Live Aid: The Pinnacle of Rock N' Roll

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, July 15, 2015 | | 0 comments »

Live Aid
Thirty years ago today, the world witness the rock ‘n’ children. Everyone who was alive back then can still remember the date 13 July 1985.

On that exact date, more than 75 artists, 170,000 concertgoers, and a whopping 1.5 billion television viewers across 150 nations gathered for Sir Bob Geldof’s massive Live Aid — a "superconcert" held jointly at London’s Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia’s John F. Kennedy Stadium. Inspired by the all-star charity singles "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and "We Are the World," the event was meant to raise funds for Ethiopian famine relief.

Despite some questions on how much was raised and how they were spent, every '80s child remembers tuning in to MTV, and every artist that graced those two revolving stages agrees that music history was made that day.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana rubbed shoulders with David Bowie; Sean Penn (aka Mr. Madonna Ciccone at the time) hung out in a trailer with Simple Minds; Mick Jagger de-skirted Tina Turner on live television; the original "Fab Five" Duran Duran lineup played its last show for the next 18 years; Phil Collins hopped on the Concorde in order to appear at both concerts; Queen and U2 played gigs of a lifetime; and everyone from elder statesmen Page & Plant, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young to new wave newbies Thomas Dolby and Howard Jones joined forces for a sing-a-long heard 'round the world.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Live Aid, here are a couple of behind the scene happenings and backstage drama that many people are still not aware of:
  • Cool clothes, warm weather. It was very bright and sunny day in Wembley Stadium, but Spandau Ballet lead singer Tony Hadley was wearing a full-length leather coat on! Warm atmosphere won’t stop him from trying to look good and cool.
  • Time limitation. There was a kind of tension that day, because every artist only had exactly 13 minutes each to perform three obligatory songs. If they went one minute over, the organizers will pull the plug on them. Bob Geldof told everyone: "No one goes over; if you don't stop, we’re literally gonna press a button and the stage will spin around."
  • The jumping Bono. Despite the time limitation, Bono decided to jump off the stage and played forever, so a lot of bands thought that they won’t have a chance to play their full sets. Fortunately, due to the unplanned stage-jumping, U2 actually had to cut the final song from their set, "Pride," in order to stay on schedule.
  • Hall & Oates Extended Play. Hall & Oates are probably the only band that stayed the longest on stage. After doing their own thing, they played duet with Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin, who are two of the principal lead singers of the Temptations. They also join Mick Jagger and Tina Turner as back-up band because during this time Jagger is doing some solo projects outside of The Rolling Stones.
  • Tina's wardrobe malfunction or is it? It has not really been a subject of many reactions, but when Mick Jagger tore Tina Turner’s skirt on stage some thought it was a wardrobe malfunction. However, many believed it was planned all along.
  • Artists everywhere in the backstage. There weres no record company people or business people backstage; the only people backstage were artists and the crew. That was it. They didn’t even let managers backstage.
  • Trailer round robin scheduling. The backstage area was just a bunch of trailers that were hastily set up in a semi-circle. Each trailer would have a piece of paper on it that had the band’s name. There weren’t enough trailers to accommodate all the artists. It means that each artist had an hour before to be in the trailer, and then they had to vacate the trailer so another artist could come in. The crew were constantly walking around taking, for instance, Madonna’s name off and putting Duran Duran’s name up on the trailer door. Taking Neil Young’s name off and putting Bob Dylan’s name up. The amount of performers in one tiny semi-circle was just absolutely off the charts.
  • Bette Midler’s famous introduction. There were a lot of great celeb intros, like Jack Nicholson bringing Dylan onstage, but the best was probably Bette Midler’s Madonna intro. Bette called called her "a woman who pulled herself up by her bra straps, and who has been known to let them down occasionally, she’s great, she’s a lot like a virgin, she’s Madonnnnaaaa!"
  • Ozzy is, well, being Ozzy. Michael Des Barres of Power Station asked Ozzy Osbourne backstage, "Isn’t this great, man, what they’re doing for Ethiopia?" Ozzy said, "What's that, a restaurant?" So the intentions were mixed for some artists.
  • Overlooked contribution. Midge Ure of Ultravox tend to get overlooked and bypassed by big name artists. Many are not aware that he helped co-write "Do They Know It's Christmas?" He was very important in driving Live Aid forward and being there earlier on, especially with Band Aid.
  • Improvise as you go along. Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins found out that the guitar cable was not long enough to allow him to go to the microphone stand. He had to make one of those decisions and he decided to unplug the guitar, went forward and did the song. Everyone can still see he is playing the guitar on stage, but it was not going anywhere.
  • Live means nothing can be done about bad voice. Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon’s voice crack in front of millions of people, but it was not really that bad. It's now become famous because they have talked about it a lot, but if they had just zipped their mouths about that, nobody would think it as a big deal, really.
  • The pinnacle of the pinnacle. Most will agree that the best performers in the concert are Madonna and Queen. Madonna was the epitome of balls and confidence, while Queen just blew everybody away. Both artists got it right; they hit the nail right on the head and told other artists, "This is how you do a stadium gig."
  • Royalties is still earning. After 30 years, "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" is still played on the radio; the song royalties go directly to the Band Aid trust and go directly to Africa.


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