In 1984 Bob Geldof had been moved by news reports about the Ethiopian famine and, working with Midge Ure, wrote ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ The two then ‘invited’ many of their singing friends to join them in a song. The result was ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ which was first recorded in the single day of Sunday 25th November 1984. Jointly the singing friends – biggest British and Irish musical acts at the time – became a super group that they called Band Aid. The single was released in the United Kingdom on Monday 3rd December 1984 and, aided by considerable publicity, it entered the UK Singles Chart at number one and stayed there for five weeks, becoming the Christmas number. The record became the fastest selling single in UK chart history, selling a million copies in the first week alone and passing 3 million on the last day of 1984, on the way to becoming the biggest selling single of all time in the UK. That claim, however, was overtaken in 1997 by Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” that was released in tribute to Princess Diana following her death. As of Christmas 2016, though, the original version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” still holds the number one spot having sold 3.79 million copies in the UK to that date.
However it was one of the most ambitious and successful fundraising event of all time that happened on this 13th July 1985 that we want to look at today the Live Aid concerts at London’s Wembley Stadium and at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.
Beginning at mid-day at Wembley the audience were entertained by Status Quo; Dire Straits; Queen; David Bowie; Paul McCartney and Elton John plus many more performers. Phil Collins performed for the London audience at around 3.30pm.
In the JFK Stadium the audience included the Beach Boys; Duran Duran; Bob Dylan and Madonna. At about 1.00am UK time Phil Collins re-appeared on stage at the JFK Stadium!
It was estimated that the concerts were watched by more than 1,500,000,000 worldwide and that donations and pledges during the 16 hours amounted to some £30 million.
The final total would total £40 million plus.