The recording, with some new lyrics (revealed below), marks the 30th anniversary of the song, which was originally put together to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia, and is expected to raise millions to ease Africa’s Ebola crisis.
As singers arrived at the studio in London’s Notting Hill to record the track, Bob Geldof revealed George Osborne called him to reveal he would waive VAT on the single.
The move means 100 per cent of the money raised by the song will go to charity.
“The record, it’s a song, but it’s an event,” says Bob. “And the next stage now is to turn this into a phenomenon like it was in the Eighties, and the only way to do that is to get people to buy the thing.”
The new lyrics appear in the second and third verses of the song and refer to the risks of cross-infection from comforting Ebola victims.
Talking to Sky News, Bob revealed that One Direction sing the first line of the song.
“I did a little talk before the recording, like a headmaster,” Bob added. “I said, ‘When you sing this, be aware that the rest of the world will be singing it with you. Put all the feeling of what it is you want to say into it. I explained the situation in West Africa, what the UN were saying and what we could do and just gee’d them up.”
The single goes on sale Monday, November 17.
The reworked lyrics:
It’s Christmas time – and there’s no need to be afraid
At Christmas time we let in light and 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 while you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window and it’s a world of dread and fear
Where a kiss of love can kill you and there’s death in every tear
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight we’re reaching out and touching you
No peace and joy this Christmas in West Africa
The only hope they’ll have is being alive
Where to comfort is to fear
Where to touch is to be scared
How can they know it’s Christmas time at all
Here’s to you
Raise a glass to everyone
And here’s to them
And all their years to come
Let them know it’s Christmas after all
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time again