Bono Stars in Song to Raise Ebola-Fighting Funds

U2 frontman Bono

Irish singer-songwriter Bob Geldof, who was granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth for his anti-poverty activism, this week announced plans for a fourth version of the U.K. charity single Do They Know It's Christmas.

The aim of the project is to raise funds to help fight the Ebola pandemic in west Africa, featuring several big stars in the latest version of Band Aid, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Among the recording artists who have announced their participation in the project to create the charity single are Bono, Ellie Goulding, One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Underworld, Sinead O'Connor, Bastille and Elbow. More acts are expected to be announced before the recording session in London on Saturday. Paul Epworth, who has worked with Adele and One Direction, will produce the record.

"We called up some of the giants of the past and our own contemporaries, equally giant, and they said they'd come again to the party," Geldof said at a news conference Monday.

Geldof is widely recognized for his activism, especially anti-poverty efforts concerning Africa. In 1984 he and Midge Ure founded the charity supergroup Band Aid to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. They went on to organize the charity super-concert Live Aid the following year and the Live 8 concerts in 2005.

Whereas the original 1984 single—still the second-biggest-selling single of all time in the U.K.—was aimed at tackling hunger in Africa, the latest edition will focus on fighting the spread of the deadly Ebola virus and helping medical workers in Africa deal with this "particularly pernicious illness that renders humans untouchable." Geldof confirmed that several of the lyrics have been changed to reflect the new angle, although the main "feed the world" chorus line will remain.

"For 30 years, we've been boring people to death about the great inequalities of the world, whereby 50 percent still live on two dollars a day. That's disgraceful. It's ridiculous, and it's unnecessary," he said at the news conference. "And what they were dying of in 1984 was of course hunger, but they died essentially because they were poor. We know we can contain Ebola; we have the doctors, the nurses, medicines and state systems. We have money. They're dying again because they are extremely poor. That is radically unacceptable."

Geldof confirmed that Quincy Jones would be working on a similar project, just as he did with USA for Africa in 1985 with We Are the World, which sold more than 20 million copies. He also revealed that French and German singles would be created.


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