Live Aid: 35 years ago today, we were rocking all over the world
Live Aid: 35 years ago today, we were rocking all over the world

Live Aid, the day music united the world.

Most of the western world stopped for Live Aid on July 13, 1985.

The dual pop concert at London’s Wembley Stadium and America’s JFK Stadium in Philadelphia was watched live on TV by nearly 2 billion people across 150 countries.

The brainchild of Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof, the incredible charity effort came in the wake of the 1984 Band Aid single, Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Some of the biggest pop and rock acts in the world – including Geordie boys Sting and Mark Knopfler – performed in the two momentous concerts.

Thirty years on, for those who were there and the rest of us who watched the “Global Jukebox” on TV, the memories remain vivid.

Status Quo opening the show; Queen and Freddie Mercury bringing the house down; U2 and Bono thrilling the 72,000 crowd; and David Bowie with a stunning version of Heroes, summing up the soaring emotions of an incredible day.

Meanwhile, after performing at Wembley, Phil Collins memorably took a televised Concorde flight to the United States where he sat behind the drums at the JFK Stadium for Eric Clapton, and then a reunited Led Zeppelin.

Duran Duran, the Beach Boys and Bob Dylan were just a few of the other huge names who appeared in Philadelphia.

The concerts raised at least £30m towards easing the effects of a disastrous famine in Ethiopia, and set a vogue for the following decades of all-star charity shows and singles.

Back on Tyneside, however, a mini-drama was unfolding

As we reported on the Monday after the Saturday Live Aid show: “Two music lovers missed the bus to see their Live Aid heroes at Wembley – but another hero saved the day.

“Mandy Gray, 19, and her 20-year-old friend Helen Nicholson overslept and missed the coach, but then a Good Samaritan stepped in.

“United Buses driver Alan Rouse was the girls’ hero after a frantic dash round the capital’s West End in search of a driver colleague who had their concert tickets.

“Mandy, a children’s nurse at Sloan Row, Grange Villas, Chester-le-Street, said the £40 National Express all-in trip from Durham meant picking up the entrance tickets with the driver.

“The girls woke up only five minutes before the coaches’ 5am departure, and raced to London on the train instead, hoping they could track down the driver.

“At Wembley he was nowhere to be seen as Mr Rouse stepped in to aid the tearful girls.

Mandy said: “Alan drove us in his coach to where all the drivers go.”

“After an unsuccessful search of the bus station canteen and all the Victoria pubs used by the National Express men, the driver was found in a nearby hotel. He was having his afternoon nap before the return journey.

“Tickets in hand, Mandy and Helen dashed to the nearest Tube station and arrived only an hour late.

“Mandy said two alarm clocks failing to go off had caused the problem for her and Helen.”

Best wishes to the girls and Alan, 32 years on!

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