Tag Archives: Midge Ure

➤ INDEX of posts for June 2011

Boy George, 50th birthday,Jon Moss, Barbara Moss,

That Man in the Middle: George O’Dowd at his 50th birthday party with former Culture Club drummer and father of three children, Jon Moss and his wife Barbara. © Dave Benett/Getty

➢ Jarvis takes his lyrics to Eliot’s publisher Faber — video interview with Pulp’s songwriter

➢ Too cool to crow — Paradise Point just happen to be gigging in Hyde Park before Grace and Pulp top the bill

➢ Lest we forget: man has changed his ways since Peter Wyngarde cracked the sickest joke on vinyl

➢ Irrational, Professor Cox! Discussing science in a tent at Glastonbury?

➢ Martin Kemp’s Stalker gets autumn DVD release

➢ Will the magical blasts from the past follow St Martin’s out of Soho? Plus — Pulp’s finest hour at the art school’s farewell party

➢ Heaven 17 remind us how electronic music can send the soul soaring!

➢ The Blitz Kids WATN? No 28: Stephen Linard, fashion designer

➢ Hot days, cool nights, as Blue Rondo join the new Brits changing the pop charts — first glimpse of the crazy seven-piece as the 1981 charts fill with the new British pop

Pepsi DeMacque, Shirlie Holliman, Pepsi & Shirlie, then and now,Here & Now, tour

Back on tour: Pepsi & Shirlie in 1987, and this year photographed by Shirlie Kemp’s daughter, Harleymoon

➢ When Shirl asked Peps if she fancied an arena tour, Peps said to Shirl, Why not? — TV interview

➢ EPIC forecasts for the 2015 media landscape loom closer than we think

➢ Aside from the freaks, George, who else came to your 50th birthday party?

➢ One million people think Charlie really is SoCoolLike — meet  the UK’s most popular YouTuber

➢ 1904, The day Nora made a man of Joyce — Bloomsday celebrated

➢ Boy George hits the big Five-0 and he now says, yes, he has ‘lots of regrets’

Paradise Point, Run In Circles , video, Cameron Jones,pop music

Cameron Jones: Paradise Point vocalist

➢ Hear about the many lives of Midge Ure, the Mr Nice of pop — This Is Your Life, 2001

➢ Wise-cracking Sallon shimmies back onto London’s party scene — Boy George’s best friend recovers after assault

➢ Mix your own version of Bowie’s Golden Years with a new iPhone app

➢ 2010, Lady Gaga ousts Lily Allen as UK’s most played artist

➢ Martin Rushent is dead — friends pay tribute to the man who made stars of the Human League and shaped the sound of 80s electro-pop

➢ What happens when retromania exhausts our pop past — Simon Reynolds on our compulsion to relive and reconsume pop history

➢ Up close and cool — Paradise Point’s first official video wins Boy George’s approval

Farewell St Martin’s, Pulp, Jarvis Cocker,University of the Arts, CSM,

Pulp playing at St Martin’s: Jarvis Cocker bids farewell to his old art school at the best party for years. Grabbed from gstogdon’s YouTube video

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2001 ➤ Hear about the many lives of Midge Ure, the Mr Nice of pop


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Midge Ure ,Ultravox,Live Aid, Band Aid, pop music❚ FRESH ON YOUTUBE, the life of “all-round good bloke” Midge Ure OBE, the former engineering apprentice from Glasgow who decided to play guitar. Told for the BBC’s This Is Your Life in 2001. We hear the Stumble demo tape complete with ice-cream van chimes, how for Salvation his name Jim was turned backwards to make Midge (because it was posher than Mij), how he became a teenybop star in Slik, joined “this filthy punk band” Rich Kids in London and co-founded Visage, survived the US tour as a Thin Lizzy stand-in sporting a pink shirt and yellow Aladdin trousers, and being pipped to the No 1 chart spot in Ultravox. Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp describes Midge as “one of the nicest blokes I’ve ever met in the music business” while Gary Kemp believes Midge’s pencil moustache defined the New Romantics stance of the 80s.

Midge Ure ,Ultravox, pop music, Chris Tarrant, This Is Your Life

Chris Tarrant, host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? — cruelly reminding Midge Ure on TIYL of the superior act that kept Ultravox from the No 1 spot in the charts © BBC

Midge Ure ,Ultravox,Live Aid, Band Aid, pop music, Bob Geldof,1984, This Is Your Life

This Is Your Life, 2001: Bob Geldof who sprang the surprise on Midge Ure

And of course we hear of the day in 1984 when Bob Geldof had seen the tearjerking news bulletin about the famine in Ethiopia, and rang his partner, the TV presenter Paula Yates, who was working at Tyne Tees Television and he asked who was appearing on The Tube pop show that week. She said Midge Ure. Put him on, said Geldof, “And I was embarrassed because I’m not having hits, he’s having mega-hits”, and Geldof was trying to propose making the epic charity record by Band Aid [read more at Shapersofthe80s on the song that became the biggest hit in British pop history]. “And Midge said ‘Are you going to write it?’ And I said well I dunno, and he said ‘You write a bit and I’ll write a bit’. An instant solution without me being embarrassed. And within a day a tape came over. He was so enthusiastic.” The rest was Band Aid/Live Aid history.


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➤ Martin Rushent — the man who made stars of the Human League — is dead

Martin Rushent , electronic music, British pop, swinging 80s,

Martin Rushent with Korg Super Section programmable sequencer (1985)

❚ A TRUE SHAPER OF THE 80s DIED YESTERDAY. Martin Rushent, the mould-breaking UK music producer, was 63 when he suffered a heart attack at his home in Berkshire. What he stamped on 80s electronica was a rhythmic template of synths and drum machines that came to characterise much mainstream pop, notably The Human League’s breakthrough album Dare in 1981, which spent 71 weeks in the UK chart, and became a worldwide smash. Rushent was known as a hard taskmaster. He insisted on bringing the Sheffield-based band south to escape the “unhealthy atmosphere” of Monumental Studios oop north, and his influence was not immediately welcomed by the League’s leader Phil Oakey, following the early band’s split and reconfiguration in 1980.

Dare, The Human League,album, pop music, Martin RushentIt began with their first single The Sound of the Crowd [see video below] which peaked at No 12. Rushent was a pioneer of the remix, who decided to improve on the League’s original version of Dare by creating 1982’s Love And Dancing, a complete makeover of the original album. It went to No 3 in the LP chart and is today regarded as his game-changing calling card. As with the Stranglers earlier, Rushent achieves a razor-sharp clarity for each instrument, here dominated by the electronics he so believed in. The Scottish pop group Altered Images also enjoyed chart hits thanks to Rushent’s production. He was named Best British producer in the 1982 BRIT Awards.

The Stranglers,rock music,No More HeroesMany also regard Rushent as the best new-wave producer of the late 70s through his work with The Stranglers, Britain’s longest-surviving rock band from that post-punk era (he produced their first three albums which would become both commercial and classic, Rattus Norvegicus, No More Heroes and Black and White), as well as Gen X, Buzzcocks, XTC, 999 and Hazel O’Connor. Other acts he engineered earlier in the 70s were T.Rex, David Essex, Fleetwood Mac, Yes and Shirley Bassey.

Rushent custom-built a £250,000 high-tech recording studio at his home near Reading where, he said, “The air-conditioning alone cost me £35,000”. Here ex-Buzzcock Pete Shelley made his debut album Homosapien (1981) as a solo artist for Rushent’s record label Genetic. This had its London office a couple of floors up from the legendary Blitz club where Rusty Egan and Steve Strange ushered in the New Romantics movement in 1979. Egan says that Rushent facilitated two Visage tracks, Tar and Frequency 7 (“recorded in his garage in 1979”).

His 37-year-old first son Tim says his father hated playing by any accepted rules of the game and brought irreverence to the production process. His musical signature was to add a sophisticated mix of vibrance and colour, so beefing up the musical temperature higher than a band managed to achieve for themselves. He cites The Human League’s first No 1 hit Don’t You Want Me, and Fascination (as well as Altered Images’ Happy Birthday album track). Dad’s tactic had been to bring into The Human League punk rocker Jo Callis from the Rezillos to act as a co-writer and catalyst.

Human League, Phil Oakey, Joanne Catherall ,Susan Sulley

The Human League, 1981: Phil Oakey and the girls he immortalised in that lyric, Joanne Catherall and Susan Sulley

BBC journalist Linda Serck recalls how Rushent made clear who was boss when he met The Human League: “They were under the impression that I was going to work on what they’d done so far and improve that and carry on. I said, ‘No I’m not doing that, we’re starting again’, which was a bit of a shock for Phil [Oakey]. He argued about that but I said, ‘No, if I’m going to produce you, you’re going to do what I tell you to do’. This is my attitude to everybody I produce, it’s a sort of democratic dictatorship!”

Tragically for producer and band, the end came abruptly after three years’ hard work. In a moment of pique, backing singer Susan Sulley (famously discovered while at school dancing “in a cocktail bar”) asked the perfectionist Rushent, who was old enough to be her father: “What do you know about what young people want?” In any normal workplace this would be grounds for her dismissal. In this case, the insult detonated the end of a lucrative, million-selling business partnership.

Today, Rushent leaves his wife, Ceri, and four children from two marriages.

➢ “When producer Martin Rushent took the Human League’s leaden new song and turned it into pop gold, the band hated it” — A revealing interview with Sound On Sound, 2010

♫ Peaches by The Stranglers — “Bass sound?! I asked him one time how he got that bass sound, he said: I turned everything up” — James Rushent, his second son, a musician.

♫ Three days ago Martin Rushent listened to two of his own tracks at his MySpace page: In Your Arms Again (from 2007) and Itchy Hips (2006).

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AMONG TRIBUTES FLOODING IN TODAY

Hugh Cornwell , The Stranglers,Hugh Cornwell (left), vocalist and guitarist with The Stranglers: “ It is with great sadness that I hear of Martin Rushent’s passing. He was a vibrant and gifted individual who was able to extract the essence of what The Stranglers began with, and translate it into something that could be played on radios across the UK. It was obviously no one-off success, as he was later to show with The Human League. I remember him fondly.

Midge Ure of Ultravox “ He saw the potential in synthesisers and a future in electronic music. Sad loss for all music.

Visage drummer Rusty Egan: “ Martin, Midge Ure, Barry Adamson, Billy Currie, Dave Formula, John McGeogh, myself and Steve Strange all hanging in your house in summer of 1979 recording our debut album VISAGE … Because YOU believed … THANK YOU … You were a total genius, and like all geniuses before you, you had a crazy life but an amazing body of work … I am welling up remembering your kindness and love for music…
➢ Listen to Rusty Egan’s set of Martin Rushent re-mixes from the 80s dancefloor newly uploaded to Soundcloud

Altered Images drummer ‘Tich’ Anderson: “ I’ll remember all those hours in Genetic studios fondly. Sorry for crashing your Jaguar. xxxxxx You were a genius Martin.

Visage vocalist Steve Strange: “ Martin one was not only a genius but as a 17-year-old making his first record, he was a true role model, inspiration and guiding figure. He signed our first record Tar to his record label and for us, started the ball rolling. We owe him so much. Thank you.

Tim Rushent, son and sound producer: “ As many of you know I had a VERY fractious relationship with my Dad. But I never doubted his work as a producer, friend and raconteur. Feeling even more proud of him professionally today than I have done for 37 years.

➢ Pay your own tribute at the Facebook page Martin Rushent Memories

Prof Ben Rosamond, Uni of Copenhagen: “ Just under 36 minutes of music, but thousands of hours in the making. According to Simon Reynolds in Rip it Up, Love and Dancing consisted of 2,200 main edits and a further 400 small edits. There were so many splices that the mastertape was close to disintegration. The work of a genius. Others have said this, but it’s true for me as well. Martin, you fashioned the soundtrack of my teenage years and so many of the melodies and musical phrases that pop in and out of my adult consciousness are yours. Thank you. Rest in peace.

Heather Priestley, anaesthetic ODP, London: “ Martin you were a much loved legend, RIP. I haven’t felt this sad since losing John Peel, like you, part of my youth and the music that made me who I am today.

➢ Telegraph obituary: “Rushent forged a new way of sequencing and programming synthesiser-based music — in the process pioneering the technique of sampling”


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1980s ➤ So many shapers shaped the decade that people think was all down to Margaret Thatcher

A handful of key books this year have added to our estimations of that much demonised decade, the 1980s, and to our understanding of its cultural shifts. Shapersofthe80s has of course always drawn a distinction between the youthful creativity of the earlier Swinging 80s, and the ethos that finally took hold in Britain and earned the name of “Thatcherism”

Loadsamoney, Harry Enfield, Thatcherism1980s

Emblem of the 80s: Harry Enfield’s yob character, Loadsamoney. © Rex features

➢ Rejoice, Rejoice!: Britain in the 1980s,
by Alwyn W Turner (Aurum Press, 426 pages)

Alwyn Taylor, Rejoice!,1980s,book❏ A SHARP AND WITTY ANALYSIS of the 80s came this year from cultural historian, Alwyn Turner. Its savage title Rejoice! Rejoice! echoes the triumphal cry that burst from the lips of prime-minister-turned-warrior-queen Margaret Thatcher in 1982 when victory was declared over Argentina in the Falklands War (910 dead, 1,965 casualties). Reviewing the book in The Sunday Times, Dominic Sandbrook wrote: “One of the pleasures of Alwyn Turner’s breathless romp through the 1980s is that it overflows with unusual juxtapositions and surprising insights. Who knew, for example, that not only Alan McGee’s Creation Records but the bawdy magazine Viz were set up with money from Thatcher’s Enterprise Allowance Scheme, dismissed at the time as a feeble attempt to disguise the horrors of mass unemployment?

“Where this book really shines is on the intersections between politics and popular culture… For Turner, the defining characteristic of the 1980s was its obsession with size: big money, big hair, big issues, big politics. But what also emerges from his account is the sheer, unashamed nastiness of public life during the Thatcher years. This was a time, after all, when Thatcher’s cheerleader [disc-jockey] Kenny Everett publicly joked about kicking [the elderly opposition leader] ‘Michael Foot’s stick away’, while thousands chanted ‘Ditch the bitch’ at anti-government demonstrations.

“It is a refreshing surprise, however, to read a book on the 1980s in which Thatcher, while naturally dominant, does not entirely drive out all other voices. As Turner admits, the Iron Lady cast a larger shadow over national life than any other prime minister since Churchill: the style magazine i-D, a quintessential product of the decade, called her ‘almost a fact of nature’. But the results of her revolution were mixed at best, and the irony is that in many ways her policies had the opposite effect from what she hoped.”

Turner is not alone in presenting Harry Enfield’s comic character Loadsamoney as the emblematic figurehead for Thatcherism, a swaggering slob waving a fistful of banknotes while yelling, “Look at my wad!”. In the Financial Times Francis Wheen follows through: “Even if many Britons eventually accepted [Thatcher’s] economic remedies, Turner infers in his history of the 1980s, Rejoice! Rejoice!, ‘culturally the country was unconvinced’. Ideals of enterprise were all very well but winning at all costs, with no thought for the loser and no care for the way one played the game, ‘seemed somehow wrong’. The British still sided with heroic failures and doomed underdogs such as the hopeless ski-jumper Eddie (the Eagle) Edwards.”

30-UP FOR A CLUBBING TREASURE

➢ Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues: The First 30 Years,
by Gaz Mayall (direct from Trolley, 280pp)

Gaz Mayall, Jarvis Cocker, Radio 2,

Gaz Mayall on 6Music: celebrating his 30th clubbing anniversary talking with Jarvis Cocker on The Sunday Service in October. © BBC

❏ GAZ MAYALL IS one of UK clubbing’s national treasures, and the paperback Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues is a nostalgic first-person collection of great club photos and comic-strip flyers that tell their own tale of London’s oldest continuous club-night, where Tracey Emin was once the cloakroom girl. The lad in the hat, who has kept his tiny nightspot jumping since July 3, 1980, supplies a brief but breathless string of anecdotes about live guests such as Prince Buster, Desmond Dekker and Joe Strummer. Gaz was one of the pathfinders who perfected the then brilliant notion of throwing a party every Thursday and playing his favourite rebel dance-tunes. As the 22-year-old Gaz told Shapersofthe80s that year: “People come here for good music”, which essentially meant his own heritage as a kid raised amid rock royalty and steeped in ska, reggae, rockabilly, rock and R’n’B.

Gaz's Rockin Blues, book, 1980sOn his club’s 30th anniversary, Kate Hutchinson wrote in Time Out: “It’s still going strong: you’ll find throngs of people swinging to guest live bands and DJs every Thursday night at the Soho basement dive St Moritz. It’s also the kind of hangout that keeps new generations coming, so the crowd always stays fresh. Those who aren’t old enough to go yet can mingle with everyone else at Gaz’s sound-system at Notting Hill Carnival, where he’s been causing a roadblock since 1982, or at his stage at Glastonbury, which he has run for the past three years.”

