Run-D.M.C. Brought Hip-Hop to the World at Live Aid 30 Years Ago Today: Watch Now
Today marks the 30-year anniversary of one of hip-hop history's biggest moments: Run-D.M.C., hip-hop's first mainstream act, brought the genre to the world as the only rap group booked at 1985's monumental Live Aid benefit concert. Featuring everyone from Paul McCartney to Madonna to B.B. King, the concert took place concurrently at Philadelphia's John F. Kennedy Stadium and London's Wembley Stadium for a total live audience of almost 200,000 people, and was simultaneously broadcast globally to an estimated audience of 1.9 million.
Run-D.M.C. and DJ Jam Master Jay took the stage right after Sade, first performing "Jam Master Jay" (look out for a member of their crew sporting the now-iconic Run-D.M.C. shirt). "That was another instance where we didn’t know what we were doing here," D.M.C. recalled in an interview with Who Mag. "We have the DJ’s and MC’s, but by the looks of Mick Jagger and all these superstars and Madonna, this must be big. We went out there and looked at the audience like 'Wow! There are 80,000 people out there! This isn’t like the show we did in the hood last night!' "
The trio continued with a rendition of their classic track, "King of Rock" -- "We got a whole lot of rock groups backstage tonight, but D wants y'all to know one thing," Run said before jumping into the song. "We have no band, just Jam Master Jay," D added later, highlighting what made their performance so revolutionary.
"We knew this was something big, but we didn’t know the impact until afterwards," D.M.C. said in the same interview. "That’s why on the record 'My Adidas,' we said 'stepped on stage, at Live AID, all the people gave, and the poor got paid!' "
Watch the full performance below: