Live Aid 1985: ‘This is your Woodstock and it’s long overdue’

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On July 13, 1985, for 16 hours a concert was held simultaneously at JFK Stadium Philadelphia and at Wembley Stadium in London.

Live Aid raised more than $125 million to fight famine in Ethiopia.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana opened the Wembley concert while Joan Baez opened the show in Philadelphia by saying, “This is your Woodstock, and it’s long overdue,” Baez said, according to

OY5ITKRDUZHJVHC6HMHLY3G27Q - Live Aid 1985: ‘This is your Woodstock and it’s long overdue’


A crew works on the stage in preparation for Saturday’s Live Aid concert in Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium, Pa., July 13, 1985. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

The concert was globally linked by satellite and watched on television by an estimated 1.9 billion people.

The concert was organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money to battle the Ethiopian famine as a follow-up to the Band Aid event the year before.

About 72,000 people attended the London event while about 100,000 attended in Philadelphia. The event raised more than $125 million.

According to, “Geldof had traveled to Ethiopia after hearing news reports of a horrific famine that had killed hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians and threatened to kill millions more. After returning to London, he called Britian’s and Ireland’s top pop artists together to record a single to benefit Ethiopian famine relief. ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ was written by Geldof and Ultravox singer Midge Ure and performed by ‘Band Aid,’ an ensemble that featured Culture Club, Duran Duran, Phil Collins, U2, Wham!, and others. It was the best-selling single in Britain to that date and raised more than $10 million.”

In the United States the song also was a hit and inspired artists here to come together to perform “We Are The World,” written by Lionel Ritchie and Michael Jackson. The USA ensemble included them, Geldof, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder.

E7SPHYATMJH3JAI6ZVWJWFXYGI - Live Aid 1985: ‘This is your Woodstock and it’s long overdue’


Thousands of people sit on the ground at the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Pa., July 13, 1985, during the Live Aid concert. (AP Photo)

That led Geldof to propose the Live Aid concert, which was organized in just 10 weeks. More than 75 acts performed including Queen, Sting, Duran Duran, U2, Tom Petty, Santana, Bryan Adams, David Bowie and Run DMC.

Those appearing in Philadelphia included Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Beach Boys, Hall and Oates, Bob Dylan and Phil Collins.

Collins performed in Philadelphia after performing at Wembley earlier in the day. He flew by Concorde from London.

7ELQJML3HJECJIIU4ZWZSY6AKA - Live Aid 1985: ‘This is your Woodstock and it’s long overdue’


From left, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, David Crosby and Neil Young, perform at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia Pa. for Live Aid famine relief concert July 13, 1985. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

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