SHUFFLING BETWEEN STRAVINSKY AND ARMSTRONG

➢ The Music Instinct : How Music Works and Why We Can’t Do Without It, by Philip Ball (Bodley Head, 464pp)
➢ Listen to This, by Alex Ross (Fourth Estate, 400pp)

The Music Instinct, Philip Ball, books❏ TWO IMPRESSIVE BOOKS THIS YEAR have dissected how music works its magic. They are not posited on the 80s at all, though they may well be emergent phenomena of our era of musical diversity. Critics heaped praise on Philip Ball’s The Music Instinct, an engaging survey by a popular science writer. Bee Wilson in The Sunday Times called it a “wonderful account of why music matters, why it wrenches our souls and satisfies our minds and sometimes drives us crazy”. In The Guardian Steven Poole praised Ball’s “deft analyses of the limitations of attributing ‘emotion’ to music, or considering it as a ‘language’ (Lévi-Strauss: if music is a language, it is an ‘untranslatable’ one)”. And the Amazon reviewer Steve Mansfield liked the author’s scope “by drawing his examples from across the spectrum of music, equally comfortable discussing and occasionally comparing music as diverse as J.S. Bach, John Coltrane, Eliza Carthy, gamelan orchestras, ragas, Schoenberg, and the Sex Pistols”.

Alex Ross, Listen to This, books❏ IN 2008 ALEX ROSS, music critic for The New Yorker, landed an unlikely bestseller with his gripping survey of 20th-century music, The Rest is Noise, plus a torrent of highbrow praise. This year he packages some choice essays under the title Listen To This, which David Smyth in the London Evening Standard said “ranges even more widely, making century-spanning, triple-jumping connections in the same way his shuffling iPod leaps from Stravinsky to Louis Armstrong. Coming from a background of listening to nothing but classical music in his teens and discovering rock’n’roll in adulthood, Ross can explain the brute appeal of, say, Radiohead’s Creep in a way that makes you feel your mind enlarging as you read”.

TWO WHO CHANGED THE CHARTS

➢ I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau,
by Gary Kemp (Fourth Estate, 320pp)

➢ If I Was, by Midge Ure with Robin Eggar
(Virgin Books, 288pp)

Gary Kemp, I Know This Much❏ FOR A MUSICIAN, the music really tells the life story. It’s rare for many of them to try to flesh out the story in prose, let alone as autobiography. Two who starred centre stage in 1980 were Ultravox’s Midge Ure and Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp, and though their accounts of the early transformative years of the decade weren’t actually first published this year, their paperback reprints continue to act as intelligent correctives to the hyperbole that accompanies some of the 30th-anniversary air-punching.

Songwriter Gary Kemp surprised many when last year’s autobiography, I Know This Much, proved so eloquent, encouraging rock writer Paul Du Noyer
to claim that it “sets a new standard for rock memoirs”. One of Amazon’s top reviewers, Mr Steve Jansen, believed that Kemp’s perceptive memories of a London now transformed make a “a touching testament to spiritual growth”. He wrote: “Kemp is able to reflect with great poignancy on a young man’s journey into, and through the shining city of dreams. In Kemp’s case that city, metaphorically, but more often literally — and literary in its evocation — is unmistakably London, and the metropolis is ever present like a ghost, framing his actions and attitude.”

The prominent journalist Robert Sandall of The Sunday Times, who died in July, had made Kemp’s his book of the year: “A sharply observed account by a quintessential London musician. Kemp exudes confidence, candour and a keen appreciation of the capital’s club culture.” This year’s paperback edition brought the story up to date with a postscript on his band’s reunion.

Midge Ure, If I Was❏ MIDGE URE IS THE OTHER eye-witness to the birth of Blitz culture, and his memoir, If I Was, hasn’t been out of print since published in 2004, and a revised edition is slated for next summer. Here, the musician tells with exceptional vigour a no-holds-barred story of his own journey from impoverished Glasgow childhood to new-wave superstar .

Amazon reviewer Lisby writes: “Ure writes fluidly and conversationally, imparting the kind of tactile detail that takes readers to the place and time of which he speaks. Ure is astonishingly honest, yet never vindictive. He is, in his prose, much as he is in his lyrics, a good person trying to be a better one while hoping the same for us all.” Another Amazon regular called thedouses adds: “Midge’s autobiography is a very well written, frank and honest book, which offers a fascinating insight into his own career and life but also other notable musical figures of the 80s and 90s music scenes in Britain, as well as providing background to the Band Aid and Live Aid events. He doesn’t use the opportunity to settle scores as so many of his contemporaries have done.”

Apart from being a busy wizard stirring the magic cauldron from which emerged many musical innovations in the 80s, Ure here establishes his central role in the production of Band Aid’s charity single, Do They Know It’s Christmas?, which led to Live Aid, the globally televised rock concert in 1985 which raised millions for famine relief.

