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Useful Notes / Live Aid

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The day the music changed the world!

On July 13, 1985, the biggest musical event of The '80s, and possibly of all time, took place.

It was Live Aid, two concerts that took place in London and Philadelphia and watched by billions all over the world on TV.

The idea for the event began all the way back in October of 1984, when Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats saw images of the Ethiopian famine on TV, and decided to do something about it. So he called Midge Ure from Ultravox and decided to form a group called Band Aid. Their single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" hit #1 in the UK and all over the world, and became one of the best selling singles of all time.

So how do you follow up one of the biggest singles of all time? With one of the biggest concerts of all time!

During the production of Live Aid, everyone gave Geldof everything for free, including satellite time, lighting, and all the technical stuff.


Many famous stars arrived for the concert, such as Status Quo and U2, but the one everybody remembers is Queen, whose performance at this event is often considered to be their finest hour.

The event wasn't initially going to be on home video, but then came the Turn of the Millennium, and due to increasing piracy and the Live 8 concert coming in 2005, Geldof finally released the concert on DVD. (Some songs are missing either due to copyright or technical problems during the performance.


Setlists and performances

  • 12:00: Coldstream Guards: God Save the Queen (first six bars)
  • 12:01: Status Quo:
    • Rocin' All Over The World
    • Caroline
    • Don't Waste My Time
  • 12:19: The Style Council:
    • You're the Best Thing
    • Big Boss Groove
    • Internationalists
    • Walls Come Tumbling Down
  • 12:44: The Boomtown Rats:
    • I Don't Like Mondays
    • Drag Me Down
    • Rat Trap
    • For He's A Jolly Good Fellow
  • 13:01: Adam Ant: "Vive Le Rock"
  • 13:17 Ultravox:
    • Reap the Wild Wind
    • Dancing with Tears in My Eyes
    • One Small Day
    • Vienna
  • 13:46: Spandau Ballet:
    • Only When You Leave
    • Virgin
    • True
  • 14:07: Elvis Costello: "All You Need Is Love"
  • 14:22: Nik Kershaw:
    • Wide Boy
    • Don Quixote
    • The Riddle
    • Wouldn't It Be Good
  • 14:53: Sade:
    • Why Can't We Live Together
    • Your Love Is King
    • Is It A Crime
  • 15:18: Sting & Phil Collins:
    • Roxanne (Sting)
    • Driven to Tears (Sting)
    • Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) (Phil Collins)
    • Message in a Bottle (Sting)
    • In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins)
    • Long Long Way to Go (both)
    • Every Breath You Take (both)
  • 15:49: Howard Jones: "Hide and Seek"
  • 16:08: Bryan Ferry:
    • Sensation
    • Boys And Girls
    • Slave to Love
    • Jealous Guy
  • 16:40: Paul Young:
    • Do They Know It's Christmas? (intro)
    • Come Back and Stay
    • That's the Way Love Is
    • Every Time You Go Away
  • 17:19: U2:
    • Sunday Bloody Sunday
    • Bad
  • 18:00: Dire Straits:
    • Money for Nothing (with Sting, the only time he performed this live with them)
    • Sultans of Swing
  • 18:41: Queen
    • Bohemian Rhapsody
    • Radio Ga Ga
    • Hammer to Fall
    • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
    • We Will Rock You
    • We Are The Champions
  • 19:23: David Bowie:
    • TVC 15
    • Rebel Rebel
    • Modern Love
    • "Heroes"
  • 19:59: The Who:
    • My Generation
    • Pinball Wizard
    • Love, Reign o'er Me
    • Won't Get Fooled Again
  • 20:50: Elton John:
    • I'm Still Standing
    • Bennie and the Jets
    • Rocket Man
    • Don't Go Breaking My Heart
    • Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
    • Can I Get a Witness
  • 21:48: Freddie Mercury and Brian May: "Is This The World We Created...?"
  • 21:51: Paul McCartney (with David Bowie, Bob Geldof, Alison Moyet and Pete Townshead): "Let It Be"
  • 21:57: Band Aid: "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

Works that feature Live Aid:


Live-Action Television

  • The Goldbergs: In "George! George Glass!", Barry tries to get tickets to Live Aid and fails, while he rejects going with his mom to a lame The Beach Boys concert, not realizing that it was Live Aid all along.


  • Roger Waters: The third single from his album Radio K.A.O.S., "The Tide Is Turning", refers to Live Aid
    Now the satellite's confused
    'Cause on Saturday night
    The airwaves were full of compassion and light

Western Animation

  • The South Park episode "Chef Aid" is a parody of the concert.

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