1961: The Everly Brothers Joins The Marine
1969: Lennon Returns Queen's Gift
1972: Biggest Hit, Dumbest Song
1976: Band's Last Waltz Extravaganza
The Everly Brothers (Don and Phil, born Isaac Donald Everly, February 1, 1937, and Phillip Everly, January 19, 1939) are country-influenced rock and roll performers, known for steel-string guitar playing and close harmony singing. The brothers are the most successful US rock and roll duo on the Hot 100. This group was elected to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
With proven sources of hit material unavailable, from 1961 through early 1964 the Everlys recorded a mix of covers and songs by other writers. Their last US Top Ten hit was 1962's "That's Old Fashioned" and succeeding years saw the Everly Brothers selling many fewer records in the United States. Their enlistment in the United States Marine Corps in November 1961 also took them out of the spotlight; one of their few performances during their Marines stint was an on-leave appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing "Jezebel" and "Crying In The Rain".
Both brothers joined the Marine Corps in 1961, spent a year in.
With the likelihood of being drafted for two years in the Army, on November 1961, both Everlys joined the Marine Corp Reserves for six months. While in the Corps during the first half of 1962, they had a Top Ten hit with "Crying In the Rain," but their military commitment restricted them from capitalizing with club dates and tours.
On February 13, 1962, Don in his Marine dress uniform married movie starlet, Venetia Stevenson, in the chapel at Camp Pendleton, California. Five days later while still honeymooning in New York City, the boys made an appearance on CBS-TV's The Ed Sullivan Show in their dress uniforms. Don and Phil were released from the Marines on May 24, 1962. Three weeks earlier Warner Brothers issued "That's Old Fashion (That's the Way Love Should Be)" which became their second Top Ten single in a row. It was also their last.
After the Marine Corps, the brothers resumed their career, but US chart success was limited. Of the 27 singles the Everly Brothers released on Warner Brothers from 1963 through 1970, only three made the Hot 100, and none peaked higher than #31. Album sales were also down. The Everlys' first two albums for Warner (in 1960 and 1961) both peaked at #9 US—but after that, though they went on to release a dozen more LPs for Warner Brothers, only one made the top 200 (1965's Beat & Soul, which topped out at #141.)
Don and Phil were called upon to fulfil their military service obligations. They decided to enlist in the Marine Reserve and left the world of stardom to endure the rigors of basic training. To this day the Everly Brothers consider their training as Marines to be a pivotal positive experience in their formative years.- From Wikipedia
1969: Lennon Returns Queen's Gift
John Lennon returned his MBE medal to the Queen, though this had no effect on his MBE status, which could not be renounced.Between 1969 and 1970 Lennon released the singles "Give Peace a Chance" (widely adopted as an anti-Vietnam-War anthem in 1969), "Cold Turkey" (documenting his withdrawal symptoms after he became addicted to heroin) and "Instant Karma!".
- From Wikipedia
The Fab Four were invested as Members of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 1965, after topping record charts around the world.
But later Lennon decided that he had sold out to the Establishment and returned his MBE to Her Majesty 25th November 1969 as part of ongoing peace protests masterminded with Yoko Ono.
In an accompanying letter Lennon said: "Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against 'Cold Turkey' slipping down the charts. With Love, John Lennon."
Years later he was quoted as saying: "Lots of people who complained about us getting the MBE received theirs for heroism in the war."
"They got them for killing people. We deserved ours for not killing people. In a way it was hypocritical of me to accept it."
"But I'm glad I did really, because it meant that four years later I was able to use it to make a gesture."
Now Beatles fans have established that the medal has been located in a vault at St James' Palace and have written to Yoko Ono urging her to retrieve it.
The medal was found in a cabinet at the Chancery Department of the Royal Household where it has lain untouched for years.
It is still in the presentation case bearing the name John Winston Lennon, and has been stored along with his protest letter.
