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Last Updated: Friday, 26 November, 2004, 18:03 GMT
Travis star defends Band Aid song
Farn Healy
Fran Healy will travel to Sudan next month
Travis frontman Fran Healy has defended the Band Aid 20 version of Do They Know It's Christmas? - branding criticism of the single "disgraceful".

The track is being re-released on Monday to raise money for victims of the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

Healy, who played on the track, said: "The thing is, this song is for the new generation of 11, 12, 13-year-olds."

Healy is planning to visit the Darfur region for six days next month, backed by charity Save the Children.

Critics were merely comparing the new song "to their memories" of the 1984 original, he said.

"When the record came out and went to radio, there was absolute fury it seemed - bile sprayed forth about how awful it is and how terrible it is and blah blah blah... "

He added: "The song was played so many times on the radio, and I bet you every single person who's commented negatively on the record hadn't been listening to the original.

'Brilliant' rap

"They were comparing it to a memory, to all their memories, not just of that song, but of their childhood and their whole history and if you're re-recording a song and basically saying to people 'times have changed, we've moved on', that is hard to take.

"I'd probably feel the same way had I not played on it."

It's not a big nostalgia trip to remember our childhoods in the '80s
Fran Healy
Healy continued: "This is disgraceful. The clear message is that it's not about the song - it never was in the beginning about the song - but it is what makes the song special and unlike any other."

The 31-year-old also defended the rap by Dizzee Rascal which appears towards the end of the new version, saying it was aimed at a younger audience.

He said: "Dizzee's rap is fantastic, it's fabulous - 'you ain't gotta feel guilt just selfless, give a little help to the helpless.'

"What a brilliant line, help to the helpless - I've never heard that used ever."

Healy said he decided to travel to Darfur after speaking with Midge Ure about his 1980s trip to Ethiopia.

"Someone needs to go out to give the song a little bit of background, to say 'This is why the song is coming out. It's not all about nostalgia. It's not a big nostalgia trip to remember our childhoods in the '80s'," he explained.

"The thing is, out there the folk are so traumatised by war, I don't know what to expect. "I hope goodwill and kindness will manage to cut through that horror."

Compare the original with the 1989 and 2004 versions


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