July 13, 1985
Live Aid, a massive concert for African famine relief, takes place
simultaneously in Philadelphia and London.
In addition to 162,000 fans that attended the all-day event were 1.5
billion viewers worldwide who watched the show on MTV or other television stations.
An estimated 75 percent of all radio stations around the world broadcast at
least part of the concert.
Irish musician Bob
Geldof, of the Boomtown Rats, organized the event. Among the participants were
Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, the Beach Boys, Carlos Santana, Madonna, Sting, and
Tina Turner. Several disbanded groups came together again for the day,
including Crosby, Stills and Nash; The Who; and surviving members of Led
Zeppelin, including Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones. All performers
worked for free, as did many other concert workers. The production, which
ordinarily would have cost $20 million to stage, cost only $4 million and
raised more than $70 million for famine relief.
Despite the number of
acts, the show ran surprisingly smoothly. Rotating stages allowed bands to set
up and dismantle their equipment while other bands were onstage. Acts from one
stadium were telecast across the Atlantic to the other. Such organization,
however, did not characterize the group's later charitable efforts: Live Aid
was later criticized for its disorganized and slow efforts to channel aid to
July 13, 1985