Beatles history experts regard it as one of the most important pieces of Beatles history and are calling for the medal to be exhibited in the city 40 years after it was returned.
It has been suggested that it should be given a permanent home at "Mendips", the childhood home John shared with his Aunt Mimi in Woolton, which was bought and donated to the National Trust by Yoko Ono.
Lennon had originally sent the medal to his Auntie Mimi and she kept it in pride of place on her mantelpiece, until John collected it and returned it to The Queen.
Liverpool Beatles Appreciation Society founder Gene Grimes said: "The Palace are sitting on a unique piece of Beatles history and it should not be left to gather dust in a draw."
"The medal is a vital piece of Beatles memorabilia and should be exhibited for John's fans to see."
A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed that it was holding the MBE.
The spokesman said: "The Central Chancery would, without question, return any Insignia to the original recipient if they request it during their lifetime."
"If a recipient had not asked for insignia back before they die then it is assumed that they did not wish it to be returned, and any request from any other person for its return at a later date would be going against the original recipient’s wishes."
"The Central Chancery would therefore only consider releasing insignia if they had a direct approach from the recipient’s legal next of kin."
1972: Biggest Hit, Dumbest Song
Chuck Berry returned to Chess from 1970 to 1973. There were no hit singles from the 1970 album Back Home, then in 1972 Chess released a live recording of "My Ding-a-Ling", a novelty song which Berry had recorded in a different version on his 1968 LP From St. Louie to Frisco as "My Tambourine". The track became Berry's only No. 1 single. A live recording of "Reelin' And Rockin'" was also issued as a follow-up single that same year and would prove to be Berry's final top-40 hit in both the US and the UK. Both singles were featured on the part-live/part-studio album The London Chuck Berry Sessions which was one of a series of London Sessions albums which included other Chess mainstay artists Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. Berry's second tenure with Chess ended with the 1975 album Chuck Berry, after which he did not make a studio record until 1979's Rock It for Atco Records, his last studio album to date.
"My Ding-a-Ling" was the title of a novelty song recorded by Chuck Berry, and his only U.S. number-one single on the pop charts. Later that year the song, in a longer unedited form, was on the album The London Chuck Berry Sessions. The Average White Band members guitarist Onnie McIntyre and drummer Robbie McIntosh played on the single.
'My Ding-a-Ling' was originally recorded by Dave Bartholomew in 1952 for King Records. When Bartholomew moved to Imperial Records, he re-recorded the song under the new title, 'Little Girl Sing Ding-a-Ling'. In 1954, The Bees on Imperial released a version entitled "Toy Bell." Berry recorded a version called "My Tambourine" in 1968, but the version which topped the charts was recorded live during the Lanchester Arts Festival at the Locarno ballroom in Coventry, England, on 3 February 1972, where Berry – backed by The Roy Young Band – topped a bill that also included Slade and Billy Preston. Boston radio station WMEX disc jockey, Jim Connors, was credited with a gold record for discovering the song and pushing it to #1 over the airwaves and amongst his peers in the United States.
The song tells of how the singer received a toy consisting of "silver bells hanging on a string" from his grandmother, who calls them his ding-a-ling. According to the song, he plays with it in school, and holds on to it in dangerous situations like falling after climbing the garden wall, and swimming across a creek infested with snapping turtles. The lyrics consistently exercise the double entendre with ding-a-ling standing in for the penis. During the live version, Berry calls on the audience to join in the chorus, and in the final verse, he admonishes "those of you who will not sing" that they "must be playing with their own ding-a-ling".
"Berry helped give life to a subculture... Even "My Ding-a-Ling," a fourth-grade wee-wee joke that used to mortify true believers at college concerts, permitted a lot of twelve-year-olds new insight into the moribund concept of "dirty" when it hit the airwaves..."
