Puck’s Christmas Favorites: Do They Know It’s Christmas?
The original version of the 1984 charity single is still, in my opinion, the best. In aid of the famine in Ethiopia, it was the first of many, many 1980s star-studded benefit songs. There’s a sincerity and innocence of spirit to “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” that USA for Africa’s schmaltzy me-too! “We Are the World” doesn’t even come close to matching.
I first heard the song soon after it was released in December of 1984 and hit big everywhere. A girl at my school transcribed the lyrics with the names of who sang which lines. (I remember her having put a question mark where Bono’s name should have been. Canadian twelve-year-olds in 1984 could be forgiven for not being familiar with U2. But we sure knew who Boy George, Simon LeBon, Paul Young, and a WHAM!-era George Michael were.) It’s become a Christmas classic in its own right, and never fails to stir up some very pleasant memories.