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Live Aid
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Live Aid

Live Aid was a multi-venue rock music concert held on July 13, 1985. The event was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in order to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. Billed as a "global jukebox", the main sites for the event were Wembley Stadium, London, and JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, with some acts performing at other venues such as Sydney and Moscow. It was the largest scale satellite link-up and TV broadcast of all time.

Table of contents
1 Origins
2 Live Aid performers
3 See also
4 External links


The concert was conceived as a follow-up to another Geldof/Ure project, the successful charity single "Do They Know it's Christmas" performed by a collection of British music acts billed as "Band Aid" and released the previous winter.

The concert grew in scope as more acts were added on both sides of the Atlantic. As a charity fundraiser, the concert far exceeded its goals: on a television programme in 2001 one of the organisers stated that while initially it had been hoped that Live Aid would raise 1 million ($1.64 million), when the money raised was finally totted up, it has raised more than 150 million (approx. $245.4 million) for famine relief. Partly in recognition of the Live Aid effort, Geldof subsequently received an honorary knighthood.

A Collaborative Effort

The concert was the most ambitious international satellite television venture ever, broadcast in the UK by the BBC, while ABC was largely responsible for the U.S. broadcast (although ABC themselves telecast only the final three hours of the concert from Philadelphia, hosted by Dick Clark, with the rest shown in syndication). An entirely separate and simultaneous U.S. feed was provided for cable viewers by MTV.

No one concert before or since has brought together such legendary talent from the past and present, whose names are shown below (under Live Aid performers). However, those artists who had been slated to perform did not appear at the last minute, including Julian Lennon and Cat Stevens (who wrote a song for the Live Aid concert that he never got to perform--had he done so, he would have made his first public concert appearance since converting to Islam and changing his name to Yusuf Islam), while Prince provided a clip of 4 The Tears In Your Eyes.

It was the original intention for Mick Jagger to perform an intercontinental duet from the U.S. with David Bowie in London, but problems of synchronisation made it impossible -- instead, Jagger and Bowie created a video clip for the song they would have performed, a cover of Dancing In The Street. Jagger still performed with Tina Turner live at the Philadelphia portion of the concert.

Each of the two main portions of the concert ended with their particular continental all-star anti-hunger anthems, with Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas closing the UK concert, and USA for Africa's We Are The World closing the US concert (and thus the day's proceedings).

The concert has never been commercially released due to music rights issues, although bootleg videos and CDs have circulated widely. However, Warner Bros is planning an official home release of Live Aid on DVD before the end of 2004.

Bob Dylan's comments

Bob Dylan's performance generated controversy for his insensitive comment:

"It would be nice if some of this money went to the American farmers."

(He is often misquoted, as on the Farm Aid web site[1], as saying "Wouldn't it be great if we did something for our own farmers right here in America?"). In his biography Bob Geldof was extremely critical of the remark; he states:

"He displayed a complete lack of understanding of the issues raised by Live Aid.... Live Aid was about people losing their lives. There is a radical difference between losing your livelihood and losing your life. It did instigate Farm Aid, which was a good thing in itself, but it was a crass, stupid, and nationalistic thing to say."

Roger Waters

The success of Live Aid inspired Roger Waters' song "The Tide is Turning".

Live Aid performers

(in order of appearance):

See also

External links