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Last Updated: Thursday December 16 2004 16:12 GMT

Worksheet: Band Aid history

Bob Geldof
In 1984 a television journalist called Michael Buerk brought to the world's attention the full horror of a famine that was happening in Ethiopia, one of the world's poorest countries.

As people across the UK were sitting down to their evening meal the news channels screened horrifying pictures of children with stomachs bloated through starvation, their fly-blown eyes glazed with fever. Children died on screen, and the nation was profoundly shocked.

A rock musician called Bob Geldof, the lead singer in a band called The Boomtown Rats, was so deeply upset and dismayed by what he saw that he decided something had to be done.

He put together a large group of pop stars - all of whom worked for free - to record a single. "Band Aid" was born and from then on nobody could pretend they knew nothing about Africa's starving millions.

Band Aid was the name of the group which recorded the original single "Do They Know It's Christmas? / Feed The World". Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, the song was recorded on November 25th 1984 by a group consisting of almost 40 of the UK and Ireland's best-known pop stars of the time.

Several other countries and organisations followed suit - the best-known being USA for Africa with "We Are The World", until in early 1985 the idea of a concert to raise money for the cause was suggested.

Eventually the concert mushroomed into sixteen hours of music from around the world, featuring many of the biggest stars of the time: 'Live Aid'. At the last estimate, the event had raised over 65 million. It also made a whole generation more aware of the needs of people living half a world away.

Originally Geldof hoped to raise 72,000 for charities from sales of the single, but that estimate was exceeded almost immediately the record went on sale. It went on to sell over three million copies in the UK, becoming the best-selling record ever, raising over 8 million worldwide.


1. What was happening in Ethiopia in 1984?

2. What is famine?

3. Who is Bob Geldof?

4. What did he do?

5. Who else helped raise money for people in Ethiopia?

6. What was Live Aid?

7. How much money was raised from Live Aid?

8. How much money was raised through the sale of the original single Do They Know It's Christmas? / Feed The World?

9. How much money was raised in total for the people of Ethiopia?

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