FLASHBACK: 'Live Aid' Concerts Raise $140 Mil For African Relief
It was 29 years ago today (July 13th, 1985) that the Live Aid concerts took place in Philadelphia's JFK Stadium and London's Wembley Stadium. The mammoth fundraising shows were organized by then-Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof, who began the music industry's efforts to fight famine in Africa with Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" all-star single in 1984.
Live Aid featured performances by Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Tina Turner with Hall & Oates, Madonna, U2, Judas Priest, Duran Duran, Queen, Eric Clapton, Sting, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan with Rolling Stones guitarists Keith Richards and Ron Wood, David Bowie, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and scores of others. Led Zeppelin, the Who, and Black Sabbath staged one-off reunions especially for that day. The 16-hour Live Aid marathon was watched by an estimated global audience of 1.5 billion and raised more than $140 million for famine relief.
Organizer Bob Geldof recalls that his panic for the show to come off smoothly actually turned into physical pain for him: "I was frightened that nobody would show up. I had no contracts. I had a very sore back and my wife used to put towels underneath the sheets in the bed because I used to have cold sweats, y'know, with fear. And as the day wore on, my back got more and more painful, and Bowie came over and said, 'Lie down.' So I lay down and David Bowie gave me a massage, y'know. Best massage by a rock star that I ever had."
Live Aid was commemorated in two 2005 DVD packages: Live Aid: Boxed Set, which contained portions of the two historic shows, and the single-disc documentary Live Aid -- 20 Years Ago Today.