The July 13 1985 Live Aid benefit concert is remembered as one of the biggest gigs in music history with a live audience of at least 72,000 at the UK Wembley Stadium, and about 89,464 people simultaneously attending, at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in the USA.
The event was originally organized by Irish singer-songwriter Bob Geldof and Scottish musician Midge Ure, to raise funds to alleviate the Ethiopian famine. On that very day, a number of concerts inspired by the same agenda took place concurrently in other countries such as Canada, Austria, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, West Germany, Japan and Australia. Almost 40 percent of the global population, representing at least 1.9 billion people across 150 nations viewed the 16-hour live broadcast, making it the most-watched television event so far. Below are some interesting facts about the famous Live Aid concert.
Interesting facts about the Live Aid charity concert of 1985
-British band Status Quo opened the show with John Fogerty’s song Rockin’ All Over the World at Wembley Stadium.
-There was a sign post on a door at Wembley Stadium that advised performers to check their egos.
–Queen’s performance lasted for about twenty-one minutes and has been adjudged the greatest live performance in rock history by a 2005 BBC poll. It was particularly remembered for lead singer Freddie Mercury’s stage movements and leading the crowd through unison refrains. The band performed six of their songs, beginning with a shorter version of Bohemian Rhapsody and ending with We Are the Champions.
-Cliff Richard was noticeably absent because he had earlier opted to perform at a gospel charity concert.
-Rock band The Pretenders did their final rehearsal at a pub nearby because other artists had fully booked all professional rehearsal spaces.
-Phil Collins played drums earlier in the day at Wembley Stadium and flew with a Concorde to play for Led Zeppelin in Philadelphia.
-Led Zeppelin’s performance at the Live Aid concert was a rough one with Jimmy Page’s guitar being out of tune, tech problems here and there, Robert Plant’s voice being rather hoarse while Phil Collins later revealed in his autobiography that he would have walked off the stage if he could.
-Late English television presenter Paula Yates made a stop at a fuel station to buy a bouquet of flowers for the late Princess Diana who was a special guest at the concert.
-While The Who was performing, Pete Townshend kicked and destroyed the red light on stage that warned each band when their allotted time was up. They performed for five more minutes after their time was officially up.
-The concert was massively sponsored by Chevrolet, Pepsi, Eastman Kodak and AT&T.
-Following the success of the event, David Bowie suggested to Midge Ure that Live Aid should be organized annually.
-Organizer Bob Geldof had no option than to hitch-hike home after the concert since no taxis were available.
-The Live Aid concert raised at least 127 million dollars. An expose published by Spin Magazine in 1986 alleged that some of the millions raised had been diverted to Ethiopian ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam, instead of being used to feed the poor.