On this day in 1985, the 16-hour-long Live Aid rock concert was broadcast by satellite to a billion people worldwide. It helped raise more than $125 million in donations to combat famine in the Horn of Africa.
The event began at Wembley Stadium in London with an introduction by Prince CHarles and Princess Diana and 70,000 spectators, who watched classic rock and roll bands play their music. The event continued at JFK Staidum in Philadelphia, with 100,000 people in attendance.
The idea for Live Aid is created to Bob Geldof, the singer in The Boomtown Rats, an Irish rock group. He had traveled to Ethiopia in 1984 after hearing reports about the famine there. Back in London, he organized the top pop artists in Britain and Ireland to record "Do They Know It's Christmas?" It was an immediate best seller in Britain, raising more than $10 million and featuring Culture Club, Duran Duran, Phil Collins, U2, Wham!, and others.
Rockers and artists in the U.S. responded with "We Are The World," witten by Lionel Ritchie and Michael Jackson. It has an ensemble cast of rock and roll stars and other singers and it raised $44 million.
Geldof was knighted for his charity work.