LONDON- One Direction, Ed Sheeran and a host of other stars are to raise money to fight Ebola with a 30th anniversary version of the Band Aid charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Bob Geldof announced on Monday.
It will the fourth incarnation of the song, which became one of the world’s biggest-selling singles ever after its release in 1984 to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia.
Ebola “is a particularly pernicious illness because it renders humans untouchable and that is sickening,” Geldof said at a London press conference with Midge Ure, who co-organised the first Band Aid with the Irish singer.
“Mothers can’t comfort their children in their dying hours. Lovers can’t cradle each other. Wives can’t hold their husbands’ hands. People are chased down the streets because of it — and it could come our way,” Geldof said.
The rocker-turned-activist said he had been spurred into action not out of nostalgia but by a call from the United Nations three weeks ago, concerned about not having the necessary funds to combat the epidemic.
The Ebola outbreak in west Africa has claimed almost 5,000 lives, according to the World Health Organization — almost all in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — while the number of infected cases registered worldwide has soared to more than 13,000.
Other artists already signed up for the single include U2 frontman Bono — who sang on the original recording — Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Bastille, Elbow, Ellie Goulding, Emeli Sande, Foals, Paloma Faith, Queen drummer Roger Taylor, Sinead O’Connor and Underworld.
Band Aid were also reported to be in talks with British superstar Adele.
The vocals will be recorded on Saturday at Sarm Studios in west London, just as on the original recording.
The sleeve artwork will be done by British artist Tracey Emin and the single will be available for download on November 17, with physical copies three weeks later.
The track will cost 99 pence ($1.60, 1.30 euros) to download or £4 ($6.35, 5.10 euros) to buy as a physical record.
Fundraising was underway on Tuesday with fundraising site Prizeo offering fans a chance to win a “day in the studio” as the single is recorded, in exchange for donations between $5 and $50,000.