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This is the world calling
Throughout the pioneering events of Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8, Bob Geldof has repeatedly achieved the impossible, twisting the arms and consciences of self-absorbed rock stars to get them to think beyond their egos and stimulating recalcitrant politicians and a jaded media into doing things that are not really difficult at all but thinking makes them so.
Jackie Hayden, 28 Mar 2006
Aided and abetted by Midge Ure, Bob Geldof was the main motivating force behind the 1984 Band Aid single recorded by the top acts of the day (U2, Paul Young, Boy George et al) and born out of Geldof’s anger after seeing a BBC news report about people dying in Ethiopia. ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ sold millions and raised millions and saved lives.
The following year the project went global with the transatlantic Live Aid, featuring multi-artist concerts in London and Philadelphia and featuring many of the hottest acts on the planet, from U2 to The Who, Phil Collins, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Queen, Dire Streets, Bob Dylan and Keith Richards. It was a global phenomenon, one that proved the staggering inadequacies of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic.
2005 saw him winning a Lifetime Achievement Award, starting his own TV series on BBC, and receiving a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
But still he found time to helm the Live 8 concerts across the globe on July 2 in five cities-London, Paris, Rome, Berlin and Philadelphia and all broadcast live on television around the world. The purpose was to raise awareness of world poverty and put pressure on leaders at the G8 Summit in Scotland.
The London event at Hyde Park included the historic reformation of Pink Floyd plus Coldplay, Dido, Keane, Elton John, Annie Lennox, Madonna, Muse, Scissor Sisters, Paul McCartney, Joss Stone, Stings, Snow Patrol, Robbie Williams, U2 and REM.
In Philadelphia, Will Smith, Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder and Puff Daddy lent their talents to the cause. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower looked down on Jamiroquai and Youssou N’Dour among others, while at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate the bill included A-Ha, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Lauryn Hill and Brian Wilson and Rome hosted Faith Hill and Duran Duran.
Geldof himself spoke of the need “to do something unparalleled in the world, and especially at the beginning of the 21st Century, and that is to tilt the world a little bit on its axis in favour of the poor, and that’s not a difficult thing to do.”