Live Aid



Live Aid (not to be confused with Live 8) was a multi-venue rock music concert held on July 13, 1985. The event was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in order to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. Billed as the 'global jukebox', the main sites for the event were Wembley Stadium, London (attended by 72,000 people) and JFK Stadium, Philadelphia (attended by about 90,000 people), with some acts performing at other venues such as Sydney and Moscow. It was one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time: an estimated 1.5 billion viewers, across 100 countries, watched the live broadcast.

The concert was conceived as a follow-up to another Geldof/Ure project, the successful charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?", performed by a collection of British and Irish music acts billed as 'Band Aid' and released the previous winter.

The concert grew in scope, as more acts were added on both sides of the Atlantic. As a charity fundraiser, the concert far exceeded its goals: on a television programme in 2001, one of the organisers stated that while initially it had been hoped that Live Aid would raise £1 million ($1.89 million), the final figure was £150 million (approx. $283.6 million). Partly in recognition of the Live Aid effort, Geldof received an honorary knighthood. Music promoter Harvey Goldsmith was also instrumental in bringing the plans of Geldof and Ure to fruition.

The concert started at 12:00 GMT (7:00 am, Eastern time) at Wembley Stadium, England. It continued at JFK Stadium, U.S., starting at 13:51 (8:51 am, Eastern time). The UK's Wembley performances ended at 22:00 (5:00 pm, Eastern time). The JFK performances and whole concert in the US ended at 04:05 (11:05 pm, Eastern time). Thus, the concert continued for 16 hours, but since many artists' performances were conducted simultaneously in Wembley and JFK, the total concert's length was much longer.

No previous concert had ever brought together so many famous performers from the past and present, whose names are shown below (under Live Aid performers). However, some of the artists who had been announced earlier did not appear at the last minute, including Tears for Fears, Julian Lennon and Cat Stevens, while Prince provided a clip of "4 The Tears In Your Eyes". (Stevens wrote a song for the Live Aid concert, which he never got to perform — had he done so, he would have made his first public concert appearance since converting to Islam and changing his name to Yusuf Islam.) Also a reunited Deep Purple were set to perform, but they didn't appear after guitarist Ritchie Blackmore refused to take part in the event.

It was the original intention for Mick Jagger to perform an intercontinental duet from the US, with David Bowie in London, but problems of synchronisation made it impossible — instead, Jagger and Bowie created a video clip for the song they would have performed, a cover of "Dancing in the Street". Jagger still performed live with Tina Turner, at the Philadelphia portion of the concert.

Each of the two main portions of the concert ended with their particular continental all-star anti-hunger anthems, with Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" closing the UK concert, and USA for Africa's "We Are the World" closing the US concert (and thus the day's proceedings).

Since the concert, bootleg videos and CDs have circulated widely, and an official book was produced by Bob Geldof in collaboration with photographer Denis O'Regan. The concert was never supposed to have been released commercially, but in November 2004, Warner Music Group released a four-disc DVD edition of the concert (see more details below).

The concert was the most ambitious international satellite television venture that had ever been attempted at the time.

In Europe, the feed was supplied by the BBC, whose broadcast was opened by Richard Skinner, co-hosted by Andy Kershaw, and included numerous interviews and chats in between the various acts. The BBC's television feed was mono, but the BBC Radio 1 feed was simulcast in stereo. Due to the constant activities in both London and Philadelphia, the BBC producers omitted the reunion of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young from their broadcast. The BBC, however, did supply a 'clean' feed to various television channels in Europe.

ABC was largely responsible for the US broadcast (although ABC themselves only telecast the final three hours of the concert from Philadelphia, hosted by Dick Clark, with the rest shown in syndication through Orbis Communications, acting on behalf of ABC). An entirely separate and simultaneous US feed was provided for cable viewers by MTV, whose broadcast was presented in stereo, and accessible as such for those with special receivers of the time, as there were very few stereo sets in the summer of 1985, and few television stations were able to broadcast in stereo. While the BBC telecast was run commercial-free (as it is a public channel), both the MTV and syndicated/ABC broadcasts included advertisements and interviews. As a result, many songs were omitted due to the commercial breaks, as these songs were played during such times.

