Entertainment

Bob Geldof fires up Band Aid 30 to battle Ebola

Bob Geldof, Irish musician and activist, launched Band Aid 30 on Monday in London to raise funds for the Ebola fight, three decades after first spearheading charity single Do They Know It's Christmas.

Musician preparing to release re-record of Do They Know It's Christmas to help West Africa

Bob Geldof, right, and Midge Ure launched Band Aid 30 on Monday in London. The pair will re-record the classic charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas a fourth time, raising money to fight Ebola. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Bob Geldof is firing up a star-studded musical campaign to battle Ebola, three decades after his original Band Aid movement took on famine in Ethiopia.

The Irish musician and activist launched Band Aid 30 on Monday in London with his long time collaborator, Scottish musician Midge Ure. The pair founded the original Band Aid movement in 1984, recording the chart topping charity single Do They Know It's Christmas.

The original track featured big stars of the day, such as Boy George, George Michael, Bono and Sting. It sold 3.7 million copies and raised $14 million for famine relief.

Geldof and Ure recorded the original Do They Know It's Christmas in 1984. It sold 3.7 million copies and raised $14 million for famine relief in Ethiopia. (Larry Ellis/Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Inspired by bravery

"I don’t like doing this stuff. It’s quite boring," Geldof admitted. "It’s quite embarrassing calling people you don’t know and other artists."

But, the 60-year-old said, it was the "phenomenal bravery" of the nurses and doctors heading to West Africa to treat Ebola patients that inspired him to pick up the phone to call "some of the giants from the past."

Bono, Coldplay and boy band One Direction are just a few of the bestselling artists who have signed on record the 2014 version. Do They Know It's Christmas has also been recorded in 1989 and 2004.

'Buy this thing'

The latest version will be available on CD and download on Nov. 17 with proceeds going to fight Ebola — a disease Geldof regards as "a filthy little virus."

"It renders humans untouchable, and that is sickening," Geldof said.

"Mothers can’t comfort their children in their dying hours. Lovers can’t cradle each other. Wives can’t hold their husbands' hands. People are chased down streets because of it."

The music industry has gone through a wholesale transformation since Geldof and Ure first floated their groundbreaking pop music campaign 30 years ago. And Geldof is keenly aware of the threat that digital piracy and free music sharing present to Band Aid 30's success.

"It really doesn’t matter if you don’t like this song," he said. "It really doesn’t matter if you hate the artists. It really doesn’t matter if it turns out to be a lousy recording. What you have to do is buy this thing."

now