Twenty five years ago today (July 13), more than 50 artists across two continents united for the Live Aid benefit concerts, organized by UK musicians Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to aid famine relief efforts in Ethiopia. The event touched the hearts (and wallets) of fans across the globe, as an estimated audience of two billion tuned in to their radios and televisions to witness performances by the era's biggest acts and rock out for a cause.
In honor of the Live Aid concerts, we look back at 10 of the most memorable benefit concert performances in history, ranging from star-making sets from U2, Bruce Springsteen and Jimi Hendrix, to poignant, once-in-a-lifetime turns from Paul McCartney, Sting and Pink Floyd.
U2, Live Aid
July 13, 1985
"We're an Irish band. We come from Dublin City, Ireland," Bono told the Live Aid audience at London's Wembley arena. But after U2's brilliant performance at the mother of all benefit concerts, the quartet would need no further introduction. U2's kinetic and captivating set became the stuff of legend when, during an emotional 14-minute performance of "Bad," Bono leapt from the stage to rescue a girl being crushed by the crowd and began dancing with her in front of the stage. U2 only had time to perform two songs that day, but the performance was enough to establish the band as one of rock's pre-eminent live groups.
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