. I also think Bruce Springsteen always, always looks as if he's constipated. Someone needs to help him.

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    2. Hey, no jabs at The Boss, ha ha ha.

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    3. LOL, Janie :D Yeah, Bruce does seem a bit... uhm, uncomfortable? Sorry, Cherdo :D Got your vote for Band Aid, Janie—thanks!

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  7. Guilie, excellent battle. I would write what I think and feel, but it would become a novel. Truly, both songs still give me goosebumps and make me cry. Yet, I feel we are worse off. Truly we only provide a Band Aid of relief... so I vote for that production's song.

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    1. I'm so glad you liked this one, Dixie... Not many people did, apparently (comes with the territory, I know). And I totally want to hear/read that novel! Yes, I still cry with these (with one, especially, but I'll get into that tomorrow, on the results post), and every time I hear them I want to choke someone... How is it possible we haven't done enough? How have we let 30 years pass with only a 'Band Aid'? Still, there's hope in the fact that there are people like you, like everyone who's not just touched by these songs but moved to do something. Even just a little.

      Thanks for coming by, Dixie :)

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  8. Hi Guilie,

    Not being bias or anything, but what with me living in the UK, I vote for Band Aid. Although it never seems to get noted, their was also a Canadian version titled, "Tears Are Not Enough."

    Happy holidays to you and your loved ones.

    Gary :)

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    1. First I hear of this Canadian version... Shameful, I know. I'll look it up, maybe include it in tomorrow's result post. Thanks for that, Gary—and for the vote, and the holiday wishes. Same to you, and a most joyful 2016 :)

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  9. My vote goes to Band Aid. It's a lovely song, as is We Are The World. They call this the season for peace, and yet I never seem to find more than good intentions and never on the part of folks who could actually make peace. A great battle here. Pun intended. :)
    Have a truly wonderful Holiday, and a prosperous and peace filled New Year!

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    1. "Never seem to find more than good intentions and never on the part of folks who could actually make peace"—too right, Yolanda! It's disgusting, and stupid, and short-sighted, to give the business of war priority over the benefits of peace. And yet... well, maybe that's just the human way. We've a long, long way to go, don't we?

      Got you down for Band Aid, Yolanda. Thanks for that, and best wishes for you and yours!

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  10. I prefer Band Aid much better from the lyrics to the styling. We Are The World just seemed so full of themselves and I never cared for it. Canada did one too which i prefer over World but Band Aid is the best to me

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    1. Another vote for Band Aid! Thanks, Birgit!

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  11. Cast: WATW. Not even close. It's a legend passing the baton to another legend who passes it to another legend and so on and so forth. Then you got the variety of the voices and styles too. Btw - BA wasted their women.

    Lyrics / Arrangement: WATW wins the refrain and the opening sequence. BA wins the middle. They both kind of wane at the end, though WATW probably could have been a bit shorter.

    Voting for We Are the World.

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    1. Good observations, Mr. Elliptical... I'd never really noticed the women in Band Aid—which proves your point :) Got your vote for USA for Africa!

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  12. Hi Guilie - I'd have to go with Band Aid - being a Brit. Though it's good the concept caught on to remind others through music that life is pretty terrible during drought times, and now during war. Desperate times ...

    Helping others in all things - smiling, helping as we can, donating food to food banks and sharing our thoughts - opening our minds to other parts of the world - trying to learn about other places ... we are global.

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. So right, Hilary... Band Aid started something good, and I'm glad others picked it up. We are, indeed, global :)

      Thanks for the vote, Hilary!

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  13. Gotta really strain my brain to do this, but I'm going with We Are the World...but the truth is I like them ALL. Totally love them all. I got a real kick at these mega-star productions in their heyday.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and God bless, Guilie!

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    1. They were good, weren't they? Glad you liked this, Cherdo... And I understand what you mean with the brain strain, haha :) Got your vote for USA for Africa!

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  14. GUILIE, my friend...
    At the risk of sounding too much like that cranky curmudgeon Stephen T. McCarthy, I will say that I'm not a big fan of self-righteous, disgustingly wealthy celebrities preaching to me that I'm not thinking about and doing enough for the less fortunate.

    Heck, I'd sing a song to save the less fortunate, too, but nobody'd care to hear it.

    I know both of these songs well and of the two I'll vote for 'WE ARE THE WORLD', primarily because it's just too ironically funny watching Michael Jackson, dressed in an outfit only a blind cartoon character could love, singing "We are the children".

    And also Bob Dylan repeatedly referring to a lyric sheet in order to sing his 3 sentences.

