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British stars gather to rerecord Band Aid hit

Coldplay's Chris Martin, Paul McCartney among contributors.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Some of Britain’s biggest pop stars gathered Sunday to record a new version of the hugely successful 1984 fund-raising hit “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” being rereleased this year to benefit victims of violence in Sudan.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Jamelia, Ms. Dynamite, Will Young and members of the bands Busted, the Darkness and Sugababes were all part of the project, called Band Aid 20.

Paul McCartney, U2’s Bono, Dido and Robbie Williams also participated in the new version, making their contributions ahead of time.

“It sounds gaudy, but I guess there is a legacy,” said Bob Geldof, who wrote “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in 1984 with Midge Ure, for a superstar group they called Band Aid.

The original record raised millions for those starving in Ethiopia.

Geldof and Ure organized this year’s effort, which will benefit those suffering in the Darfur region of Sudan. The song is due out Nov. 29.

Geldof, who also planned the 1985 Live Aid concerts and has been knighted for his activism, said he hoped the new recording would spur Britain’s government to use its 2005 stints heading the European Union and the G8 group of wealthy nations to improve life for those in poor countries.

“The reality is that only politics created this dilemma and only politics can resolve it,” he said.

Among those who participated in the 1984 recording were Boy George, George Michael, Sting, Phil Collins, Bono and the members of Duran Duran, Bananarama and Spandau Ballet.