Live Aid – Generosity of the 80’s

I have been feeling a little nostalgic this week and looking through the history archives via Google and Youtube to be precise, where I stumbled across a song that caught my attention and with a little further investigating this song lead me to a little concert called Live Aid.

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*Caption: Live Aid poster.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about Live Aid, Band Aid or Oz for Africa as it is known in Australia was the most ambitious concert series of its time raising awareness and money for the African famine relief. It all started with a song – Do they know it’s Christmas released around Christmas 1984. Now don’t get me wrong the song itself isn’t the most inspiring song and to be honest it is a bit of a sickening attempt of a 80’s ballad but that is what makes it memorable and intriguing at the same time.

The concept for Live Aid was created by none other than Bob Geldof and Midge Ure along with their charity Band Aid Trust, which comprised mainly of recording artists and musicians. There intent was clear – organise a massive concert on the 13 July 1985 that can be run simultaneously across the globe to raise as much money for the anti-poverty efforts in Ethiopia. The countries involved were the United Kingdom, United States of America, Germany and Australia with many big named musicians jumping onboard donating themselves to this worthy cause.

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*Caption: Event organisers Bob Geldof and Midge Ure.

Still wondering why this is such a big deal? Well not only was this event happening at the same time, on the same day across 4 major countries but it was the largest scale satellite tele-broadcast of all time with an estimated viewing audience of approximately 1.9 billion, across 150 nations. Staggering if you think about the technology of 1985 with it’s lack of high speed internet, social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

Oz for Africa was held at the Sydney Sports and Entertainment centre which saw 11,000 spectators fill the centre all paying a mere $18.50 for attendance watching great bands like INXS, Men at Work and Little River band just to name a few. Due to the time difference Australia was actually the first to kick off the event ahead of the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium, London.

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*Caption: INXS frontman Michael Hutchence. 

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*Caption: On of the many posters used to promote Australia’s version of Live Aid.

With 16 hours of continuous music and a backdrop of images of emaciated African children broadcast live on MTV and ABC it’s easy to see how Live Aid generated a total of $200 million with an overall Australian contribution of a whopping $10 million to the International Disaster Emergency Committee.

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*Caption: Live Aid in London.

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*Caption: An emotion evoking image that would entice even the most frugal person to dig deep and donate.

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*Caption: Bon Jovi singing his heart out for the children.

Whether you loved the song, the concert and the concept or completely hated it all there is no denying that Live Aid was a big idea that generated allot of interest and funding for a very worthy cause. This really was the start of peoples generosity to one another in humanities time of need.

What are your thoughts of the newly revised “Do they know it’s Christmas Song? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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