11/17/2014 11:21 EST | Updated 01/17/2015 05:59 EST

Band Aid 30 Single Sales Have Gone 'Bonkers,' says Bob Geldof

Bob Geldof, the Irish musician and co-founder of the Band Aid 30 campaign to fight Ebola, says the charity single Do They Know It's Christmas is selling like crazy.

"From what we've seen from iTunes, it's gone bonkers," he told BBC Radio 4's Today program on Monday. "Within four or five minutes we had a million quid ($1.7 million)."

The single, which premiered on the British version of the TV talent show X Factor Sunday night, went on sale online Monday morning with proceeds going to help fight the spread of the hemorrhagic virus in West Africa.

"iTunes haven't been able to refresh their charts because the demand has been so vast," said the veteran rocker.

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Some of the biggest names in the British music industry gathered at a London studio on Saturday to record the song, including boy band One Direction, U2's Bono, Robert Plant and Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin.

The lyrics have been updated from the 1984 original Do They Know It's Christmas. That version, featuring artists like Bono, George Michael and David Bowie, went on to sell 3.7 million copies and raised $14 million for famine relief.

Aided by online digital sales, it seems likely that the 2014 version will smash previous Band Aid single sales.

"That isn't what [Band Aid co-founder] Midge [Ure] and I expected when we knocked off an OK song 30 years ago," explained Geldof.

"But, every time it's worked. Without question, without any shadow of a doubt, there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions alive today who would have died of hunger."

Geldof relaunched the Band Aid cause last week, after he said the United Nations contacted him, saying help was urgently needed to prevent the disease from spreading beyond West Africa.

Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people since it broke out in West Africa earlier this year according to the World Health Organization, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

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Band Aid 30 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 time after all

Feed the world, let them know it's Christmas time again

Feel the world, let them know it's Christmas time again

Heal the world, let them know it's Christmas time again