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Live Aid - The Event

Live Aid


Stark images of millions of people starving to death in Ethiopia, revealed by Michael Buerk's BBC news reports on the 1984 famine, shocked Britain.
Pop star Bob Geldof, lead singer with the band the Boomtown Rats, decided he could not sit back and just watch the suffering.
With Ultravox lead singer and guitarist Midge Ure he wrote the song Do They Know It's Christmas to raise money for famine relief.
Geldof then badgered colleagues in the music industry and persuaded them to record the single under the title Band Aid for free.

Michael Buerk's shocking reports prompted Geldof to act

On 25 November 1984, nearly 40 pop stars arrived at a studio in west London to record the single.
Artists including Sting, Phil Collins, George Michael and Bono lined up with Duran Duran, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet and Bananarama.
The song, released on 7 December, was the fastest-selling single ever and raised £8m - rather than the £70,000 Geldof had expected.

Geldof then set his sights on staging a huge concert to raise further funds.

Live Aid took place on 13 July, 1985 and was held simultaneously in Wembley Stadium, London, and the JFK Stadium, Philadelphia.

The events raised about £40m for famine relief. Almost half was spent on food aid and most of the rest went into long term development.

Bands said Geldof was impossible to refuse - he travelled around the world to track them down and demanded they add their names to the bill.
Live Aid included performances by U2, Queen, Madonna, Elton John, PhilCollins and Eric Clapton.

Phil Collins started the day performing solo in London before singing two duets with Sting.

He then flew by Concorde to New York, where a helicopter took him to Philadelphia.

He played drums for Eric Clapton, before repeating the same songs he had played in London.

Charles and Diana among the Wembley crowd

About 24.5m Britons tuned into the show at its peak.

But despite this huge international effort 1.2m people still starved to death.

Now aid organisations are predicting that as many as 12m people are at risk in the current Ethiopian famine.