Music events MUSIC EVENTS

Live Aid

In 1984, Michael Buerk famously reported on the Ethiopian famine crisis bringing haunting and unforgettable images of starving children to our TV screens. The devastating famine in Ethiopia was claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children and huge numbers of people felt moved to do something to help alleviate the suffering.

Bob Geldof, the lead singer from the Boomtown Rats, was one of those people moved by the news reports and after calling in support from Ultravox front man, Midge Ure, the pair penned the now famous song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”. Using all his music industry connections, Geldof created a group called “Band Aid” to record the track comprising many of the most popular British and Irish musicians at the time and when the single was released it shot to number one in the UK charts, where it stayed for five weeks, generating around £8 million for Ethiopian famine relief.

After seeing the Band Aid single raise millions for famine relief, Geldof conceived the idea of staging an enormous concert comprising all the biggest acts in the music business at that time. Although faced with numerous, seemingly impossible obstacles to staging a concert of this magnitude, Bob Geldof managed to persuade dozens of acts to perform for free and amazingly arranged a live television broadcast that was watched by an estimated 1.9 billion people around the world.

Two massive concerts were held simultaneously on the 13th July 1985, one in Wembley Stadium, London and the other in the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. Phil Collins famously performed at both concerts starting with a gig at Wembley Stadium before being flown to Heathrow airport by Noel Edmonds in his helicopter to board Concorde. Thanks to the supersonic passenger jet, Phil Collins crossed the Atlantic in time to perform at the Philadelphia concert the very same day.

Throughout the concerts, television viewers were repeatedly urged to donate money via the Live Aid phone lines and after seven hours of the concert had passed, Bob Geldof asked how much money had been raised. The answer was £1.2 million which reportedly disappointed and angered him and led to him marching to the BBC commentary box to make an appeal. Here he conducted a now legendary interview with BBC presenter David Hepworth who made small talk and attempted to provide a list of addresses to which cheques could be sent. The passionate Geldof didn't have time for this though and interrupted him in mid-flow shouting, “F**k the address, let’s get the numbers!”.

At the conclusion of Live Aid, around £150 million had been raised for famine relief efforts in Ethiopia and Bob Geldof received an honorary knighthood for his efforts.


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Live Aid 1985 Last post by Richard1978
17 October 2016
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Live Aid - Biggest mistake of my life Last post by darren
09 October 2012

Do You Remember Live Aid?

Do You Remember Live Aid?

  • Anonymous user
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    Retrogirl some of the best performers ever seen on both sides of the atlantic or Russ Abbott.........Russ Abbott win's hands down
  • Anonymous user
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    I agree with Fiona nothing will ever come close to live Aid 85 performers made the occasion
  • Anonymous user
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    I remember wanting to stay in that day to watch the entire event but my mum and dad weren't having any of it and I was told I could only watch a bit. I saw Status Quo's set but I didn't know who they were and I wasn't all that impressed with what I was hearing so I decided to go to a summer roaadshow which my local radio station had organised instead. It's hard to believe that while most of the world was tuned into this historic event, I was standing in a park with about thirty other people listening to 'Atmosphere' by Russ Abbott wondering if I'd made the right decision! I was allowed to see a bit of the Philadelphia feed later that night but that's all I really remember about Live Aid.
  • Anonymous user
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    A horrible, nauseating, backslapping event.
  • Anonymous user
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    I remember it so well - A warm July day, and the opening announcement: "It's 12 Noon in London, 7 a.m. in Philadelphia, and around the world it's time for Live Aid!". Status Quo came on stage, and so began one of the greatest musical events of the last century. I listened to the whole thing, though I did start to get a little bit bored in the early hours of the next morning, during the American coverage (Bob Dylan's set was far too long, and he just droned on and on and ON!!!). Some great tunes there, all in all, though many of the bands that performed at this event are now largely forgotten!
  • Anonymous user
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    I was 16 and I'd just left school when Live Aid was on. I had also never seen a stadium gig before, so I had no idea what to expect. My memory of it was that the 80's popstars of the day fell a bit flat so the first part of the concert was a bit slow-moving. Here are some bits I remember well; Status Quo - The mighty Quo started the day off with 'Rockin all over the World'. A great beginning to the day. Boomtown Rats - I've seen the clip of 'I don't like Mondays' being replayed with some kind of significance to the 'and the lesson today is how to die' and the roar of the crowd but I don't remember it like that at all. In fact I think this has been re-jigged to give an exaggerated impression of this kind of 'connection' between band and the audience. Friends at the gig have all said the same. Adam Ant - was trying too hard AND didn't play any of his hits. (cue career suicide). Ultravox - Flat as a pancake when all the synths disappeared into the vastness of Wembley Stadium. Spandau Ballet - me and my mates were jealous always of the clothes these guys wore and Live Aid was no exception. 'True' was one of the first songs on the show that got any real connection with the audience. Sade - Wore a white backless top with no bra. The music was good too! Phil Collins - hit a bum note in 'against all odds'. heard by 95% of the planet. Queen - Can you believe that I went out for a walk and missed Queen's set? Yes indeed. I do remember that every TV in every house had Live Aid on. I sat in my previously unknown neighbours back garden and watched the 'Dancing in the Streets' video while everyone raved about the Queen set! David Bowie - Great set and the film of The Cars 'Drive' was shown at the end of his set. When they went back to the presenters shack, nobody could speak with the shock of the images on screen. The first and only time I have ever seen that happen. The Who - I really wanted to see The Who live and the signal died just before the bass solo on 'My Generation'. All we got was footage of Chevy Chase chucking frisbees around the RFK Philadephia stadium! It finally came on for 'Love Reign on me' and 'Won't get Fooled again' which I'd never heard and because of that remain favourites to this day. Elton John - Although Wham! were billed they only appeared as part of Elton John's set. I remember thinking that the set was far longer than everyone else but I now know that Cat Steven's had been billed and had turned up to appear, it was decided at the 11th hour to let Elton overun in the light of the Cat Stevens support of the fatwa on Salman Rushdie. Power Station - I fell asleep around this time and so I missed the rest of the gig. I remember being disappointed that Robert Palmer wasn't appearing and trying to work out who Michael de Barres was! Zzzzzz followed shortly after! I'll post more memories when i remember them.
  • Anonymous user
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    The Music was good but I kept being put off by all those pictures of the starving kids. Please!!! I was trying to eat my dinner.
  • Anonymous user
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    Being only 13 and living in Scotland, the closest I got to Live Aid was watching it on TV. But, it must've been what the people at Woodstock felt - it was like you were really part of a moment in history, an event of epic proportions. Delved in and out throughout the course of that day, but can truly say I watched until the end - when everyone gathered on stage in Wembley and sang 'Feed the World'. I don't know if the next generation felt the history of the occasion at Live 8, but I know that Live Aid is something that probably can never happen again in the same way. Maybe it was the times, our growing awareness of world events, maybe it was the performers... but I don't think anything will ever come close.
  • Anonymous user
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    I worked security back stage at Philadelphia, ended up collected meal tkt from the singer, it was a long day, but had a great time, everybody was enjoyable to talk with, still have the list for the security IDs we used, and i think theres a picture or two of me with the two world cakes back stage, had a small run in with jagers daughter,
  • Anonymous user
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    A 21-yr-old girl whose life was saved by Live Aid was a guest on stage at Live 8 last year, looking healthy and doing well for herself. One of the success stories - hope there were many more !