Band Aid 30: 'Do They Know It's Christmas' single storms to number one

The charity track has become the fastest-selling single of 2014

A host of big name acts record 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London
A host of big name acts record 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London

Band Aid 30’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” has reached number one in the UK Official Charts, becoming 2014’s fastest-selling single.

Without physical sales or streaming, the track sold 312,000 copies in its first week, outselling the rest of the top five combined. All proceeds go towards Ebola relief efforts.

The charity song has achieved the biggest one-week sales since the X Factor’s James Arthur release of “Impossible” in 2012 – which was bought by 489,000.

Band Aid 30’s latest rendition far outstripped Band Aid 20’s 2004 track, which sold 297,000 in its first week. A physical version of the song will be released in December, making it a strong contender for this year’s Christmas number one.

The track features Bono, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Sam Smith, Chris Martin, Rita Ora, Bastille, Ellie Goulding and Emeli Sande. The lyrics of the song have been changed to focus on the Ebola crisis in West Africa, although the project has been criticised by some for perpetrating stereotypes of the country.

Rapper Fuse ODG declined Bob Geldof’s offer to participate as he felt the track was “not in line” with his beliefs. Lily Allen also refused to sing in the “smug” project, arguing that she “prefers donating actual money”.

Damien Albarn also criticised the image of Africa portrayed in the Band Aid 30 song, noting that there are “problems with our idea of charity”. “Having been to many countries and gotten to know many people, it always seems that we have only one view of it,” he said.

Emeli Sande, who features on the track, apologised for any offence caused by the song on Twitter and admitted that her edits had not been included in the final cut.

The track made £1 million within five minutes of debuting on last Sunday’s X Factor.

UK chancellor George Osbourne has waived VAT on sales of the charity single, which is available to download now from iTunes for 99p.

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In at number two this week is Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne’s collaboration “Real Love”, followed by “Wrapped Up” by Olly Murs featuring Travie McCoy.

One Direction’s fourth album, Four, topped the UK albums chart, the band’s third consecutive number one album, with 142,000 sales.

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