NOT FORGETTING…

David Bowie, 1975 ➢ Any Day Now: David Bowie The London Years (1947-1974), by Kevin Cann (Adelita, 336 pages) was reviewed here on Dec 11. “Being a Bowie fan for almost 40 years I am flabbergasted. Many, many never before seen pictures” — Amazon reviewer Peter Gooren

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1984 ➤ Band Aid, when pop made its noblest gesture but the 80s ceased to swing

Band Aid , Do They Know It’s Christmas?

The Band Aid band, Nov 25, 1984: most of the pop stars who performed, plus artist Peter Blake who created the record sleeve for Do They Know It’s Christmas?

◼︎ TODAY WAS THE DAY IN 1984 THEY RECORDED the song that became, for 13 years, the biggest selling UK single of all time. Do They Know It’s Christmas was released four days later, stayed at No 1 for five weeks, sold over three million copies and raised significant funds for famine relief in Africa. The project lead naturally the next year to Live Aid, the biggest globally televised rock concerts ever, viewed by two billion people in 60 countries, who coughed up still more dollars. It is estimated that Live Aid raised £150m (about $283m). Last year a poll of 5,000 people, who were surveyed across Europe, named Live Aid as the most important music event of the past 30 years. The hit single sold for £1.35, of which 96 pence went to the fund. Rerecordings of the song charted again in 1985 and 1989.

The idea for Band Aid was proposed by one man, Bob Geldof, since granted an honorary knighthood but in 1984 a musician down on his luck, who enlisted the much more successful go-getter, Ultravox’s Midge Ure (who remains unknighted for no good reason), to bring the dream to fruition as its producer. They created a megagroup from 45 of the biggest hitters in British music, who included the supergroups dominating world charts at the time — Culture Club, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Wham! — plus AOR giants Sting, Genesis and U2, plus Kool and the Gang from the States. In a sea of mullets and bleached highlights, rival musicians united under the name Band Aid in a daring act of charity that was unprecedented in the competitive commercial arena.

Band Aid,Bob Geldof ,Midge Ure,SARM

Leaders of the Band Aid pack in 1984: Bob Geldof and Midge Ure outside SARM Studios in London. © Pictorial Press

The enterprise marked the end of an era, as this website documents. The Band Aid collaboration signalled the final chapter of the innovation which Shapersofthe80s believes defined the Swinging 80s as six dynamic years of subcultural initiative between 1978 and 1984. Britain’s visual kaleidoscope of cults was exactly what fed MTV from its launch in 1982 and loosened the stranglehold that music radio had previously enjoyed in the USA. The unlikely Band Aid scrum of Britain’s rival image bands who had risen on the same new wave  substantially defined a new show-business elite who had come to epitomise mainstream tastes.

 Michael Buerk , Ethiopia

Michael Buerk in his BBC report from Ethiopia

Nobody can doubt the uniqueness of the pop fraternity’s gasp of altruism through Band Aid. Geldof had been genuinely distressed by the now landmark teatime TV report broadcast on October 23, 1984, by Michael Buerk, a popular BBC journalist. It still makes for grim viewing. In Ethiopia 7m people were threatened by famine, and 40,000 refugees had converged on the town of Korem in the hope of finding food and medical aid.

The film footage shocked the world and Buerk’s opening words still resonate today: “Dawn, and as the sun breaks through the piercing chill of night on the plain outside Korem, it lights up a Biblical famine, now, in the 20th century. This place, say workers here, is the closest thing to hell on earth…”

CONTRARY VERDICTS ON BAND AID

Morrissey, 1985 — “I’m not afraid to say that I think Band Aid was diabolical. Or to say that I think Bob Geldof is a nauseating character. Many people find that very unsettling, but I’ll say it as loud as anyone wants me to. In the first instance the record itself was absolutely tuneless. One can have great concern for the people of Ethiopia, but it’s another thing to inflict daily torture on the people of England. It was an awful record considering the mass of talent involved. And it wasn’t done shyly, it was the most self-righteous platform ever in the history of popular music.”

The World Development Movement described the Band Aid lyrics in 2004 as “patronising, false and out of date” and regretted it did not “provide a more accurate reflection of Africa and its problems”.


❏ IN THEIR RESPECTIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, Ultravox’s Midge Ure and Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp provide entertaining and detailed accounts of the Band Aid venture, spiced with the frankness that comes from hindsight . . .

➢ Ure and Kemp on the shenanigans
that led up to Band Aid

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