Live Aid 1985 – “The day Rock and Roll changed the World”started when Bob Geldof saw the news reports in 1984 about the appalling famine in Africa and felt he had to do something to stop the suffering. He and Midge Ure of Ultravox got together and wrote the song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ to raise money for the crisis. They recorded and released the song under the name of Band Aid on 7th December 1984. It became the biggest selling single in the United Kingdom and raised about 8 million pounds which Bob Geldof used to help the famine victims of Ethiopia. While on a visit to the famine site the idea of a bigger concert was born and within 10 weeks the Live Aid project was put together.
The Live Aid concerts better known as the “Global Billboard” was hosted by the United Kingdom and the United States of America and went on to become the biggest rock events in the world. The two concerts featured 24 hours of music (eight hours of which overlapped) and were attended by 172,000 people with a global TV audience estimated at two billion. The final amount raised was a whopping 100 million pounds.
The London show started at noon with Prince Charles and Lady Diana among the audience and the British rock heroes Status Quo singing “Rockin’ All Over the World,” and concluded 10 hours later with Paul McCartney performing “Let It Be” followed by everybody singing “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Along the way, there were performances by Elvis Costello, Sting, U2, Howard Jones, Paul Young, Phil Collins and Dire Straits — all of whom were riding high on the charts at the time.
In Philadelphia, the show started with folksinger Joan Baez singing “Amazing Grace” and telling the crowd, “This is your Woodstock.” The U.S. lineup featured Four Tops, Billy Ocean, Patti LaBelle),Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Run-D.M.C. ,Pat Metheny sitting in with Santana and other pop luminaries like the Pretenders, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Madonna, Eric Clapton and the Beach Boys.
It ended shortly after 11 PM with an acoustic set by Bob Dylan, backed by Keith Richards and Ron Wood, followed by an all-star rendition of “We Are the World.”
Could there be another Live Aid?
In spite of the historic Live Aid concert where rock and roll tried to change the world, 1.2 million people starved to death in Africa during the 1984-85 famine.