Celebrity song to aid fight against Africa Ebola crisis tops UK charts

Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:30pm EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Band Aid 30's reworked version of "Do They Know it's Christmas", a song intended to raise money to fight the spread of Ebola in Africa, went straight to the top of Britain's single charts on Sunday, the Official Charts Company said.

The track was inspired by a celebrity song of the same name with different lyrics which was recorded in 1984 and raised millions of pounds to fight famine in Africa. Bob Geldof, former lead singer of the Irish rock band the Boomtown Rats, helped mastermind the track, as he did the original.

The new song, which sold over 200,000 copies in the last week to become the fastest-selling single of the year, has drawn criticism from some Africans and other recording artists who say it is patronizing and perpetuates unhelpful myths about the continent's problems.

The track's organizers have strongly rejected those comments, saying it will raise much-needed funds to fight Ebola. It generated 1 million pounds within minutes of its launch, they say.

The single pushed last week's number one, a celebrity cover version of Avicii's "Wake Me Up", in aid of charity Children in Need, into seventh place.

In the album charts, a new release by boy band One Direction called "Four" dethroned British progressive rock group Pink Floyd's new album "The Endless River" which fell to fourth place.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Andrew Roche)

 
U2 lead singer Bono arrives for the recording of the Band Aid 30 charity single in west London November 15, 2014. REUTERS/Neil Hall