One of the biggest events of MUSIC was held today, July 13 in 1985. That’s right, I’m talking about the dual-venue charity concert, known as Live Aid. Live Aid was organized by famous artist and social activist Bob Geldof and James “Midge” Ure to raise funds for relief of the Ethiopian famine . What was truly fascinating about this event was the scale of it. Live Aid was held simultaneously in at Wembley Stadium in London, England, United Kingdom (attended by 72,000 people) and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States (attended by about 100,000 people). In addition, it also inspired numerous other nations around the world to join the initiative – on the same day concerts were held in Japan, Australia and West Germany. According to CNN, “It was one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time: an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations, watched the live broadcast.” Helping people in need and trying to raise funds to end hunger is a noble cause and there’s no surprise in the number of people who attended the concerts and supported the event.
Bob Geldof will always remain one of the most prominent and socially active artists. Known for his other successful charity initiative – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, he couldn’t just stop there. The idea for such a multi-national, grandiose benefit concert was actually thrown by none-other than Boy George from Culture Club. Bob Geldof was extremely enthusiastic about the suggestion and took matters into his own hands. As a result, we have the biggest gathering of talents the world has ever seen! Let’s look at some facts and photos from the concert!
Jack Nicholson hosted the concert in Philadelphia
Phil Collins was the only artist to perform at both concerts. He used Concorde to fly from London to Philadelphia. When he went on stage in Philadelphia, he told everyone, “I was in England this afternoon. Funny old world, innit?”
Mick Jagger and David Bowie were supposed to perform an international duet with Bowie in London and Jagger in Philadelphia. However, due to technical difficulties the plans were cancelled. Instead, there was a video clip, played at both venues of each musician, covering “Dancing in the Street”.
QUEEN almost didn’t perform! They were a bit difficult to convince, as Freddie was concerned about any political inclinations of the event. However, Bob managed to persuade him and thank God he did! Queen did a spectacular concert! 75,000 people clapped together to “Radio Ga Ga”.
Since the death of legendary drummer John Bonham in 1980, the concert at Live Aid was Led Zeppelin’s first appearance on stage. Their performance was one of the most anticipated ones, though till today, it’s often pointed out as the biggest disappointment of Live Aid.
One of the most memorable moments was Mick Jagger and Tina Turner’s duet. They performed the hit single “State of Shock”. However, during the performance of “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Mick Jagger ripped away a part of Tina Turner’s dress which left her in just a leotard.
Wham! Were supposed to perform after Elton John’s set, however they couldn’t because of time allocation. When he noticed the problem, Elton John called them on stage and together, they performed “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”.
The Who performed so passionately that when a red warning light at the front of the stage alerted them that their time was up, Pete Townshend smashed the light and the band played for another five minutes.
Bob also managed to convince Black Sabbath, who had been defunct for years, to reunite for the charity concert.
A companion event, based in Australia – “Oz For Africa”, was held on the same day as Live Aid and also raised funds for the Ethiopian famine. The headline act were INXS and they had their performance broadcasted at the Live Aid show in London.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LIVE AID!