- Robert Christgau
The lyrics with their sly tone and innuendo (and the enthusiasm of Berry and the audience) caused many radio stations to refuse to play it, and British morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse tried unsuccessfully to get the song banned. Moreover, pop critics who? generally dislike the song (especially the fact that it was Berry's sole #1 single in his career) and say that it is unworthy for someone who was so important in early rock 'n' roll (Alan Freeman once introduced the song by saying "oh Chuck baby, how could you!?!"). Nevertheless, Berry still likes it and on the recording calls it "our Alma Mater".
This controversy was lampooned in The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Pony", in which a Springfield Elementary School student attempted to sing the song during the school's talent show. He barely finished the first line of the refrain before an irate Principal Skinner rushed him off the stage.
The censorship of this song has continued decades later. In one case, for a re-run of American Top 40, some stations, such as WOGL in Philadelphia, replaced this song with an optional extra when it aired a rerun of a November 18, 1972 broadcast of AT40 (where it ranked at #14) on December 6, 2008. Among other stations, most Clear Channel-owned radio stations to whom the AT40 '70s rebroadcasts were contracted did not air the rebroadcast that same weekend, although it was because they were playing Christmas music and not because of the controversy. Even back in 1972, some stations would refuse to play this song on AT40, even when it reached number one.
Berry's resulting live album was named, The London Chuck Berry Sessions, even though London is more than 100 miles away from where the live tracks were recorded. London is likely the location where the studio tracks on this album were recorded.- From Wikipedia
1976: Band's Last Waltz Extravaganza
The Last Waltz was a concert by the rock group The Band, held on American Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. The Last Waltz was advertised as the end of The Band's illustrious touring career, and the concert saw The Band joined by more than a dozen special guests, including Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Bobby Charles and Neil Young.
The event was filmed by director Martin Scorsese and made into a documentary of the same name, released in 1978. The film features concert performances, scenes shot on a studio soundstage and interviews by Scorsese with members of The Band. A triple-LP soundtrack recording, produced by Rob Fraboni, was issued in 1978. The film was released on DVD in 2002 as was a four-CD box set of the concert and related studio recordings.
The Last Waltz is hailed as one of the greatest concert films ever made, although it has been criticized for its focus on Robbie Robertson.
Beginning with a title card saying "This film should be played loud!" the concert documentary is an essay on The Band's influences and their career. The group—Rick Danko on bass, violin and vocals; Levon Helm on drums, mandolin and vocals; Garth Hudson on keyboards and saxophone; Richard Manuel on keyboards, percussion and vocals; and guitarist-songwriter Robbie Robertson—started out in the late 1950s as a rock and roll band led by Ronnie Hawkins, and Hawkins himself appears as the first guest. The group backed Bob Dylan in the 1960s, and Dylan performs with The Band towards the end of the concert.
Various other artists perform with The Band: Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Dr. John, Neil Diamond and Eric Clapton. Genres covered include blues, rock and roll, New Orleans R&B, Tin Pan Alley pop, folk and rock. Further genres are explored in segments filmed later on a sound stage with Emmylou Harris (country) and The Staple Singers (soul and gospel).
The film begins with The Band performing the last song of the evening, their cover version of the Marvin Gaye hit "Don't Do It", as an encore. The film then flashes back to the beginning of the show and follows it more or less chronologically. The Band is backed by a large horn section and performs many of its hit songs, including "Up on Cripple Creek", "Stage Fright" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down".
The live songs are interspersed with the studio segments and interviews with director Martin Scorsese, in which The Band's members reminisce about the group's history. Robertson talks about Hudson joining the band on the condition that the other members pay him $10 a week each for music lessons. The classically trained Hudson could then tell his parents that he was a music teacher instead of merely a rock and roll musician. Robertson also describes the surreal experience of playing in a burnt-out nightclub owned by Jack Ruby.
Manuel recalls that some of the early names for The Band included "The Honkies" and "The Crackers". Because they were simply referred to as "The Band" by Dylan and their friends and neighbors in Woodstock, New York, they figured that was just what they would call themselves.
