20 minutes that changed the history of music: Remembering Live Aid 1985

Music, like history, on its own, is vast and full of surprising stories with unexpected turns and endings. It’s those unplanned and iconic moments that brought us some of the most important figures in music history.

Inspired by a report from the BBC in October 1984, activist and composer Bob Geldof, along with his partner, musician Midge Ure, created a charity Christmas single together named “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” featuring Phil Collins, U2, and Duran Duran along with many other artists with the objective of raising awareness of the Ethiopian famine crisis during the 1980’s which claimed the life of an estimated 1 million people.

However, this collaboration was just the beginning. It wasn’t until the morning of July 13, 1985, that one of the biggest events in the history of rock music would take place. Over two billion people around the world would turn on their TVs to see the live broadcast of Live Aid—a 16 hour musical event held in London and Philadelphia that brought together some of the greatest musicians from the 80’s and raised funds to provide food, medicine, and other vital items for the crisis becoming one of the biggest and most successful charity events in the world.

With a lineup featuring more than 75 artists, including Elton John, Madonna, Carlos Santana, David Bowie, U2, and Eric Clapton, there’s no doubt that many of the viewers hold one specific moment of the show in their hearts, the moment where the legendary icon and frontman of Queen, Freddie Mercury, got on the stage along with Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor for a memorable 20 minute performance.

The quiet noises from the audience were suddenly awakened when Mercury started to play the first notes of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and the stadium filled with singing voices and hands up in the air following the rhythm of “Radio Gaga.” But not only was Queen’s music legacy what made this performance one of the most memorable moments of Live Aid, Mercury’s charisma and creativity were also a living signature in each of Queen’s concerts and this time was no different. Without asking and with a single gesture, Mercury started to vocalize, followed by a perfectly synchronized audience, their voices following the artist’s gestures with an almost perfect pitch.

Without a doubt, Live Aid has proven that music can inspire people to act for a greater cause, reaching every single person in the world and creating a bond between all of us, an unbreakable bond that grows stronger when our hearts come together through the power of music.

Feel the spirit within these songs performed at Live Aid in the style of Playing For Change:

All You Need is Love (The Beatles) | Playing For Change

Imagine (John Lennon) | Playing For Change

 

Also, check out this playlist with the best rock jams from PFC:

The Weight | Featuring Ringo Starr and Robbie Robertson | Playing For Change

Listen to the Music feat. Tom Johnston (The Doobie Brothers) | Playing For Change

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door | Afro Fiesta w/Twanguero & I-Taweh | Playing For Change

Higher Ground 2020 (Stevie Wonder) | Playing For Change

The River | Citizen Cope | Playing For Change

Barre | Songhoy Blues | Playing For Change

The Times They Are A-Changin’ | Brandi Carlile w/Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) | Playing For Change

Black Water | The Doobie Brothers w/PFC Band Live in Los Angeles | Playing For Change