Sunday, 11 October 2009

1989 Band Aid 2: Do They Know It's Christmas?

Well you know what's coming don't you? It's the 1984 Band Aid single re-recorded to the same ends by the cream of the 1989's crop of 'pop stars' along with Chris Rea, Cliff Richard and Rolf Harris. Strewth indeed.

Or almost to the same ends - in 1984, there was a risk that the whole project could have failed to capture public imagination and fallen flat on its face, but this time around it was known to be a sure-fire CV booster, and some of the folk involved truly needed all the boosting they could get. The song is as it ever was so I'm not going to plough an old furrow there, but what this follow up does usefully do is provide a 'now' snapshot to 1984's 'then' line-up to show the wilderness that was the 1989 UK popular music scene.

The old guard from the first single had long since been wiped clean off the slate of relevance and the world of frilly shirts and big hair seemed a lot further away than five years. The only link with the original single are two members of Bananarama, whose presence must surely be down to more luck than their innate longevity. The pop landscape was now dominated by the likes of Big Fun, Sonia, Lisa Stansfield, Bros etc, all of whom play their part in this and all of whom, like some Looney Tunes telling of 'Ozymandias' would in turn shortly disappear the way Spandau Ballet and Culture Club before them had.

Although the former two never really went away did they? They came to define the decade in the way that football violence, the Falklands war, the miner's strike, the three minute warning etc never could and they live on in the good natured world of nostalgia, retro bars, reunion tours, club theme nights, ironic parties endless 'Best Of's. And blogs like this. But who remembers The Pasadena's with any fondness anymore? Or indeed remembers them at all? As the eighties wore on, the sense of fun and individuality seemed to wear out, bleached by a diet of tunes of workaday electronica until it all blended into one mass of bland. I mean look - even the sleeve couldn't be arsed this time round.

What does it sound like? Well if you've been paying attention then you'll already know. Suffice it to say that Kylie gives one of the worst vocal performances on any recording to reach number one and the famous 'Bono line' is shared between renowned humanitarian Matt Goss and Saint Jason Donovan. If you haven't been paying attention, then shame on you. Your penance shall be to spend all Christmas Day listening to it on auto repeat while 'The Best Of Noel Edmonds At Christmas' plays on the telly in an endless loop. That will learn you.

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