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Do you know the difference at all?

Byline: By Sam Wonfor Arts And Entertainment Correspondent

The buzz began a few weeks ago when Bob Geldof announced a new version of the Band Aid anthem Do They Know It's Christmas would be re-released in time for Yuletide 2004.

But yesterday was the day of truth when people heard it for the first time.

Brought up-to-date and featuring the cream of 2004's pop crop including Rachel Stevens, Robbie Williams, Busted, Dido, Travis, and Coldplay, it is again raising money for famine relief projects in Africa.

At the weekend these stars and a lot more besides, turned out to record the new version of the song featuring Mercury Prize winner Dizzee Rascal rapping near the end, and Joss Stone, whose voice also rings out. Yesterday morning Band Aid 20, got its first airing and it's fair to say that the single received mixed reviews.

While some ventured it wasn't a patch on the original, featuring George Michael, U2, Paul Young, Bananarama and Duran Duran, others admitted it had reduced them to tears and applauded the manner in which producer Nigel Godrich had brought the song into the 21st Century.

One radio station banned the new version after being inundated by listeners claiming it was "rubbish".

Bosses at Pembrokeshire Radio, based in Narbeth, bowed to listener-power and pulled the plug on the new festive single but are urging listeners to buy it anyway.

There was a general consensus, though, that the overall mood of the song had become more melancholic compared to the original created two decades ago by Bob and Midge Ure ( and also that it would be a huge hit.

Thousands of radio listeners in the North-East epitomised this picture with those tuning in to Tony Horne's breakfast show on Metro Radio, evenly split between giving the single the thumbs up or the thumbs down.

Tony himself described it as "a weak cup of tea" ( but was challenged by co-presenter Anna Foster, who said it "would turn into a grower" and that he will have a different view this time next week.

Malcolm Mackenzie, staff writer at Top of the Pops magazine, said: "Not many of the people who remember the record the first time round are going to think this one is better. But if you haven't heard the first one, this definitely stands up in its own right. Now the cause is reflected more in the music, so it may not be so exciting to listen to, but it's going to be a hit."

Singer Will Young, who took the track into Chris Moyles' Radio 1 Breakfast Show yesterday, said: "Get out there, buy the single, buy two copies ... I feel passionate about it. Since Sunday, it's really gripped me."

* Do They Know It's Christmas by Band Aid 20 will be released on November 29.

* What do you think? Send your Band Aid 20 opinions and Band Aid memories to Sam Wonfor, The Journal, Groat Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1ED or email sam.wonfor@ncjmedia.co.uk
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 17, 2004
Words:501
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