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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 October 2004, 07:07 GMT 08:07 UK
Band Aid stars 1984 vs 2004
Some of the biggest names in British music have been lined up to take part in a new Band Aid charity single. But how do modern stars match up to the original line-up of 1984?


George Michael

The Wham! singer was one of the biggest stars at the time of Band Aid, after the duo had huge global hits that year with Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and Freedom. Michael also had his first solo success with Careless Whisper.

Wham! would have had the UK Christmas number one too with Last Christmas - their biggest-selling single - had Band Aid not been released.

Although only a duo, Wham!'s style set the trend for future boy bands, and Michael continued to have huge solo success - unlike his partner Andrew Ridgley.

Robbie Williams

Everyone expected Williams to be the Andrew Ridgley rather than the George Michael of Take That after the most popular British boy band of the 1990s split up.

But Williams' boy band days are now behind him and he has gone on to be the most successful UK music star for the best part of a decade.

Like Michael, he achieved that with a mixture of ballads and upbeat dancefloor-friendly songs - although he has never matched Michael's US success. His last album, Escapology, has sold six million copies worldwide - but only 130,000 of those came in the US.



By 1984, U2 had been going for eight years and just had their biggest hit with Pride (In The Name of Love).

Many U2 songs had political messages but lead singer Bono's global campaigning really started after Band Aid, and he has become a forceful voice on Aids and global debt.

They were one of the biggest new rock bands around and, with The Smiths, provided a more credible alternative to the prevalent pop acts of the day.

But Bono also had one of the worst mullet hairstyles of the 1980s - which is saying something. He is expected to join the line-up again this time.

Chris Martin

Coldplay are at a similar stage in their careers as U2 were in 1984, and frontman Chris Martin even had a silly hairstyle in their early days.

Coldplay's music is similarly grand, although they have been accused of being too effete and making "music for bedwetters".

But they have enjoyed success on both sides of the Atlantic, winning the record of the year at the Grammys this year. Martin is leading the current crop of rock stars with a conscience, campaigning for fair global trade.

Status Quo

Status Quo

Masters of the 12-bar boogie, Status Quo were veterans of the British rock scene even in 1984, after 15 years in the business.

But they were still enjoying regular top 10 hits at the time of Band Aid, with a style that may not have been very complex or deep, but was certainly popular.

They opened Live Aid the following year and have sold more than 100 million albums, despite being banned by Radio 1 in 1995.

The Darkness

The UK's latest heavy rock Gods do not have as much mileage behind them as the Quo, but the bands share a love of a no-nonsense guitar riff.

The Darkness shot to fame in 2003 and won three Brit Awards in February 2004, cementing something of a revival in hard-living, hard-playing rock.

They also owe a lot to the more flamboyant and colourful bands of the mid-1980s, such as Queen and AC/DC.



The leading British girl group of the 1980s, Bananarama had 14 UK top 20 hits from 1982-91.

Discovered by ex-Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, they were not afraid to be fluffy and inject a bit of fun into their songs and shows - in keeping with the age.

At the end of 1984, they had just enjoyed their biggest hit to date, Robert De Niro's Waiting - a great pop tune with lyrics that dealt with the issue of rape.


Another hit all-girl trio, Sugababes have tried to present themselves as much cooler than the average fluffy group, winning a Brit Award for best dance group in 2003.

But they have always remained in the pop mould, not least because they have had three songs popular enough to go to number one - something Bananarama never achieved.

They have had a total of 11 UK top 20 singles over four years - fast approaching Bananarama's tally.

Spandau Ballet

Spandau Ballet

Spandau Ballet were one of the more restrained pop groups of the mid-1980s, preferring smoother ballads to the more high-octane offerings of other big names.

But they did still employ the same electronic effects and backing harmonies as others around them.

They will be remembered for their biggest hits, Gold and True, which epitomised the more sophisticated end of the glossy pop scene of 1983.


Travis would be horrified to be compared to Spandau Ballet - but both have an expert ear for a great tune that taps into the emotions and are separated by 15 years, several hundred cans of hairspray and little else.

Travis are firmly in the rock camp, though, with a more conventional singer-guitars-drums set-up and ignoring any notion of synthesiser or saxophone input.

But their biggest hits, such as Writing To Reach You, Why Does It Always Rain On Me? and Sing, are old-fashioned ballads that hit a nerve at the end of the 1990s.

The other acts say just as much about how much the UK music scene has changed in the last 20 years.

Band Aid
The first Band Aid single made 8m to help the starving in Ethiopia
Duran Duran, Boy George, Paul Young, Heaven 17 and Kool and the Gang - who all took part in the original Band Aid - are associated with a more gaudy era that shall forever remain frozen in history.

Their nearest modern equivalents are today's bubblegum pop acts like Busted and Will Young - although Duran Duran are proving there is life in the 80s stars yet.

Phil Collins and Sting, who also took part, were up there with George Michael as global solo stars of the kind Britain has struggled to produce since.

Dido, who will lend her vocals to the new single, is the nearest the UK has got - and she only found fame after appearing on an Eminem single.

Rap was barely on the radar in 1984, as was the modern, hip-hop-infused R&B of the sort Beverley Knight, Jamelia, Ms Dynamite, Lemar and Estelle will bring to the new song.

The female presence will be much higher this time. In 1984, there was only Bananarama and Jody Watley, singer with soul group Shalamar.

But this time, as well as Dido and the R&B princesses, there will be chart-topper Natasha Bedingfield, easy-jazz singer Katie Melua and Morcheeba's Skye Edwards.

More rock acts, such as Feeder, Keane, Snow Patrol and Ash's Tim Wheeler, are all expected to take part this time.

Sir Paul McCartney, arguably the UK's biggest living music legend, was not involved in 1984 - but does not want to miss out this time.

Last but not least on the 1984 roll-call were Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof and Ultravox's Midge Ure - who made it all happen.


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