Band Aid's Christmas No 1 is given the Glee treatment

US TV stars will boost charity by introducing song to a new generation

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The Independent Culture

When it topped the charts 27 years ago, it featured the biggest stars of the day in an unlikely collective that propelled Do They Know It's Christmas? to record-breaking sales. Now the cast of the US musical show Glee is to introduce the charity record to a new generation, with not a mullet haircut in sight.

The single will provide a major financial boost for Band Aid, which this year has spent more than £3m on emergency aid for thousands of starving and sick people in East Africa.

The Glee version will be screened in an episode to be broadcast this week and feature on the show's Christmas album and like the original, will see each line taken by a new singer.

Fans will be able to download the single, potentially raising millions of pounds from a generation of young people not even born when 1.9 billion watched the Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia in 1985.

Sir Bob Geldof, who set up Band Aid after watching a report on famine in Ethiopia, said: "It could not be more timely now that Glee with its vast global audience of young people reintroduce [the song] to a whole new constituency who are probably unaware of the great tragedy unfolding amongst the hungry, poor and dying of Somalia as a result of drought and a bitter and pointless civil war."

The release will boost the charity's coffers after a year which saw it channel most of its reserves into 11 projects in East Africa, which has been ravaged by famine and conflict. They include £1m to Save The Children, which used the money to buy life-saving food for more than 25,000 children, and 5,000 pregnant and breastfeeding Somali woman, while providing schools and communities in the country with safe water and improved sanitation. Band Aid more than trebled the amount of money it donated this year because of the crises in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and the newly-formed Republic of South Sudan, which has left more than 13 million people in need of food, water and emergency healthcare after one of the worst droughts in 60 years.

Conflict in Somalia has caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

The hit Do They Know It's Christmas? went straight to No 1 in 1984 and became the fastest-selling single in the UK, shifting a million copies in the first week. It has, according to the Official Charts Company, sold 3.7 million copies in the UK to date – last year it reached 54 in the charts – helping to raise £120m for Band Aid.

The UK charity is now counting on the "Glee effect", which has seen the high school troupe sell more than 36 million digital singles since the hit comedy-drama TV series, that has also spawned a film, first aired in 2009.