Remembering Live Aid 1985, London and Philadelphia lineups

Live Aid Screening - Arrivals
Live Aid Screening - Arrivals / Dave Hogan/GettyImages

On July 13, 1985, the band Status Quo would kick off the multi-venue benefit concert Live Aid, which was officially opened by Prince Charles and Princess Diana at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Joan Baez opened the event at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, stating, "This is your Woodstock, and it's long overdue.”

Boomtown Rats singer and Live Aid creator Bob Geldof visited Ethiopia in 1984. When he saw firsthand the effects of the horrific famine that had killed thousands and would kill millions more, he gathered Britain’s and Ireland’s top pop artists to record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to benefit the Ethiopian famine relief. The song was written by Geldolf and Ultravox singer Midge Ure and performed by Band Aid, a group consisting of Culture Club, Duran Duran, Phil Collins, U2, Wham!, and others. The song would chart at No. 1 and raise over $10 million.

This would lead to the formation of USA for Africa, a group of US pop artists who would sing “We Are The World,” written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. This group featured the talents of Jackson, Richie, Geldof, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, and many others. “We Are The World” would also hit No. 1 and raise $44 million for famine relief.

As the situation in Ethiopia continued and spilled over into Sudan, Geldolf would propose Live Aid to bring more awareness to the famine and raise even more money for the relief project. The global concert was organized in 10 weeks and featured over 75 acts, of which the majority played at Wembley and JFK stadiums. Thirteen satellites would broadcast the event live worldwide to over one billion viewers in 110 countries. At least 40 countries held their own fundraising telethons during the broadcast.

Live Aid London Lineup

  • Status Quo
  • The Style Council 
  • The Boomtown Rats
  • Adam Ant
  • Ultravox
  • Spandau Ballet
  • Elvis Costello
  • Nik Kershaw
  • Sade
  • Sting, Phil Collins & Branford Marsalis
  • Howard Jones
  • Bryan Ferry with David Gilmour
  • Paul Young
  • U2
  • Dire Straits
  • Queen
  • David Bowie
  • The Who
  • Elton John
  • Freddie Mercury & Brian May
  • Paul McCartney with David Bowie, Bob Geldof, Alison Moyet & Pete Townshend
  • Band Aid

Live Aid Philadelphia Lineup

  • Joan Baez
  • The Hooters
  • Four Tops
  • Billy Ocean
  • Black Sabbath
  • Run - D.M.C. 
  • Rick Springfield
  • REO Speedwagon
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash
  • Judas Priest
  • Bryan Adams
  • The Beach Boys
  • George Thorogood & the Destroyers with Bo Diddley & Albert Collins
  • Simple Minds
  • Pretenders
  • Santana with Pat Metheny
  • Ashford & Simpson with Teddy Pendergrass
  • Madonna with Thompson Twins & Nile Rodgers
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • Kenny Loggins
  • The Cars
  • Neil Young
  • The Power Station
  • Thompson Twins with Madonna & Nile Rodgers
  • Eric Clapton
  • Phil Collins 
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Duran Duran
  • Patti LaBelle
  • Hall & Oats with Eddie Kendricks & David Ruffin
  • Mick Jagger with Tina Turner

Queen Elizabeth II would knight Geldof for his efforts which raised over $127 million for famine relief in African countries.

The Live Aid YouTube channel has amazing videos of the legendary performances.

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