July 13, 1985, gave us Live Aid, the biggest concert benefit of the day that provided plenty of memories, all while raising funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof put out the call and a who’s who of the rock ‘n’ roll world showed up to play.
The primary Live Aid event took place in two venues — London’s Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia’s John F. Kennedy stadium — though Australia, Canada, the Soviet Union, Japan, Yugoslavia, Austria and West Germany also held benefits to join in the fundraising efforts.
It was easily the biggest musical benefit of the ’80s, with an estimated 1.9 billion people viewing the concerts around the world in more than 150 nations.
In London, Sting and Phil Collins united for one of the day’s top early sets, with Collins putting in a big day, then flying across the ocean to play with Led Zeppelin for their rare onstage reunion in Philadelphia. The London venue also gave a platform to rising rock stars U2 and sets from music icons David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Elton John and The Who, but it was a mid-day performance by Queen that stole the show, with many calling their set one of the greatest performances of all-time.
In Philadelphia, Black Sabbath, with Ozzy Osbourne back in the fold, took the stage for an early morning performance. Metal legends Judas Priest also played a three-song set just prior to noon and George Thorogood and the Destroyers destroyed with an afternoon set alongside blues legends Albert Collins and Bo Diddley. Music icons such as Eric Clapton; Neil Young; Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills and Nash took the stage, but the buzz stateside was about the reunion of Led Zeppelin, who played a troubled three-song performance beset by technical issues with Phil Collins and The Power Station’s Tony Thompson taking turns on drums.
It was estimated that £150 million ($189 million U.S. dollars) was raised over the course of concert broadcast.
On the anniversary of this classic concert event, revisit some of the top moments in the Live Aid photo gallery below.
Live Aid Photo Gallery