More than 70 well-known musicians and singers from Liverpool have come together to create Band Aid Liverpool 2020 – and their bid to help the homeless has gained some very special Sir Bob Geldof approval.
The supergroup was the brainchild of Tony Cook – keyboard player with The Mersey Beatles. Along with the band’s drummer, Brian Ambrose, he pulled together a host of Merseyside musicians to record the new version of the classic song and raise much-needed funds for Shelter, reports the Liverpool Echo. The duo also set about changing a few of the lyrics to give them an extra local meaning.
Among those featured are Billy Kinsley, Gary Murphy, Paul Kappa, Phil Jones, Asa Murphy, Steve Charles, Jay Murray, Rosalie Galvin, Dani Graham and The Hummingbirds. And the artists were bowled over when their reworking was given the seal of approval by the song’s legendary writer Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. At one point, Band Aid Liverpool 2020 reached position No.11 on the iTunes chart.
Tony, from Dingle, said: “It has been a long but utterly brilliant road for me and Brian to get to this point and we could not be happier that the single was released. Like many musicians we’ve not played a gig since February due to the pandemic. At the end of August, I had this mad dream about being on stage with loads of musicians from Liverpool and it got me thinking ‘what if that could come true?’ I developed the idea and, although there was no way we could all physically play together on stage due to lockdown, we’ve done the next best thing and come together virtually to re- create a classic song with a timeless message.” Each performer recorded their vocals and instrumentation at home.
Tony said receiving approval from Sir Bob and Midge to release Band Aid Liverpool’s version of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ as a single was like finding “the Holy Grail.” He added: “Warner came back saying we had their full approval. They loved the track and the whole concept, and to have their support is like the Holy Grail for us. As well as bringing more than 70 hugely talented local performers together we wanted to raise awareness of a really important charity and hopefully raise a fair bit of cash for it too.”
Tony added: “Shelter’s amazing work with the homeless and those struggling with poor housing inspired me. They say everyone’s only two pay cheques away from being homeless and that’s especially true in my own industry – we’ve been devastated. We’ve changed a couple of the lyrics in the song so people could relate them to homelessness in Liverpool. Rather than ‘there won’t be snow in Africa’ was very appropriate for Liverpool, so now it says ‘there won’t be homes on Merseyside this Christmas’ and then it says ‘on the streets their numbers grow, no place for them to go.’ Now we have that we hope it will grab everyone’s attention and hopefully put a smile on the people of Liverpool over Christmas.”
Max Newton, head of community fundraising for Shelter, said: “It’s been a year of unbelievable difficulty for many people. The impact of the pandemic means that many people are facing homelessness for the first time – some will be forced to sleep on the streets this winter. Shelter is working hard to help those who are worst affected, but as growing numbers of people need our support, we need the support of the public.”
Max added: “That’s why Band Aid Liverpool supporting us means so much to Shelter here in Merseyside. The money raised will help us to give hope and support to those who need us after a turbulent year. Thank you to Band Aid Liverpool; you are making a real difference to the people families facing homelessness this Christmas in the Liverpool City region.”