On this day in 1985, more than 50 musical acts performed in two concerts in London and Philadelphia and via satellite to raise money for Ethiopian famine relief. To date, Live Aid remains the grandest musical charity of all time, and pulled in more than $280 million in donations.
Organized by musicians Bob Geldof and Midge Ure as a follow-up to their charity single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, the event began at 7:00 AM Eastern time at London’s Wembley Stadium (noon British time). Shortly before 9:00 AM Eastern time, the show began at John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. Both concerts lasted around 15 hours each.
The London show is best remembered for iconic performances by a resurging Queen and an emerging U2, while the Philly show featured the sloppy reunions of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. However, there were many great performances in between in both shows.
Below are highlights that of concerts that were seen live by more that 70,000 in London, 100,000 in Philadelphia and 1.9 billion people around the world.
Queen’s Full Performance
U2 Performs “Sunday Bloody Sunday“
Dire Straits Performs “Money for Nothing“
The Who Performs “Love Reign on Me” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again“
Elton John Performs “I’m Still Standing“
Joan Baez Sings “Amazing Grace” and “We are the World“
The Four Tops Perform “I Can’t Help Myself“
Black Sabbath Performs “Paranoid“
Run DMC Performs “Jam Master Jay” and “King of Rock“
REO Speedwagon Performs “I Can’t Fight This Feeling“
Crosby, Stills and Nash Perform “Teach Your Children“
Judas Priest Performs “Living After Midnight“
The Beach Boys Perform “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “Good Vibrations“
George Thorogood and Bo Diddley Sing “Who Do You Love?“
Madonna Sings “Holiday“
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Perform “American Girl“
Neil Young Sings “Sugar Mountain“
Phil Collins Sings “In the Air Tonight“
Led Zeppelin Performs “Rock and Roll“
Patti Labelle Sings “Forever Young“
Mick Jagger and Tina Turner Sing “State of Shock“