It’s hard to believe 30 years have passed since Live Aid. The monumental charity concert, which raised funds for famine relief in Africa, featured a laundry list of ’80s artists that now reads like a music fan’s dream concert. The event was held on July 13, 1985, simultaneously in London’s Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium, which was torn down just seven years later. It featured a who’s who of rock and roll and pop music with some heavy metal and hip-hop thrown in for good measure.
The huge event was the brainchild of Sir Bob Geldof, who was inspired by the success of the all-star charity singles “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “We Are the World,” which both helped raise awareness and funds for Ethiopian famine relief.
Live Aid was a tremendous success, raising more than $104 million that day (it went on to raise over $150 million thanks to subsequent merchandise sales). More than 1.9 billion people watched the event live on television, which was unprecedented at the time, with many recording the concert on their brand-new VHS machines. The list of acts at the event is still staggering, from The Beach Boys, Elvis Costello and Run-D.M.C. to Madonna, Black Sabbath, Bob Dylan and Duran Duran. The event was a cultural steppingstone and helped launch and maintain the careers of several artists and marked some amazing reunions. Below, we look at some of the highlights and the huge reunions that took place back on July 13, 1985.
Crazy to imagine, but there was once a time when Madonna could be accurately described as a buzzy pop newcomer “on everyone’s lips for the last six months.”
That was 30 years ago today (not much has changed in the buzz department) when Bette Midler delivered a slyly hilarious introduction for Madonna at Live Aid’s charity concert in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985.
At the charity event for Ethiopian famine, Madonna delivered one of the most exuberant live performances of her entire career. Check it out below. Despite the 95-degree Philly summer heat, her “Holiday” shines with effortless energy — and seriously, those dance moves are the epitome of ’80s cool.
Prior to the three-song performance — “Holiday,” “Into the Groove” and “Love Makes the World Go Round” — Bette Midler introduced the then-rising superstar to the global audience.
“I want you to know I have no idea why I was asked to introduce this next act — because you all know, I am the soul of good taste and decorum,” Midler told the audience with a wink. “However we are thrilled to be able to introduce to you today a woman whose name has been on everyone’s lips for the last six months. A woman who pulled herself up by her bra straps and has been known to let them down occasionally.”
For historical context, latter comment is in reference to Madonna’s pre-fame nude photos that Playboy and Penthouse ran with just weeks earlier. For her part, Madonna nodded to that by commenting, “I ain’t taking off shit today,” at the show