The biggest caveat of the syndicated/ABC coverage is that the network had wanted to reserve some of the biggest acts that had played earlier in the day for certain points in the entire broadcast, particularly in the final three hours in prime time; thus, Orbis Communications had some sequences replaced by others, especially those portions of the concert that had acts from London and Philadelphia playing simultaneously. For example, while the London/Wembley finale was taking place at 22:00 (10:00 pm) London time, syndicated viewers saw segments that had been recorded earlier, so that ABC could show the UK finale during its prime-time portion.

The ABC Radio Network broadcast the domestic feed of the concert, and later broadcast many of the acts that were missing from the original live radio broadcast.

At one point midway through the concert, Billy Connolly announced he had just been informed that 95% of the television sets in the world were tuned to the event.

In 1995, VH1 and MuchMusic aired a re-edited ten-hour re-broadcast of the concert for its 10th Anniversary. On 19 November, 2005, the entire original telecast, as aired on the BBC, was video-streamed via the Internet, through a Live Aid fan site.

The success of Live Aid inspired Roger Waters' song "The Tide Is Turning"

Status Quo opened with "Rockin' All Over the World".

Queen, opening to massive cheers with "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the antics of lead singer Freddie Mercury got the entire Wembley crowd clapping in unison to "Radio Ga Ga" and singing along, word-for-word, to "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions". They stole the show, and for many it was the undisputed highlight of the event. Mercury's stunning performance, including him dancing with a cameraman during "Hammer to Fall", led to Queen being voted as the best live gig ever in a recent poll.

Co-founder Midge Ure wearing huge sunglasses and a long grey overcoat while performing with Ultravox

Another moment that garnered a huge crowd response was when David Bowie performed "Heroes" and dedicated it to his young son, as well as "all our children, and the children of the world".

U2's performance established them as a pre-eminent live group for the first time — something for which they would eventually become superstars. Bono jumped off the stage to join the crowd and danced with a girl. Because of this, the band only played two songs; the third, "Pride (In the Name of Love)", had to be ditched. In July of 2005, the girl with whom he danced revealed that he actually saved her life at the time. She was being crushed by the throngs of people pushing forwards; Bono saw this, and gestured frantically at the ushers to help her. They didn't understand what he was saying, and so he jumped down to help her himself. This can be seen on the Live Aid DVD during "Bad".

The transatlantic broadcast from Wembley Stadium suffered technical problems and failed during The Who's performance of their song "My Generation", immediately after Roger Daltrey sang "Why don't you all fade" (the last word was cut off when the generator exploded). The Who were playing with Kenney Jones on drums who was still an official member of the Who at this time. The Who's performance included an at times shambolic, but still blistering version of "Won't Get Fooled Again", which was extremely popular with the audience in Wembley Stadium. The band's performance was described as "rough but right" by Rolling Stone magazine.

Concert organisers have subsequently said that they were particularly keen to ensure that at least one surviving member of The Beatles, ideally Paul McCartney, took part in the concert as they felt that having an 'elder statesman' from British music would give it greater legitimacy, in the eyes of the political leaders whose opinions the performers were trying to shape. McCartney agreed to perform and has said that it was 'the management' — his children — that persuaded him to take part. In the event, he was the last performer (aside from the Band Aid finale) to take to the stage and one of the few to be beset by technical difficulties; his microphone was turned off for the first two minutes of his piano performance of "Let It Be", making it difficult for television viewers and impossible for those in the stadium to hear him. He later jokingly thought about changing the lyrics to "There will be some feedback, let it be".

