Live Aid - Raising Money

Raising Money

Throughout the concerts, viewers were urged to donate money to the Live Aid cause. Three hundred phone lines were manned by the BBC, so that members of the public could make donations using their credit cards. The phone number and an address that viewers could send cheques to were repeated every twenty minutes.

Nearly seven hours into the concert in London, Bob Geldof enquired how much money had been raised; he was told £1.2 million. He is said to have been sorely disappointed by the amount and marched to the BBC commentary position. Pumped up further by a performance by Queen that he later called "absolutely amazing", Geldof gave an infamous interview in which he used the word 'fuck'. The BBC presenter David Hepworth, conducting the interview, had attempted to provide a list of addresses to which potential donations should be sent; Geldof interrupted him in mid-flow and shouted: "Fuck the address, let's get the numbers!" It has passed into folklore that he yelled at the audience, "Give us your fucking money!" although Geldof has stated that this phrase was never uttered. Private Eye magazine made great capital out of these outbursts, emphasising Geldof's accent which meant the profanities were heard as "fock" and "focking". After the outburst, giving increased to £300 per second.

Later in the evening, following David Bowie's set, a video shot by the CBC (Video Editor: Colin Dean) was shown to the audiences in London and Philadelphia, as well as on televisions around the world (though notably neither US feed, ABC or MTV chose to show the film), showing starving and diseased Ethiopian children set to the song "Drive" by The Cars. (This would also be shown at the London Live 8 concert in 2005.) The rate of giving became faster in the immediate aftermath of the moving video. Ironically, Geldof had previously refused to allow the video to be shown, due to time constraints, and had only relented when Bowie offered to drop the song "Five Years" from his set as a trade-off.

As Geldof mentioned during the concert, the Republic of Ireland gave the most donations per capita, despite being in the throes of a serious economic recession at the time. The single largest donation came from the ruling family of Dubai. They donated £1m in a phone conversation with Geldof.

The next day, news reports stated that between £40 and £50 million had been raised. Now, it is estimated that around £150m has been raised for famine relief as a direct result of the concerts.

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