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Live Aid 25th Anniversary

July 4, 2010
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On July 13, 1985, the Live Aid concerts were held and broadcast to a worldwide audience of over 1.5 billion, the largest audience ever for a music concert. Two official concerts were held, one in London and one in Philadelphia. Those are the two that were broadcast worldwide, though smaller concerts around the globe were also arranged by local artists and promoters to help with the effort.

The year earlier, in 1984, the BBC broadcast this news report which helped ignite the relief efforts of Band Aid and USA For Africa, the two groups who would ultimately help organize Live Aid:

People around the world were shocked by what they saw, and musicians and other artists came together to create songs for charity to help raise money for the famine victims.

In Europe, Band Aid was formed by Midge Ure and Bob Geldof, producing the classic Do They Know It’s Christmas which is still played every year. It’s been re-recorded a few times by different groups of artists, but the original is still the best:

The success of the single prompted Midge and Bob to help organize a charity concert at Wembley, which would ultimately grow into Live Aid.

The following year in the United States, USA For Africa recorded “We Are The World.” Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and co-produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian, the song became a massive hit, ultimately raising $63 million by 2009.

At 12:00 noon on July 13, 1985, announcer Richard Skinner opened the show and broadcast with “It’s twelve noon in London, seven AM in Philadelphia, and around the world it’s time for; Live Aid …”

The Prince and Princess of Wales were introduced along with Bob and his family, and the Coldstream Guards opened the show with the Royal Salute.

The first official music act was Status Quo who appropriately played Rockin’ All Over The World.

A note on all the performance clips you will see: the green horizontal bands that occasionally appear on UK acts is microphany, which occurs when a camera lens is affected by great volume, according to Jill Sinclair’s notes for the DVD. So that means it’s really loud.

I’ll be doing a number of posts focusing on a few artists and their performances in the days to come, plus one on the stunning fashion seen that day.

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