Live Aid, held on July 13, 1985, was a benefit concert put together to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. The concert, held in two venues simultaneously, Wembley Stadium in London and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Pennsylvania was the first truly global concert in history. Together around 172,000 people attended the event. The concert was also one of the most significant international satellite television ventures of its time, with an estimated audience of approximately 1.9 billion, across 150 countries.
Live Aid included over 60 artists, journalists, and music executives. Some of the big-name performers included U2, The Who, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath, The Beach Boys, Run-D.M.C., Madonna, Led Zeppelin, and many more! The concert was successful in raising an estimated $245 million, the first of its size and impact.
Note Heard Around the World
The most monumental set in the concert’s star-studded line up was the twenty-one-minute performance put on by Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon, aka. Queen. Queen’s Live Aid performance was voted the greatest live performance in the history of rock in a 2005 industry poll. Freddie Mercury’s vocal improvisation which he used to pump up the crowd is known today as “the note heard round the world.” It was arguably the most memorable gig in Queen’s career. Freddie Mercury’s Live Aid legacy was expertly portrayed in the recent release of the Oscar-winning movie, Bohemian Rhapsody. The movie left the world reminiscing over Mercury’s legendary impact on the music of his time as well as on the concert of epic proportions that was Live Aid.
Since the release of the film, Queen guitarist, Brian May has enthusiastically expressed his desire to put on another concert of such scale, this time to tackle threats of climate change. May feels strongly that in order for the world to start initiating real change, a wide-scale event such as Live Aid would be necessary. Brian May is well known for being an environmentalist and animal rights campaigner.
Time to Make a Change
May feels that influencers of our time should gather together in order to bring attention to the issue and encourage progress. “It probably would take the younger generation to take that bull by the horns,” May said when discussing the potential concert. “We’d help in any way we can but I think that’s what it would require.” May expressed concerns that it might be harder than it was in the 60s to gather such a high energy audience. “People have seen so many concerts since Live Aid purporting to be solving the problems of the world so it’s not quite as easy as it seems,” he admitted.
May is not the first person to suggest such a concert. In 2007, Al Gore put together his Live Earth concert, in an effort to raise awareness for climate change. Unfortunately, the event did not have the grand impact that Gore had hoped. This fact does not discourage May as he feels now is the time to give it another go.