    See? Even we cranky curmudgeons can find something to love.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year, Guilie! And remember... we are the blogosphere, we are the bloggers... [:o)

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. "an outfit only a blind cartoon character could love" — LOL, Stephen :D I agree, it's a hilarious moment, seeing how all that turned out... And Dylan's bit is too funny. Got you down for the American gig :)

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  15. Hey Guilie! Great battle!! I like both but I liked the Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" better so please give my vote to that one.

    Hope you are enjoying this holiday season. Merry Christmas to you! It's been great getting to know you this year... Enjoy every second of this wonderful season!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Same here, Michele! I'm so grateful for your friendship and your support, and I love your blog and your dog adventures :) Merry Christmas for you, too, and may the new year bring you all sorts of unexpected joys :)

      Thanks for the vote; one more for Band Aid!

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  16. Guile, I know both songs and each are fabulous songs raising awareness for its cause. Christmas needs be 365 days, instead of only one day out of the whole year for those we know and those we don't; when our heart speaks to give then give no matter when it is. You know? I think between these two songs, selection #2 moves me the most. So, I'm giving my vote to We Are the World. Cool battle, my friend! I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a bright and happy 2016!

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    1. "Christmas needs to be 365 days"... So true, Cathy. Tall order, but I'd love to see it happen.

      Got your vote for We Are the World! Glad you enjoyed the battle, and best wishes for you and yours!

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  17. I would have to go with We are the World. It's got many of my favourite artists and filled with a lot of 80 nostalgia.
    Not that the UK one doesn't, but the US version is so much better, IMO.

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    1. Lots and lots of 80s nostalgia... I agree, Jeff :)

      Another vote for USA for Africa!

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  18. They are both really excellent songs, and a fabulous cast of singers. They both make my playlist :) For me, no "one" message tops it.

    For this battle though, I'll vote for We Are The World. Many more of the individual singers get to lend their voice to the message, and when everyone sings, everyone sings. And, WE ARE THE WORLD is a little brighter message than just supporting one specific nation. Not that that isn't worthy. I try to give to charity as I can, but there are so many needy people, and my income/resources are limited. But, I give locally whenever I can spare the extra.

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    1. Good points, Donna... Yes, the US take on this does allow for more individual participation. And yes, the Band Aid message is a tad on the grim side, which makes for more difficult listening. I'm glad you help out when you can... It's really all we can do, right? All it takes is more people doing a little bit :)

      Thanks for the visit and the vote for USA!

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  19. This was so much fun. As someone who grew up on 80s music, it was a treat to see once again so many favorites back in their prime. So, I want to make it clear that I really loved both of these.

    BAND-AID... Can I tell you how many hours I spent watching MTV hoping for a Duran Duran video just so I could ogle John Taylor for three minutes? I know. It's pathetic. If only I'd grown up in the age of the internet I could've had YouTube at my disposal for this particular obsession. So, it took me back when Duran Duran joined in on the fun. I found myself, once again, eyes on the lookout for brief glimpses of my favorite bass player. Sigh.

    We Are The World. I confess I read Stephen T. McCarthy's comment before watching either of these. Ergo, I was on the lookout for Bob Dylan eyeballing his music for his three lines. And I laughed at Michael Jackson's outfit (but I'm sure it was EXPECTED of him, whether he wanted to wear it or not... image image image). The other thought I had was that BAND-AID was first and this was the USA's comeback. I can do anything bigger and better than you can. Europe pulled a handful of artists into their project. The USA went for broke. Hahahaha.

    All that said, I'm going with BAND-AID. I just think they did it better.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Robin! Hahahahaha... I'm with you on the Duran Duran ogling :D I'd never thought of the advantages to YouTube—you're so right (and now I feel totally cheated, haha).

      You raise excellent points... Yes, because Band Aid was first (and, apparently, was pulled together last-minute, grew from being two guys on a mission to however many ended up participating in something like 24 hours) they had the disadvantage of "breaking ground", so to speak... The US could plan it out, do it "right"... Good observation. And I love that you voted for Band Aid :)

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  20. Two important songs for some great causes. My vote is for Do They Know it's Christmas.

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  21. I visited awhile ago and didn't know what to do here. In the Spirit of Christmas and Christian love, peace, and kindness; I'm gonna abstain from voting. I hope you'll understand. Have a very Merry Christmas. See you at the next BATTLE.

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    1. Aw, FAE—no worries at all! I'm honored you came by (twice!) to tell me this. Merry Christmas to you, too :)

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  22. I applaud the purpose behind these songs, but I've got to admit that I would be just fine never hearing either again in this life. OVERLOAD, OVERLOAD. (Yeah, I grew up in the 80s.)

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    1. LOL, Tamara... I think most of us 80s children feel the same way :D Thanks for the visit!

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