Phil Collins performed at both Wembley Stadium and JFK, utilising Concorde to get him from London to Philadelphia. UK TV personality Noel Edmonds piloted the helicopter that took Collins to Heathrow to catch his flight. Aside from his own set at both venues, he also provided drums for Eric Clapton and the reunion of Led Zeppelin at JFK. Originally, Duran Duran were supposed to perform at both venues, but bowed out. On the flight, Collins bumped into Cher, who didn't know anything about the transatlantic events. She can be seen performing with the USA for Africa finale in Philadelphia.

At the conclusion of the Wembley performances, Bob Geldof was raised heroically onto the shoulders of The Who's guitarist Pete Townshend and McCartney — symbolising his great achievement in unifying the world for one day, in the spirit of music and charity.

At the very beginning of the US portion, Joan Baez announced to the assembled crowd (and the viewing audience) that "this is your Woodstock, and it's long overdue."

When Bob Dylan broke a guitar string, Ron Wood took off his own guitar and gave it to Dylan. Wood was left standing on stage guitarless. After shrugging to the audience, he played air guitar, even mimicking The Who's Pete Townshend by swinging his arm in wide circles, until a stagehand brought him a replacement.

During their duet on "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll", Mick Jagger ripped away part of Tina Turner's dress, leaving her to finish the song in what was, effectively, a leotard.

The JFK portion included reunions of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the original Black Sabbath, and surviving members of Led Zeppelin, with Phil Collins and CHIC member Tony Thompson sharing duties on drums (although they were not officially announced by their group name from the stage, but were announced as Zeppelin on the VH1 10th Anniversary re-broadcast in 1995).

Teddy Pendergrass made his first public appearance since his near-fatal car accident in 1982 which paralysed him for life. Pendergrass, along with Ashford & Simpson, performed "Reach Out and Touch".

Also, Duran Duran performed a four-song set. It would turn out to be the last public performance of the original five band members until 2003. Their set is also memorable for an inadvertent falsetto note hit by frontman Simon Le Bon during "A View to a Kill", an error trumpeted by some media outlets as "The Bum Note Heard 'Round the World".

Throughout the concerts, viewers were urged to donate money to the Live Aid cause. Three hundred phone lines were manned by the BBC, so that members of the public could make donations using their credit cards. The phone number and an address that viewers could send cheques to were repeated every twenty minutes. Nearly seven hours into the concert in London, Bob Geldof enquired how much money had been raised; he was told £1.2 million. He is said to have been sorely disappointed by the amount and marched to the BBC commentary position. Pumped up further by a performance by Queen that he later called 'absolutely amazing', Geldof gave a famous interview. Many now recall that Geldof said, "Just give us the effing money." However, this is not true; he did say, "People are dying NOW. Give us the money NOW. Give me the money now." And later, when trying to impress the importance of his plea on the BBC presenter, Geldof yelled, "F**k the address, just give the phone, here's the number..." After the outburst, giving increased to £300 per second. Later in the evening, following David Bowie's set, a video, shot by CBC, was shown to the audiences in London and Philadelphia, as well as on televisions around the world, showing starving and diseased Ethiopian children set to the song "Drive" by The Cars. The rate of giving became faster in the immediate aftermath of the moving video.

As Geldof mentioned, during the concert, the Republic of Ireland gave the most donations per capita, despite being in the throes of a serious economic depression at the time. The single largest donation came from the ruling family of Dubai. They donated £1m in a phone conversation with Geldof.

The next day, news reports stated that between £40 and £50 million had been raised. Now, it is estimated that around £150mn has been raised for famine relief as a direct result of the concerts.

Bob Dylan's performance generated controversy for his comment:

"I hope that some of the money...maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe...one or two million, maybe...and use it, say, to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks..."

He is often misquoted, as on the Farm Aid web site, as saying:

"Wouldn't it be great if we did something for our own farmers right here in America?"

