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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November 2004, 08:08 GMT
How Band Aid 20 came together
By Shane Murray
Mercury Records

The new Band Aid single has been put together in record time - from a trip by Band Aid supremo Bob Geldof and Prime Minister Tony Blair to Ethiopia in early October to release on Monday. The momentum built up as October went on.

Shane Murray, who co-ordinated the release for Mercury Records, joined the project at the end of the month. He takes up the story of how it happened.


We had a set-up meeting and that was the first time we knew something was going to happen. It was people getting round a table for the first time. Usually with a record, the set-up time can be indefinite.

Fran Healy
Fran Healy was a vital addition to the line-up
As a record company, we were trying to put together a very, very strict timeline that we had to stick to. Production schedules got thrown out of the window and we had to break the rules.

There had been no date set in stone and some of the key artists had come on board.

The Band Aid Trust had approached Nigel Godrich as a producer. He was able to get in a couple of key people who would serve as a catalyst for others to come on board - one being Chris Martin and the other being Fran Healy from Travis. Their involvement gave a lot of credibility towards what we were trying to do.


Robbie Williams did his bit in Los Angeles. He did it really early and Fran had done the guide vocal to a backing track that Midge and Nigel had come up with.


We had our first meeting with production company Initial, which is behind the forthcoming BBC One documentary, and the promo video.

The same day, we had the first meeting with our new media department, looking at things like ringtones and downloads.


Band Aid CDs
The CDs were made at factories in Blackburn and Hanover
It was the launch of the Live Aid DVD and the press interest began in earnest that week. Artists were getting on board day by day - we had a constantly changing press release.

You could tell it was building up to be a special day because so many people were saying "yes, we'll do anything we can to help".


The Trust had Damien Hirst's cover artwork for a couple of days before deciding they didn't want to use it, for their own reasons.

I had to react to that knowing that we had deadlines and we wanted someone who could turn around something fast but would do a fantastic job.

I asked one company, Big Active. "How long have we got?", they asked.

I said: "About 24 hours."


Band Aid CDs
The record is expected to be number one on Sunday
We had a 6pm deadline for the artwork and we got there. Everyone was absolutely delighted with it.

We had to have all our artwork and tracklisting and label copy all finished before the actual recording of the song took place because we had to start manufacturing the physical packaging in advance of making the CDs.

Instead of making 50,000 paper parts to put into CD cases, you're making 1.5 million. Two factories in Blackburn and Hanover began work.


We managed to have the backing track done by the time everyone came in on the Sunday. Quite a few people had done their vocal lines on the Saturday - Sugababes, Tom Chaplin from Keane, Justin and Dan from The Darkness had come in to do their guitar lines and Justin's vocal.


It certainly seemed that anyone who was there over the course of the weekend knew why they were there and were very privileged to be there.

They were just so amazing, so proactive, so eager to help. So many people beyond the recording day have said "what can we do to help?"

Bob spelled out in very clear terms - the difference they were making today will save people's lives because people are going to go out and buy this record.


The record was actually mastered at Abbey Road studio at 2pm and we had various members of our radio promotions team on standby at Abbey Road.

They were handed about 30 or 40 master reference copies that afternoon and one of the promotions team flew up direct to Scotland. Another one went over to a CD duplication place.

Meanwhile, our production facilities had been sent by satellite the master of the new recording. They were able to physically turn around finished copies from about 4pm on Monday.


We had various people at radio stations across London and in Scotland and they hand-delivered the CDs at about 7:58 so nobody would jump the gun.

Band Aid CDs
The single hit the shops on Monday
Will Young went onto the Chris Moyles show on BBC Radio 1, Jamelia went into Capital in London, Fran went into Virgin. We wanted to create a moment with both the radio first play and the video first play. You're trying to make as much impact in a two-week period as you would normally build up over a six-week period.


You have to have a week which is called call-off a week before the release date.

All your orders have to be in and you have to be in a position to send it to retailers over the course of the week so they can get them to their various stores. So from mastering the record on the Monday, we had to have all the stock at our Milton Keynes distribution warehouse by Friday.


Jamelia promoted the record to London radio listeners
We made TV and radio ads, which lots of people generously donated their time for.

Jo Whiley did the voiceover for free when she happened to be doing another job. We've been trying to keep the profile out there as much as profile. We're just going to send those out to everyone and say "if you've got any space for an ad, give us some".


I just want as many people as possible to buy it because it's been a privilege working with the people who have been a part of this.

Hopefully, we can make as many people as possible realise 20 years beyond the first Band Aid, there is a need to profile this again. It wasn't done to raise any artist's profile - it was done because the problems in Africa still exist.

Compare the original with the 1989 and 2004 versions


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