"Live Aid (Live, 13th July 1985)" - Various Artists


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Background Information

On September 7, 2018, Live Aid was finally released in audio formats worldwide. The 1985 concert event had remained unreleased, but heavily bootlegged for years. In 2004 a DVD set of the concert experience was released as a 4-DVD set. U2’s performance at the concert was also released as bonus footage on deluxe versions of “The Unforgettable Fire” in 2009 for the 30th anniversary edition, but again, it was video and not audio that was released. It was not until the 2018 release that a widely released audio version was available.

The Live Aid concert was held on July 13, 1985. It featured a huge line up of musicians performing on two continents, including David Bowie, Madonna, The Who and more. U2 appeared in London and performed two songs, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Bad”. Both of U2’s tracks are found on the end of “Disc 1” of this release, with “Sunday Bloody Sunday” running 05:24 and “Bad” running 12:12. The performance by Band Aid of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” which featured Bono is featured on Disc 3 and is 04:29 in length.

The full concert is made up of 93 tracks, split up between 4 discs, for a total length of 7 hours, 53 minutes and 51 minutes. The audio has been released for download on iTunes and 7 Digital, but is streaming only on other services such as Qobuz and is not available to purchase in some countries. The album does not appear to have been released to the streaming service Spotify. On the iTunes release, “Bad” is an album only track, which means you must buy the entire album to get the song. On other platforms this is not the case.

There are slight edits from other sources of this performance. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” appears here with Bono’s introduction where he says “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and the track comes in at 05:24. On the Live Aid DVD, the song is tracked so that the entire intro by Jack Nicholson is included, as well as Bono saying the song title and comes in at 05:45. On The Unforgettable Fire deluxe set, Bono’s intro where he says the song title is removed and the edit runs 05:28. “Bad” on the DVD release plays into an interview with Phil Collins, and runs 12:02 in total, but is split into two pieces. On The Unforgettable Fire, the audio fades out early to avoid the interview with Phil Collins. On this first audio release, the track is 12:12 in length, and fades out before the interview with Collins.

This release of Live Aid in audio formats comes the same week that it was announced that the upcoming Queen movie, Bohemian Rhapsody would use audio from Queen’s performance of Live Aid, and pointed out that these performances had never been released in audio format, and would be released in audio on the movie soundtrack for the first time ever on October 19. That is no longer the case, as these have now been issued in audio formats.

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