It was 25 years ago today that two massive, historic concerts were organized for African famine relief. Live Aid, performed in London's Wembley Arena and Philadelphia's JFK Stadium on July 13, 1985, was one of those rare overblown rock success stories - dozens of superstars and members of rock royalty coming together not at the behest of a politician or a natural disaster, but simply because it seemed the right thing to do. It raised millions for charity, it provided a massive plug for the Concorde jet (Phil Collins took one to play at both shows) and it helped make a little Irish band one of the biggest in the world.
In 2005, after lots of eager waiting from music fans, portions of the Live Aid broadcast were released on DVD for the 20th anniversary of the shows. It wasn't easy to get the footage on DVD; Geldof originally wanted none of the shows to be preserved on tape, to enhance the once-in-a-lifetime feel of the event. (Even American network ABC-TV willingly erased the footage when they were done with it - and backups donated to the Smithsonian Institution remain missing.) Ultimately, the shows were sourced from footage recorded by the BBC and MTV, although some of the footage and audio were edited differently than originally intended.
Whatever the merits of the DVD set may be to you, treasured reader, your humble catalogue correspondent is sure you might agree that Live Aid was an important moment in rock history, and deserves some sort of preservation. To that end, it's curious that Live Aid organizers Bob Geldof and Midge Ure never collaborated with the major music labels to release some sort of audio-document of Live Aid (a Herculean task, to be sure, but one Geldof would probably be able to do, given his tireless sense of activism).
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you were allowed the opportunity to select which portions of the shows would be released. Assuming you could only pick five songs (to go into a pool of possible tunes), which ones would you pick? The killer version of U2's "Bad"? Something from Queen's incendiary set? Duran Duran? The Hooters? Madonna? That almost-Led Zeppelin reunion? Run-D.M.C.? (I'd pick any of those - and I'd throw in a bonus track recorded after Live Aid but still fitting within the context: the never-on-CD, Sport Aid charity single/remix of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Run the World.")
Feel free to share your memories and thoughts of Live Aid below.