Danko is seen giving Scorsese a tour of The Band's Shangri-La studio, and he plays the director a recording of "Sip the Wine", a track from his then-forthcoming 1977 solo album Rick Danko.
A recurring theme brought up in the interviews with Robertson is that the concert marks an end of an era for The Band, that after 16 years on the road, it is time for a change. "That's what The Last Waltz is: 16 years on the road. The numbers start to scare you," Robertson tells Scorsese. "I mean, I couldn't live with 20 years on the road. I don't think I could even discuss it."
The idea for a farewell concert came about early in 1976 after Richard Manuel was seriously injured in a boating accident. Robbie Robertson then began giving thought to leaving the road, envisioning The Band becoming a studio-only band, similar to The Beatles' decision to stop playing live shows in 1966.
Though the other band members did not agree with Robertson's decision, the concert was set at Bill Graham's Winterland Ballroom, where The Band had made its debut as a group in 1969. Originally, The Band was to perform on its own, but then the notion of inviting Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan was hatched and the guest list grew to include other performers.
Promoted and organized by Bill Graham, who had a long association with The Band, the concert was an elaborate affair. Starting at 5:00 p.m., the audience of 5,000 was served turkey dinners. There was ballroom dancing with music by the Berkeley Promenade Orchestra. Poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Michael McClure gave readings.
The Band started its concert at around 9:00 p.m., opening with "Up on Cripple Creek," during the wind-down of which vocalist/drummer Levon Helm called out a humorous "I sure wish I could yodel!" This was followed by 11 more of The Band's most popular songs, including "The Shape I'm In", "This Wheel's on Fire" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". They were backed by a large horn section with charts arranged by Allen Toussaint and other musicians.
They were then joined by a succession of guest artists, starting with Ronnie Hawkins. As The Hawks, The Band served as Hawkins' backing band in the early 1960s. Dr. John took a seat at the piano for his signature song, "Such a Night". He then switched to guitar and joined Bobby Charles on "Down South in New Orleans".
A blues set was next with harmonica player Paul Butterfield, Muddy Waters, pianist Pinetop Perkins and Eric Clapton. As Clapton was taking his first solo on "Further on Up the Road", his guitar strap came loose. Clapton said "Rob!" and Robertson picked up the solo without missing a beat.
Neil Young followed, singing "Helpless" with backing vocals by Joni Mitchell who remained off stage. According to Robertson's commentary on The Last Waltz DVD, this was so her later appearance in the show would have more of an impact. Mitchell came on after Young and sang three songs, two with the backing of Dr. John on congas.
Neil Diamond was next, introducing his "Dry Your Eyes" by saying, "I'm only gonna do one song, but I'm gonna do it good." Robertson had also produced Diamond's album Beautiful Noise the same year and co-wrote "Dry Your Eyes," which during the concert he hailed as a "great song." In his autobiography, Levon Helm was critical of the inclusion of Diamond, not discerning any musical connection to The Band. Reportedly, when Diamond came off stage he remarked to Dylan, "Follow that", to which Dylan responded, "What do I have to do, go on stage and fall asleep?"
Van Morrison then performed two songs, a special arrangement of "Tura Lura Lural (That's an Irish Lullaby)" as a duet with Richard Manuel and his own show-stopper, "Caravan".
Canadians Young and Mitchell were then invited back out to help The Band perform "Acadian Driftwood", an ode to the Acadians of Canadian history. The Band then performed a short set of some more of its songs before Bob Dylan came on stage to lead his former backing band through four songs.
The Band and all its guests, with the addition of Ringo Starr on drums and Ronnie Wood on guitar, then sang "I Shall Be Released" as a closing number. Dylan, who wrote the song, and Manuel, whose falsetto rendition had made the song famous on Music from Big Pink, shared lead vocals, although Manuel cannot be clearly seen in the film and switched between his normal and falsetto voices between verses.
