The Birth of the Benefit Concert

Not to be outdone by their cross-the-pond counterparts, Americans Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young organized 1985's Farm Aid to raise money for struggling American farmers.

The secret of these megaconcerts' success is a variety of talent with mass appeal to different genres across many countries. Live Aid, simulcast from London's Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia's John F. Kennedy Stadium, catapulted some of today's biggest talents into living rooms and hearts around the globe. Madonna used it as her global coming out party, stealing the show from megastars like Ozzy Osborne and Black Sabbath, Run DMC, Ashford & Simpson, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, WHAM!, Sade and Freddie Mercury.

Twenty-two years later, Al Gore teamed up with Live Earth founder Kevin Wall to put this double team of music and a mission to the test, this time to save our planet by engaging a mass group of people to take action against global warming and climate crisis.

The event was broadcast to over 2 billion people worldwide with live shows from New York, London, Hamburg, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Rio and Johannesburg. Over 150 world-renowned acts -- Madonna, Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West and Shakira among them -- performed over 24 hours across seven countries.

Mass concerts are an example of what can be accomplished with equal doses of cooperation talent, and a lot of money. After Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Thailand and the attacks of 9/11 we pulled together and once again let music lead us to a better day.

As Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones so eloquently wrote in the for Africa's "We are the World":

We are the world, we are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let's start giving. There's a choice we're making, we're saving our own lives. It's true we'll make a better day, just you and me.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...