Posted by: L. E. Barnes | December 1, 2010

Trashed by Its Composer

December has arrived, and with it comes a deluge of Christmas songs. There are of course the good old classic carols such as “Silent Night,” “Away in a Manger,” and “Joy to the World”; then there are more recent Christmas songs that you’re likely to hear over and over again as well as you’re shopping in the mall or listening to the radio in your car. One of these relative newcomers on the Christmas song scene is this 1984 hit by Irish singer Bob Geldof:

Here are the lyrics:

It’s Christmas time
There’s no need to be afraid
At Christmas time
We let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty
We can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world
At Christmas time

But say a prayer
Pray for the other ones
At Christmas time it’s hard
But when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing
Is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there
Are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

And there won’t be snow in Africa
This Christmas time
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

(Here’s to you) raise a glass for everyone
(Here’s to them) underneath that burning sun
Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

Feed the world
Feed the world
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time again
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time again

“Do They Know It’s Christmas” was sung by a group of music stars called Band Aid, and as you can tell from the lyrics, the song was meant to promote helping the hungry around the world. However, Geldorf has recently expressed disgust with his creation:

“I am responsible for two of the worst songs in history. [One is] ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas? The other one is ‘We Are The World,’ he tells Australia’s Daily Telegraph. “Any day soon, I will go to the supermarket, head to the meat counter and it will be playing. Every [expletive] Christmas.”

Yikes… For a songwriter to trash his own song–and one that quickly became a hit–takes either a lot of humility or a lot of self-consciousness.

What do you think?  Is Geldorf being too hard on his own song? Or can you think of any songs (for Christmas or otherwise) that surpass “Do They Know It’s Christmas” in terms of, well, lousiness?



  1. He’s probably tired of still hearing something he knocked out 25 years ago.

    • LOL! Maybe it’s as simple as that…

  2. I don’t remember ever hearing this before, but I can say truthfully, I like it better than “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Why Geldorf hates it is beyond me, but I have one observation: this is not a spiritual song about Christmas nor the Christmas mystery. It’s about secular humanism, which is a dead end. Change some of the words and make it Christian and it could be much better than it is and a lot more motivating. Maybe Geldorf hates it because 25 years later nothing has changed.

    • True, it’s not a spiritual song and has virtually nothing to do with what Christmas is about. Humanism certainly is a dead end, as you said.

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