Two loose jam sessions then formed. "Jam #1" featured The Band minus Richard Manuel playing with Neil Young, Ronnie Wood and Eric Clapton on guitar, Dr. John on piano, Paul Butterfield on harmonica and Ringo Starr on drums. It was followed by "Jam #2" with the same personnel minus Robertson and Danko. Stephen Stills, who showed up late, took a guitar solo and Carl Radle joined on bass.
Robertson initially wanted to record the concert on 16 mm film. He recruited Martin Scorsese to direct based on his use of music in Mean Streets. Under Scorsese, the film grew into a full-scale studio production with seven 35 mm cameras.
The cameras were operated by several cinematographers, including Michael Chapman (Raging Bull), Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind), and László Kovács (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces). The stage and lighting were designed by Boris Leven, who had been the production designer on such musical films as West Side Story and The Sound of Music. With Bill Graham's assistance, the set from the San Francisco Opera's production of La traviata was rented as a backdrop for the stage. Crystal chandeliers were also hung over the stage.
Scorsese meticulously storyboarded the songs, setting up lighting and camera cues to fit the lyrics of the songs. But despite his planning, in the rigors of the live concert setting, with the loud rock music and the hours spent filming the show, there were unscripted film reloads and camera malfunctions. It was not possible for all songs to be covered. At one point, all the cameras except László Kovács' were shut down as Muddy Waters was to perform "Mannish Boy". Kovács, frustrated by Scorsese's constant instructions, had removed his communications headset earlier in the evening and had not heard the orders to stop filming. As Scorsese frantically tried to get other cameras up, Kovács was already rolling and able to capture the iconic song by the blues legend. "It was just luck," Scorsese recalled in the DVD documentary, The Last Waltz Revisited.
Notably omitted from the film is Stephen Stills, who only performed in a jam session. Both jam sessions were omitted from the film entirely.
Negotiations with Dylan
While Bob Dylan had agreed to perform in concert, he did not want his appearance filmed because he feared it would detract from his own film project Renaldo and Clara. Warner Bros. had agreed to finance the filming of The Last Waltz with the understanding that Dylan would be involved in the film and soundtrack. Backstage negotiations took place during an intermission.
Robertson assured Dylan that the concert film's release would be delayed until after his film, and with that Dylan relented and agreed to be filmed. Promoter Bill Graham was also involved in the talks. "Somebody working with Bob said 'We're not filming this.' And Bill just said, 'Get out of here, or I'll kill you'," Robertson is quoted in the liner notes of the 2002 album re-issue as saying, "It all worked out."
According to Scorsese, Dylan made the stipulation that only two of his songs could be filmed: "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" and "Forever Young". "When Dylan got on stage, the sound was so loud, I didn't know what to shoot," Scorsese later recalled. "Bill Graham was next to me shouting, 'Shoot him! Shoot him! He comes from the same streets as you. Don't let him push you around.' Fortunately, we got our cues right and we shot the two songs that were used in the film."
Scorsese has admitted that during this period, he was using cocaine heavily. Drugs were present in large quantities during the concert. Backstage, a room was painted white and decorated with noses from plastic masks while an audio tape of sniffing noises played in the background. A large blob of cocaine hanging from Neil Young's nose was edited out in post-production through rotoscoping.
Following the concert, Scorsese filmed for several days on an MGM studio soundstage, with The Band, The Staple Singers and Emmylou Harris. The Band's performance of "The Weight" with The Staple Singers was included in the film instead of the concert version. The Band and Harris performed "Evangeline", which was also included in the film. Interviews with group members were conducted by Scorsese at The Band's Shangri-La Studio in Malibu, California. Additionally, Robertson composed The Last Waltz Suite, parts of which were used as a film score.
Due to Scorsese's commitments to work on New York, New York and another documentary, American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince, the film's release was delayed until 1978.
During the editing process, Scorsese and Robertson became friends, and frequently collaborated on further projects, with Robertson acting as music producer and consultant on Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, The Color of Money, Casino, Gangs of New York, The Departed and Shutter Island.
