After watching a BBC documentary on famine in Ethiopia and the problems with relief organizations there, Bob Geldof decided he could try to do something to help. He, with Midge Ure, wrote a single, dedicating the majority of proceeds to famine relief.
Recorded in December 1984, "Do They Know It's Christmas" was the biggest selling single in Britain, and collected over 10 million dollars world-wide.
The success inspired the USA for Africa charity song 'We Are The World', a live benefit called Live Aid, and the Artists United Against Apartheid song 'Sun City'. Live Aid brought around a hundred million dollars in famine relief, and remains the most successful and useful live charity event in history.
Performers on 'Do They know It's Christmas' included:
Bananarama, Bob Geldof, Culture Club, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Heaven 17, Human League, Kool and the Gang, Midge Ure, Paul McCartney, Paul Young, Phil Collins, Spandau Ballet, Status Quo, Sting, The Style Council, U2, and Wham!.