Live Aid: 35th Anniversary

July 13, 2020, marks the 35th Anniversary of Live Aid. Bob Geldof and Midge Ure organized the event to fight the famine in Ethiopia. According to sources, 72 000 people attended Live Aid in London, UK, and 89 484 in the Philadelphia, PA, US. The show aired in 150 countries, viewed by 1,9 billion people from what I read in my research. Harvey Goldsmith was in charge of the Wembley event. In seven hours, Live Aid reached 1,2 million British pounds (about $1,67 million US)*.

    Live Aid was a follow-on event to the successful charity single Do They It’s Christmas Time All by Band Aid. The idea to raise more money to fight against famine in Ethiopia was from Culture Club’s Boy George. Logistics required strings pulled to get Elton John, David Bowie, and Queen. 

  The musical event started with the brief version of God Save the Queen: The Royal Salute performed by the Coldstream Guards bandThe first act was Status Quo performing classic hits such as Rockin’ All Over the WorldCaroline, and Don’t Waste My Time. Bob Geldof and Elvis Costello followed Status Quo.

The most famous moment of Live Aid was the 21-minute performance by Queen. They started with Bohemian Rhapsody and ended with We Are The Champions.  Later on, Freddie Mercury and Brian May performed the song Is This The World We Created? It was from a three-part finale.

 A historic reunion took place for Led Zepplin. It was the first time reuniting since the drummer John Bonham’s passing. 

   Live Aid was an event that had the prominence and a positive commercial influence. 1.5 billion people watched around the world. It also affected the music charts of the songs for many artists such as Madonna, Phil Collins and Queen. Live Aid raised $127 million for famine in Ethiopia.

Having seen the movie Bohemian Rhapsody and clips of the real Live Aid event, I learned its significance and its long-term impact on music and awareness of world issues. 

Recent References

  • 2010: The movie When Harvey Met Bob dramatized Live Aid
  • The movie Bohemian Rhapsody recreated Queen’s performance at Live Aid. The Blue-Ray version has extra footage. 
  • February 2020: Queen and Adam Lambert used the setlist from Live Aid to raise money for Fire Fight Australia Charity in Sydney. 

Side Nite

2004: DVD released of Live Aid, with some performances omitted.

2018: September 7, digital download becomes available.

*A number based on estimation… If I find a more accurate estimate of pounds to US dollars, I will update as soon as possible.

Here are some clips I enjoyed from Live Aid. 
For more clips, check out the Official Youtube Channel Live Aid. 

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