In his best-selling autobiography, Is That It? (published in 1986), Geldof was extremely critical of the remark; he states:

"He displayed a complete lack of understanding of the issues raised by Live Aid.... Live Aid was about people losing their lives. There is a radical difference between losing your livelihood and losing your life. It did instigate Farm Aid, which was a good thing in itself, but it was a crass, stupid, and a non-nationalistic thing to say."

Anarchist band Chumbawamba released a record called Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records in 1986. They viewed the Live Aid concert with cynicism, suggesting that performers were in it for themselves, as much as the people they were professing to help.

Singer Pat Boone, while commenting that Live Aid was a noble cause to start, did comment how uncomfortable he felt with some of the lyrics. He especially noted that Duran Duran's performance of "A View to a Kill" (with its lyric "dance into the fire"). His attitude seemed to be that the entire project of Live Aid was not worth it because of the content of some of the songs used during the show.

Although a professed admirer of Geldof's generosity and concern, Fox News television host Bill O'Reilly has been critical of the Live Aid producer's oversight of the money raised for starving Ethiopian people, noting (in June 2005) that much of the funds were siphoned off by Mengistu Haile Mariam and his army. O'Reilly believes that charity organisations, operating in aid-receiving countries, should control donations, rather than possibly corrupt governments.

Tim Russert, when interviewing Bono on Meet the Press shortly after O'Reilly's comments, addressed this concern of O'Reilly and others to the singer. Bono responded that corruption, not disease or famine, was the greatest threat to Africa, agreeing with the belief that foreign relief organisations should decide how the money is spent. On the other hand, the singer said that it was better to spill some funds into nefarious quarters for the sake of those who needed it, than to stifle aid because of possible theft.

Other critics have argued that donations to charity organisations often end up being used by corrupt governments as well. Much of the money raised by Live Aid went to NGOs in Ethiopia, some of which were under the influence or control of the Derg military junta. Some journalists have suggested that the Derg was able to use Live Aid and Oxfam money to fund its enforced resettlement and "villagification" programmes, under which at least 3 million people are said to have been displaced and between 50,000 and 100,000 killed.

(In order of appearance, times given are British Summer Time and indicate the start time of the performance. Key: W - London Wembley Stadium, JFK - Philadelphia JFK Stadium):

