THIRTY-five years ago today the legendary Live Aid concert took place, featuring the world’s biggest stars. Watched by more than 1.5 billion people, the day-long benefit was the first of its kind and lives long in the memory.


Band Aid?

Sir Bob Geldof travelled to Ethiopia in 1984, having heard reports on the news of a devastating famine that had already killed hundreds of thousands and threatened to kill millions more. When he returned to the UK, he gathered the country's leading artists of the time to record the now iconic single he wrote with Midge Ure, 'Do They Know It's Christmas?', which raised more than £10 million.


Then came Live Aid?

Sir Bob and Midge set about organising what was billed as a “global jukebox”; an ambitious global charity concert to raise awareness and funds of the situation in Ethiopia. Organised in only 10 weeks, it took place at Wembley in the UK to a crowd of 72,000, with 100,000 packing into Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium.


Beamed around the world?

Satellites broadcast the live TV events to 160 countries in the biggest broadcast ever known, with more than 1.5 billion people tuning in and as a result, Live Aid remains one of those “where were you when?” events.


It was an unbelievable line-up?

Pulled together in only 10 weeks and opened by Princess Diana and Prince Charles, more than 75 acts performed, with Status Quo opening. In the UK, the line-up included Elton John, Sade, Sting, U2, The Who, David Bowie, Dire Straits and Wham! The American line-up included Duran Duran, Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Simple Minds, Tears for Fears, The Cars, Madonna and Stevie Wonder.



Queen played for just 20 minutes to Wembley, but it was unforgettable as Freddie Mercury captivated the crowd and the full set and individual songs have been watched more than a billion times on YouTube.


Phil Collins?

He was the only performer to play both concerts, performing songs such as ‘Against All Odds’ and ‘In the Air Tonight’ at Wembley and then flying to New York on Concorde and taking a helicopter to Philadelphia to perform them there too, as well as stepping in to play drums for Clapton’s set.



Frequent appeals by Sir Bob during the broadcast told viewers, ”Don't go to the pub tonight. Please stay in and give us your money. There are people dying now”. He himself took a call from the ruling family in Dubai who made the biggest single donation of £1 million, with more than £110 million raised overall.



A BBC2 documentary on the story of the day that music rocked the world is on BBC iPlayer, with the programme trending all weekend on Twitter as music fans reminisced over what remains the biggest televised event ever and fans lamented the loss of artists such as Bowie, Mercury and George Michael.


Personal toll?

Sir Bob said earlier this year that the profile the event gave him meant “Saint Bob” was not “allowed” to return properly to his day job of frontman of The Boomtown Rats. As for the event itself, he thinks it would never happen today. He said: “It was the end of that political period of cooperation and consensus and compromise. Would that happen today? No. You just have to look at the clowns running the planet to understand that could never happen again”.