Saturday, July 18, 2015

Recalling Live Aid

This past week included the anniversary of the gigantic, two stadium Live Aid concert, which was held on July 13, 1985 in Philadelphia and London.

It was one of the most momentous events of the 1980s, and one that I remember vividly and quite fondly. Being the music nut that I was at the time (and still am), I listened intently to the coverage of the concerts which was being played over the radio.  At night, television coverage kicked in, and I saw that too.

Above is U2 at Live Aid, giving a the classic performance of "Bad." 
I love the atmospheric sound of this song. 

Here is the first part of a documentary I previously posted, which gives a good account of the run up to the big event. As noted in the documentary, Live Aid was part of a big effort to aid victims of a devastating famine in Ethiopia.  

One of the documentary's most satisfying parts for me is the account of Bob Geldolf, musician with the Boomtown Rats and one of the main organizers of the event, telling off the brutal dictator of Ethiopia to his face.  

Here's part 2 of the documentary.

Unfortunately, there was some controversy over whether sufficient amounts of the aid had gotten to the victims, and whether the organizers and supporters of Live Aid had acted sufficiently to end some of the brutal practices of Ethiopia's communist government.  A 1986 article in Spin magazine gives that point of view.


  1. I remember Live Aid very well. There had literally never been anything like it before and the lineup was a who's who of the 1980s.

    It's a shame that so much effort and idealism didn't help as much as we wanted.

    1. Big D- Weclome back! I remember Live Aid fondly . . . a very strong memory from my youth. In a sense, although both events were different in many ways, it was my generation's Woodstock. One thing that actually made Live Aid superior was that all of the acts volunteered their time, and gave their performances for a good cause.

      In regard to the controversy about the effects of Live Aid, I think it ultimately helped to a good degree. But, I take the concerns expressed in the Spin article seriously, and wanted to make sure that side was also presented.