* Coldstream Guards, royal salute, "God Save The Queen" (W 12:00);
* Status Quo - "Rockin' All Over the World", "Caroline", "Don't Waste My Time" (W 12:02);
* Style Council - "You're The Best Thing", "Big Boss Groove", "Internationalists", "Walls Come Tumbling Down" (W 12:19);
* Boomtown Rats - "I Don't Like Mondays", "Drag Me Down", "Rat Trap", "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" (sung by the audience) (W 12:44);
* Adam Ant - "Vive Le Rock" (W 13:00);
* INXS (performing in Melbourne) - "What You Need", "Don't Change", 13:06);
* Men At Work (performing in Melbourne) - Overkill (13:12)
* Ultravox - "Reap The Wild", "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes", "One Small Day", "Vienna" (W 13:16);
* Loudness (taped in Japan) - "Gotta Fight", 13:34);
* Off Cause (taped in Japan - "Endless Night", 13:36);
* Eikichi Yazawa (taped in Japan) - "Take It Time", 13:38);
* Motoharu Sano (taped in Japan) - "Shame", 13:40);
* Spandau Ballet - "Only When You Leave", "Virgin", "True" (W 13:47);
* Bernard Watson - "All I Really Want To Do", "Interview" (JFK 13:51);
* Joan Baez (introduced by Jack Nicholson - speech, "Amazing Grace", "We Are The World" (JFK 14:02);
* Elvis Costello - "All You Need Is Love" (W 14:07);
* Austria For Afrika (taped in Austria) - Introduction, "Warum(Why)" (W 14:12);
* The Hooters - "And We Danced", "All You Zombies" (JFK 14:10);
* Nik Kershaw - "Wide Boy", "Don Quixote", "The Riddle", "Wouldn't It Be Good" (W 14:22);
* The Four Tops - "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)", "Bernadette", "It's The Same Old Song", "Reach Out I'll Be There", "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" (JFK 14:33);
* B. B. King - "Why I Sing The Blues", "Don't Answer The Door", "Rock Me Baby" (performing in The Hague (JFK 14:38);
* Billy Ocean - "Caribbean Queen", "Loverboy" (JFK 14:45);
* Sade - "Why Can't We Live Together", "Your Love Is King", "Is It A Crime" (W 14:55);
* Black Sabbath (introduced by Chevy Chase) - "Children of the Grave", "Iron Man", "Paranoid" (JFK 14:52);
* Yu Rock Mission (performing in Belgrade) - "For A Million Years" (JFK 15:10);
* Run-DMC - "Jam Master Jay", "King Of Rock" (JFK 15:12);
* Sting (with Branford Marsalis) - "Roxanne", "Driven To Tears", "Message In A Bottle" (W 15:18);
* Phil Collins - "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)", "In the Air Tonight" (W 15:27);
* Sting and Phil Collins (with Branford Marsalis) - "Long Long Way To Go", "Every Breath You Take" (W 15:32);
* Rick Springfield - "Love Somebody", "State Of The Heart", "Human Touch" (JFK 15:30);
* REO Speedwagon - "Can't Fight This Feeling", "Roll With The Changes" (with The Beach Boys) (JFK 15:47);
* Howard Jones - "Hide and Seek" (W 15:50)
* Autograph (performing in Moscow) - "Golovokruzhenie" ("Vertigo"), "Nam Nuzhen Mir" ("We Need Peace" (W 15:55);
* Bryan Ferry (with Pink Floyd's David Gilmour on guitar) - "Sensation", "Boys And Girls", "Slave To Love", "Jealous Guy" (W 16:07);
* Crosby, Stills and Nash - "Southern Cross", "Teach Your Children", "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" (JFK 16:15);
* Band Für Afrika (performing in Cologne) - "Nackt Im Wind" ("Naked In The Wind"), "Ein Jahr (Es Geht Voran)" (["It Goes Ahead") (W 16:24);
* Judas Priest - "Living After Midnight", "The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)", "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" (JFK 16:26);
* Paul Young - "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (intro), "Come Back And Stay", "Every Time You Go Away" (W 16:38);
* Paul Young and Alison Moyet - "That's The Way Love Is" (W 16:48);
* link-up between Wembley Stadium and JFK Stadium;
* Bryan Adams - "Kids Wanna Rock", "Summer of '69", "Tears Are Not Enough", "Cuts Like a Knife" (JFK 17:02);
* U2 - "Sunday Bloody Sunday", "Bad"/"Satellite Of Love"/"Ruby Tuesday"/"Sympathy For The Devil"/"Walk On The Wild Side" (W 17:20);
* The Beach Boys (introduced by Marilyn McCoo) - "California Girls", "Help Me, Rhonda", "Wouldn't It Be Nice", "Good Vibrations", "Surfin' USA" (JFK 17:40);
* Dire Straits with Sting - "Money for Nothing", "Sultans of Swing" (W 18:00);