The film has been hailed critically, listed among the greatest concert films. Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Wilmington calls it "the greatest rock concert movie ever made – and maybe the best rock movie, period." Terry Lawson of the Detroit Free Press comments that "This is one of the great movie experiences." Total Film considers it "the greatest concert film ever shot." On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has a 97% (fresh) rating with just one negative review out of 37 total, from Janet Maslin of The New York Times. She states that it "articulates so little of the end-of-an-era feeling it hints at ... that it's impossible to view The Last Waltz as anything but an also-ran." Music critic Robert Christgau gives the soundtrack a "B+", saying "the movie improves when you can't see it." He praises the blues numbers by Muddy Waters and Paul Butterfield, the horn arrangements by Allen Toussaint, and the "blistering if messy" guitar duet by Robertson and Eric Clapton.
Criticism by Levon Helm
Levon Helm, in his 1993 autobiography This Wheel's on Fire, expresses serious reservations about Scorsese's handling of the film, claiming that Scorsese and Robbie Robertson (who produced the film) conspired to make The Band look like Robbie Robertson's sidemen. He states that Robertson, who is depicted singing powerful backing vocals, was actually singing into a microphone that was turned off throughout most of the concert (a typical practice during their live performances).
Helm also discusses Manuel's and Hudson's minimal screen time, such as when Manuel sings during the closing number "I Shall Be Released", but Manuel is hidden behind the phalanx of guest performers. There are several shots catching Ronnie Hawkins looking around but not singing, yet Manuel remains invisible. However, during the same segment, in the background, it appears that a cameraman is attempting to get a shot of Manuel at the piano but gives up due to technical problems or the impossibility of the shot.
Helm went so far as to say that Last Waltz was "the biggest fuckin' rip-off that ever happened to The Band", citing that he, Manuel, Danko and Hudson never received any money for the various home videos, DVDs and soundtracks released by Warner Bros. after the project.
In the book, the producer John Simon also states that, except for Levon's drums and vocals, all of the soundtrack was overdubbed.
- From Wikipedia
1984: "Do They Know It's Christmas" Recorded At Island Studios
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" is a song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 to raise money for relief of the 1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia. The original version was produced by Midge Ure and released by Band Aid on 29 November 1984.
In October 1984, a BBC report by Michael Buerk was aired highlighting the famine that had hit the people of Ethiopia. Irish singer Bob Geldof saw the report and wanted to raise money. He called Midge Ure from Ultravox and together they quickly co-wrote the song, "Do They Know It's Christmas?".
Geldof kept a November appointment with BBC Radio 1 DJ Richard Skinner to appear on his show, but instead of discussing his new album (the original reason for his booking), he used his airtime to publicise the idea for the charity single, so by the time the musicians were recruited there was intense media interest in the subject.
Geldof put together a group called Band Aid, consisting of leading Irish and British musicians who were among the most popular of the era. The 1984 original became the biggest selling single in UK singles chart history, selling a million copies in the first week alone. It stayed at Number 1 for five weeks, becoming Christmas number one, and sold more than 3.5 million copies domestically. It remained the highest selling single in UK chart history until 1997, when Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" was released in tribute to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, which sold almost 5 million copies in Britain.
Following the release of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in December 1984 and record sales in aid of famine relief, Geldof then set his sights on staging a huge concert, 1985's Live Aid, to raise further funds.
Respected producer Trevor Horn was approached by Geldof to produce the song, but he was unavailable. Instead, he gave use of his studio, Sarm West in London, free of charge to the project for 24 hours, which Geldof accepted, assigning Ure as the producer instead. On 25 November 1984, the song was recorded and mixed.
Geldof and Ure arrived first at dawn so that Ure could put the recorded backing tracks, put together at his home studio, on to the system at SARM. He also had vocals recorded by both Sting and Simon Le Bon of the song which he had acquired from the artists early in order to provide a guide for the other singers.
