The 6.66 Most Important Metal Moments That Took Place At Live Aid

How rock’s biggest charity concert raised lots of money and a few horn-fingered salutes.

Live Aid, the massive, one-day, two-continent, sixty-plus-artist charity concert to raise money for a disastrous African famine, took place on July 13, 1985. To say the least, it was a momentous occasion and now, somehow, it’s thirty years later.

The brainchild of Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldolf, Live Aid arose in the wake of Band Aid, the supergroup Geldolf assembled in 1984 to record the smash hit charity single and holiday season perennial “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

Jumping back and forth between London’s Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium, Live Aid provided a telling snapshot of top-ticket music smack in the middle of the year that was, in turn, smack in the middle of the ’80s.

MTV-friendly pop acts dominated the day’s lineup with considerable dollops of FM-radio veteran classic rock acts taking on the nighttime anchor positions. Run-D.M.C. provided rap. Soul and R&B came courtesy of Sade, Patti LaBelle, and Ashford & Simpson with the recently disabled Teddy Pendergrast (a moving moment to be sure). The closest Live Aid’s roster got to punk was U2 and Geldolf’s aforementioned Boomtown Rats (neither of which actually qualify, at least not by how they sounded in ’85).

Surprisingly, Live Aid gave heavy metal a relatively decent shake. This occurred despite metal being despised at the time beyond any other genre by mainstream tastemakers, from Tipper Gore’s Parents Music Resource Center, which was actively fighting for censorship in Washington, to snooty rock outlets such as Rolling Stone, where a review of AC/DC’s just-released Fly on the Wall led off with the line: “Heavy metal is the idiot-bastard spawn of rock, the eternal embarrassment that will not die.”

So for Live Aid’s 30th anniversary, let’s raise a horn-fingered salute to rock’s Herculean push for humanitarian aid by highlighting the concert’s 6.66 most metal moments.

6.66. “Stars” by Hear N’ Aid Sounds Off

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