* George Thorogood and the Destroyers / Bo Diddley / Albert Collins - "Who Do You Love", "The Sky Is Crying", "Madison Blues" (JFK 18:26);
* Queen (introduced by comedians Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones) - "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Radio Ga Ga", "Hammer To Fall", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions" (W 18:44);
* David Bowie and Mick Jagger - "Dancing in the Street" (video, JFK 19:02);
* Simple Minds - "Ghostdancing", "Don't You (Forget About Me)", "Promised You a Miracle" (JFK 19:07);
* David Bowie (with Thomas Dolby on keyboards) - "TVC 15", "Rebel Rebel", "Modern Love", "Heroes" (W 19:22);
* Famine Video edited by Colin Dean CBC (W 19:41);
* The Pretenders - "Time The Avenger", "Message of Love", "Stop Your Sobbing", "Back On The Chain Gang", "Middle Of The Road" (JFK 19:41);
* The Who - "My Generation"/"Pinball Wizard", "Love, Reign o'er Me", "Won't Get Fooled Again" (W 20:00);
* Santana and Pat Metheny - "Brotherhood", "Primera Invasion", "Open Invitation", "By The Pool"/"Right Now" (JFK 20:21);
* Phil Collins and Steve Blacknell - Interview, live on the Concorde (W 20:27);
* video from Norway - "All of Us" (W 20:44);
* Elton John - "I'm Still Standing", "Bennie and the Jets", "Rocket Man", "Can I Get a Witness" (W 20:50);
* Ashford & Simpson - "Solid", "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" (with Teddy Pendergrass) (JFK 20:57);
* Elton John and Kiki Dee - "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (W 21:05);
* Elton John, Kiki Dee and Wham! - "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (W 21:09);
* Kool & the Gang (pre-recorded live video) - "Stand Up and Sing", "Cherish" (JFK 21:19);
* Madonna - "Holiday", "Into The Groove", "Love Makes The World Go Round" (JFK 21:27);
* Finale at Wembley Stadium:
a) Freddie Mercury and Brian May (Queen) - "Is This The World We Created?" (W 21:48),
b) Paul McCartney - "Let It Be" (W 21:51),
c) Band Aid (led by Bob Geldof) - "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (W 21:54);
* Tom Petty - "American Girl", "The Waiting", "Rebels", "Refugee" (JFK 22:14);
* Kenny Loggins - "Footloose" (JFK 22:30);
* The Cars - "You Might Think", "Drive", "Just What I Needed", "Heartbeat City" (JFK 22:49);
* Neil Young - "Sugar Mountain", "The Needle and the Damage Done", "Helpless", "Nothing Is Perfect", "Powderfinger" (JFK 23:07);
* Power Station - "Murderess", "Get It On" (JFK 23:43);
* Thompson Twins - "Hold Me Now" (JFK 00:21);
* Thompson Twins with Madonna - "Revolution" (JFK 00:25);
* Eric Clapton - "White Room", "She's Waiting", "Layla" (JFK 00:39);
* Phil Collins again (having taken Concorde from UK to USA) - "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)", "In the Air Tonight" (JFK 01:04);
* Led Zeppelin - "Rock and Roll", "Whole Lotta Love", "Stairway to Heaven" (JFK 01:10);
* Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", "Daylight Again", "Find The Cost Of Freedom"" (JFK 01:40);
* Duran Duran (the last time the original five members performed together until 2003) - "A View to a Kill", "Union of the Snake", "Save A Prayer", "The Reflex" (JFK 01:45);
* Cliff Richard - "A World of Difference" (live at the BBC, 02:10);
* Patti LaBelle - "New Attitude", "Imagine", "Forever Young", "Stir It Up", "Over The Rainbow", "Why Can't I Get It Over" (JFK 02:20);
* Hall & Oates (with G.E. Smith of Saturday Night Live fame on guitar) / Eddie Kendricks / David Ruffin - "Out of Touch", "Maneater", "Get Ready" (with Eddie Kendricks), "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" (with David Ruffin), "The Way You Do the Things You Do", "My Girl" (with Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin) (JFK 02:50);
* Mick Jagger with Hall & Oates / Eddie Kendricks / David Ruffin - "Lonely At The Top", "Just Another Night", "Miss You" (JFK 03:15);
* Mick Jagger with Tina Turner - "State of Shock", "It's Only Rock and Roll" (JFK 03:28);
* Finale at JFK Stadium:
a) Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Ron Wood - "Ballad of Hollis Brown", "When The Ship Comes In", Blowin' In The Wind" (JFK 03:39),
b) USA for Africa (led by Lionel Richie) - "We Are The World" (JFK 3:55).

