Philadelphia — The most common greeting today was “Hello, World!” and it seemed the whole world was watching on television as Live Aid benefit concerts here and in London raised tens of millions of dollars for hunger relief in Africa.

The concert ended here tonight 14 hours after it began with the same song it opened with, the USA for Africa anthem “We Are the World.” Sung a cappella by Joan Baez in the morning, the song reappeared as a chorale under the guidance of its author, Lionel Richie, joined by Harry Belafonte, Chrissie Hynde, Baez, Sheena Easton, Dionne Warwick, Melissa Manchester, Kenny Loggins, Patti La Belle, Daryl Hall, a 50member children’s choir and most of the 36 acts that had performed during the day.

On the last chorus, the 100,000 exhausted fans at John F. Kennedy Stadium managed to summon enough reserves for a truly rousing and fitting finale to a day when the medium and the message met on the highest plane. It was the liveliest aid of all.

In a triumph of technology and good will, the greatest entertainment package in rock history, ranging from such legendary figures as Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, the Who, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Duran Duran and Paul McCartney to relative unknowns like the Hooters, came off on schedule and with neither technical snafus nor displays of ego from any of the participants. For the most part, the artists chose to perform the cream of their pop in program marked by reunion, emotional comeback and an unprecedented level of cooperation among television, radio and the rock community.

The 100,000 sunburned but festive rock fans at JFK Stadium and 72,000 others at London’s Wembley Stadium were but a tiny part of a worldwide television audience of as many as 2 billion.

With AT&T telephone lines jammed by the volume of nationwide pledges 22,000 calls were attempted during one 20minute period after the Beach Boys’ set one ABC television executive told Agency for International Development Deputy Administrator Jay Morris, personal representative of President Reagan, that the final total raised by Live Aid could exceed $100 million. By show’s end, Richie reported that $40 million in pledges had already been made. The United States led to a mailing address (Live Aid Foundation, P.O. Box 7800, San Francisco, Calif. 94120) for contributions being broadcast on both television and radio.

And there was backstage talk among several principal participants about organizing Live Aid programs every year until the year 2000 to provide worldwide aid to the needy.

Article extracted from this publication >>  July 19, 1985