The world's media were in attendance as artists began arriving from 9am. Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Paul Young, Culture Club (without Boy George, initially), George Michael of Wham!, Kool and the Gang, Sting, Bono and Adam Clayton of U2, Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 (whom Ure personally ordered down) and his bandmate Martyn Ware, Phil Collins of Genesis, Paul Weller of the Style Council, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo, Jody Watley of Shalamar, Bananarama, Marilyn (who was not invited but arrived anyway) and some of Geldof's bandmates from the Boomtown Rats all arrived. Only one of Ure's Ultravox colleagues, Chris Cross, attended. Geldof, noticing Boy George's non-attendance (despite ringing him up in New York the day before demanding he sing on the record), went back to the phone to get the Culture Club frontman out of bed and on to Concorde.
Ure played the backing track and guide vocals to the artists together, then decided, in a way of getting all involved straightaway, to record the crescendo first, which also allowed the 'team shot' of the day to be photographed. The artists were put in a huge group and sang the 'Feed the world, let them know it's Christmas time' refrain over and over again until it was completed.
Then Ure sought a volunteer to be first into the studio to sing the main body of the song. Eventually Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet took the plunge, with plenty of rival artists watching him, and sang the song straight through. The other assigned singers then did likewise, with Ure taping their efforts and then making notes as to which bits would be cut into the final recording. Le Bon, despite having already done his bit at Ure's house, re-recorded his so he could be part of the moment. Sting also recorded the words again, this time to provide harmony.
Phil Collins arrived with his entire drum kit and waited until Ure was ready to record him over an electronic drum track that had already been put in place. The song ended up as a mixture of Collins' drums and an African rhythm that opens the song, taken from a sample of The Hurting by Tears for Fears.
Not all went smoothly. Ure stated in his autobiography that he was constantly battling with Geldof, the song's lyricist but not renowned for his melody skills, and telling him to leave when he would come into the production booth and wrongly tell the artist behind the mic what to sing. Ure also had to shelve an attempt by the two members of Status Quo to record the "here's to you" harmonies because Parfitt could not hit the note. Rossi afterwards told Ure that Parfitt never sang in the studio, only onstage, and he should have kept him away from the mic. This section was eventually taken on by Weller, Sting and Gregory. However, Quo were able to contribute in other ways, according to the journalist Robin Eggar:
"Once Status Quo produced their bag of cocaine and the booze started to flow – I brought six bottles of wine from my flat, which disappeared in a minute – it became a party."
Boy George arrived at 6 pm and went straight into the recording booth to deliver his lines. Boy George was rather vocal in his dislike of fellow singer George Michael, some of which is caught on video during the filming of the Band Aid collaboration. While recording harmonies, Boy George openly confused Michael's recorded vocals with the voice of "Alf" (British singer-songwriter Alison Moyet, who did not participate in the charity single). When the engineer correctly identified the voice as that of Michael, Boy George replied, calling the kettle black, "God, he sounded camp. But then he is." Once Boy George had finished his tracks, Ure had all the vocals he needed and, as the artists began to party and then drifted away, began working on the mix. A B-side, featuring messages from artists who had and hadn't made the recording (including David Bowie, Paul McCartney, all members of Big Country and Holly Johnson from Frankie Goes to Hollywood) was also recorded over the same backing track. Trevor Horn arrived back to his own studio to put this together.
Despite being singers themselves, neither Geldof nor Ure had a solo line on the song, though both took part in the 'Feed the world' finale.
Ure worked on the mix through the night and finally completed the task at 8am on the Monday morning. Prior to departing SARM, Geldof recorded a statement: "This record was recorded on the 25th of November 1984. It's now 8am on the 26th. We've been here 24 hours and I think it's time we went home."
The song was quickly dispatched to the pressing plants who had promised to have the single pressed and ready by the Tuesday. A spell of publicity and final legal details followed, then it hit the shops on Thursday 29 November in a sleeve designed by Peter Blake. It went straight to #1.- From Wikipedia