When organiser Bob Geldof was persuading artists to take part in the concert, he promised them that it would be a one-off event, never to be seen again. That was the reason why the concert was never recorded in its complete original form, and only secondary television broadcasts were recorded. Following Geldof's request, ABC even erased its own broadcast tapes. However, before the syndicated/ABC footage was erased, copies of it were donated to the Smithsonian Institution and have now been presumed lost. MTV decided to keep recordings of its broadcast and recently located more than 100 tapes of Live Aid in its archives, but many songs in these tapes were cut short by MTV's ad breaks and presenters (according to the BBC). The BBC also decided to keep its broadcast recordings, but many performances from the US were not shown on the BBC, and recordings of these performances are missing.

An official four-disc DVD set of the Live Aid concerts was released on November 8 2004. It contains 10-hour partial footage of the 16-hour length concert. The DVD was produced by Geldof's company, Woodcharm Ltd., and distributed by Warner Music Group.

The decision to finally release it was taken by Bob Geldof nearly 20 years after the original concerts, after he found a number of pirate copies of the concert on the Internet (see full story here). There has been controversy over the DVD release because a decision had been taken for a substantial number of tracks not to be included in this edited version.

The most complete footage that exists is from the BBC, and it was the main source of the DVD. During production on the official DVD, MTV lent Woodcharm Ltd. their B-roll and alternate camera footage; this was an additional source of the US footage that appears on the official DVD.

Working from the BBC and MTV footage, several degrees of dramatic license were taken, in order to release the concert on DVD. For example, many songs on the official DVD had their soundtracks altered, mainly in sequences where there were originally microphone problems. In one of those instances, Paul McCartney had to re-record his failed vocals for "Let It Be" in a studio, nearly twenty years after the event, expressly for the DVD, as otherwise both "Let It Be" and the UK finale that followed would have been left off the official DVD for continuity reasons. Also, in the USA finale, the original 'USA for Africa' studio track for "We Are the World" was overlaid in places where the microphone was absent (in fact, if you listen closely, you can hear the vocals of Kenny Rogers and James Ingram, two artists who did not even take part in Live Aid).

Judicious decisions were also made on which acts would be included and which ones would not, due to either technical difficulties in the original performances, the absence of original footage, or for music rights reasons. For example, Rick Springfield, The Four Tops, The Hooters, Power Station, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were among those acts that were left off the DVD. Many of the artists' songs that were performed were also omitted. For example, Madonna performed three solo songs in the concert, but only two were included on the DVD ("Love Makes the World Go Round" was omitted).

There were also issues with the artists themselves. Two such performers were left off at their own request: Led Zeppelin and Santana. The former defended their decision not to be included on the grounds that their performance was 'sub-standard', but to lend their support, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have pledged to donate proceeds from an upcoming DVD release of Led Zeppelin to the campaign, and John Paul Jones has pledged proceeds from his current American tour with Mutual Admiration Society.

The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, decided the VAT collected on the DVD would be given back to the charity, which would raise an extra £5 for every DVD sold.

Because the Live Aid broadcast was watched by billions of people, most of the footage was recorded on home consumer video recorders all around the world, in various qualities. Many of these recordings were in mono, because most of the machines at that time were mono recorders, and also because the European BBC broadcast was in mono. (As mentioned previously, the US MTV broadcast and the ABC Radio Network and BBC Radio One simulcasts were stereo). These recordings started to circulate among collectors 20 years ago, and in recent years have also appeared on the Internet in file sharing networks. Since the official DVD release of Live Aid includes only partial footage of this event, unofficial distribution sources continue to stay the one and only source of the most complete recordings of this important historical music event.

In any event, the official DVD is the only authorised video release in which proceeds go directly to famine relief, the cause that the concert was originally intended to help.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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