Saturday, December 15, 1984

Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” hit #1: December 15, 1984

Originally posted December 15, 2011.



Bob Geldof made his name initially as the frontman of the Boomtown Rats, an Irish punk-pop outfit which got its start in the late ‘70s and found success with a pair of #1 songs on the UK charts with “Rat Trap” and “I Don’t Like Mondays”. However, in his obituary someday, the leading line will reference him as the man who organized Band Aid and Live Aid.

Geldof was so moved one night by images from a BBC documentary of starving Ethiopian children, that he felt obligated to do something. He connected with Midge Ure, the frontman from Ultravox, to pen a song about the those suffering in the African famine. He then tackled his rolodex to round up a Who’s Who of British pop music to sing a Christmas charity single as the collective Band Aid. Among the stars he enlisted were Bono, Phil Collins, Sting, George Michael, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Status Quo, Paul Weller, Spandau Ballet, Heaven 17, and Kool & the Gang.

The superstars gathered at Sarm West Studios in London on November 25, 1984. They started the recording process by singing the “Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time” refrain first as a group. Then individual singers sang the song the entire way through so that Ure, who also produced the song, could splice the best parts together for the final version. WK The whole song was recorded within a 24-hour period. WK

The song sold 750,000 in its first week of release in England, making it their fastest-selling single in history at the time. MG It went on to sell more than 3.5 million, making it the best-selling song in Britain until Elton John’s 1997 re-recording of “Candle in the Wind”. WK Combined with the 1985 Live Aid concert, Geldof’s efforts raised £110 million. MG




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Friday, December 7, 1984

Foreigner released Agent Provocateur

First posted 9/20/2020.

Agent Provocateur

Foreigner


Released: December 7, 1984


Peak: 4 US, 13 UK, 11 CN, 2 AU


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.3 UK, 7.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Tooth and Nail (1/5/85, 47 AR)
  2. That Was Yesterday (1/19/85, 12 US, 4 AR, 24 AC, 24 CN, 55 AU)
  3. I Want to Know What Love Is (12/8/84, 1 US, 1 AR, 3 AC, 1 CN, 1 AU)
  4. Growing Up the Hard Way
  5. Reaction to Action (2/2/85, 54 US, 44 AR)
  6. Stranger in My Own House
  7. A Love in Vain
  8. Down on Love (8/17/85, 54 US)
  9. Two Different Worlds
  10. She’s Too Tough


Total Running Time: 42:23


The Players:

  • Lou Gramm (vocals, percussion)
  • Mick Jones (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
  • Dennis Elliott (drums)
  • Rick Wills (bass)

Rating:

3.522 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

Foreigner 4 was the kind of album that set an impossibly high bar. It spent ten weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 and sold more than ten million copies worldwide on the strength of the #2 power ballad “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and the #4 rocker “Urgent,” not to mention album rock hits “Juke Box Hero,” “Night Life,” and “Break It Up.”

The group followed up that success with the obvious rock clichĂ© – a compilation album (Records) and a few years off. Despite no new material, Records followed the precedent set by all four of Foreigner’s studio albums – it went top ten and sold in the millions.

Agent Provocoteur did manage to match the template by reaching the top 5 on the album chart and going multi-platinum. While it wasn’t as big as 4 (not many albums are), it did accomplish one goal that the band hadn’t achieved – a #1 song. While “Waiting for a Girl Like You” had spent a whopping 10 weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it couldn’t ever get past Hall & Oates “I Can’t Go for That” and Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” to reach the pinnacle.

However, I Want to Know What Love Is, the lead single from Agent, pulled it off. The song also reached #1 in the UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and Swdeden. While most of the band’s singles were fairly straight forward rockers, this was a gospel-inflected ballad that capitalized on the audiences who swooned over “Girl Like You.” The New Jersey Mass Choir was featured on the song and in the video.

Foreigner couldn’t match the huge success of “I Want to Know What Love Is” with the next single. However, That Was Yesterday did keep the band on track by giving them a fifth studio album in a row to chart at least two top-20 hits. It was also a top-5 hit on album rock radio.

The album did have some other decent rockers in album-opener Tooth and Nail and Reaction to Action From a chart standpoint, however, neither generated much attention. Both barely scraped the album rock charts and as the album’s third single, “Reaction to Action,” missed the top 40, as did fourth single Down on Love.

The album also featured the muscular She’s Too Tough which, while not quite on par with classics like “Hot Blooded” and “Urgent,” proved that Foreigner still knew how to crank up the guitars and not just produce ballads.

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