Live Aid at 25
Was Live Aid REALLY 25 years ago today? If it weren’t for that huge banner above the stage, which stated “Feed The World – July 13th 1985 at Wembley Stadium”, I’d be arguing it was surely not that long ago.
I was 13 (yeah, ok, stop trying to work out my age). I remember it being a really hot summer’s day and following the huge success of Band Aid the Christmas before, Bob Geldof. Harvey Goldsmith and Midge Ure had organised what felt like the impossible – 2 huge concerts (one at Wembley, the other at the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia) featuring the biggest names in music at the time. We need to remember, nothing had been done like this before. It was one of the largest TV broadcasts of all time with an estimated 2 billion viewers across 60 countries watched it live.
And there was me at my mate’s house, looking forward to breaking up from school within a couple of weeks. We’d been playing tennis in the morning, so when Live Aid came on the TV at midday and Status Quo took to the stage, our tennis racquets quickly became impromptu electric guitars as we “rocked all over the world” – or my mates lounge in Dartford as it was known.
When you look back at the list of some of the artists who took part that day, it’s reads like a “who’s-who” of 80s music: Sting, Phil Collins (who performed at both gigs thanks to Concorde), Spandau Ballet, U2, Dire Straits, Queen, David Bowie, The Who, Elton John, George Michael, Bryan Adams, Simple Minds, Madonna, Eric Clapton and Duran Duran! As with any fundraising event, there were numerous appeals for viewers to phone-in and donate money, and films were shown that moved you to tears as you realised how desperate the famine in Ethiopia really was. The film that sticks in mine, and no doubt many other people’s minds, was set to the track 'Drive' by The Cars, which brought a huge stunned silence across both venues as it was shown on the big stadium screens.
What Bob Geldof achieved 25 years ago is hard to put down in a few sentences, but he woke up the world to the fact that we can make a difference if we all pull together and do something.
Don’t forget to look at our special Live Aid pages here on the Heart website, where you can leave your memories of the day and see a fantastic gallery of photos from the Wembley concert. Happy Birthday Live Aid!