Today is the 25th anniversary of Live Aid, the massive famine relief concerts held in London and Philadelphia. I’ve written about the shows at WNEW.com today, but I thought it might be interesting to look here at what else was going on in the world that day. I’ve edited this post since it first went up to fix a typo, and to direct you to this post at Any Major Dude With Half a Heart—AMD attended the London Live Aid show.
July 13, 1985, is a Saturday. President Reagan undergoes colon surgery, so for the first time in American history, a president hands over power to his vice president temporarily. George H.W. Bush is acting president for approximately eight hours while Reagan is under general anesthesia and in recovery. Public health officials in New Mexico are concerned about an outbreak of plague among cats, while celebrity watchers are abuzz over speculation that Britain’s Princess Diana might be pregnant. (She isn’t.) Two planes collide at an air show in Niagara Falls, New York, killing one pilot. Boy Scout Troop 180 of Yankton, South Dakota, is on a canoeing trip to the Boundary Waters, which will last until July 21. In a pregame ceremony, the New York Yankees retire the numbers of Roger Maris (9) and Elston Howard (32). Future major-leaguer and ESPN commentator John Kruk hits an inside-the-park home run while playing in the minor leagues for Las Vegas. Joe Aguirre, who played football for the Washington Redskins in the 1940s, dies at age 67. Future Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa, who will play for his country in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, is born.
The animated Disney film Pinocchio is released on home video for the first time. Shows on TV tonight include The Paper Chase, which is airing on Showtime after being canceled by CBS four years previously. On network TV, shows running opposite ABC’s edited highlights of Live Aid include Diff’rent Strokes, Gimme a Break, Mama’s Family, and Hunter on NBC, and Airwolf on CBS. A Los Angeles TV station broadcasts the final episode of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, which has run on local TV there since 1981, and ran in national syndication from 1982 to 1984.
The Grateful Dead opens a two-night stand at the county fairgrounds in Ventura, California, and Queensryche plays Irvine, California. Depeche Mode plays Brest, France, and Stevie Ray Vaughan plays the Hague in the Netherlands. Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” tops the latest Cash Box chart and the Billboard Hot 100, knocking “Sussudio” by Phil Collins from the top of both charts. There’s not much movement on the Cash Box chart ; just one new entry makes the Top 10, “You Give Good Love” by Whitney Houston. Biggest movers on the Cash Box chart include “Shout” by Tears for Fears, from 23 to 14; their album Songs From the Big Chair is the new Number One album in Billboard, taking out Phil Collins’ No Jacket Required. “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams leaps from 43 to 32, and “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner jumps from 48 to 37. The highest-debuting new song on the chart is “You’re Only Human” by Billy Joel, coming in at Number 41.
Perspective From the Present: There’s really not much to recommend the summer of 1985 beyond Live Aid. On that entire Cash Box chart, I count only six songs that I’d consider classics a quarter-century later: “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Freeway of Love,” “Summer of ’69,” “The Power of Love” (and you might be able to argue me out of that one), “Walking on Sunshine,” and “Money for Nothing.” The rest of the week’s biggest hits are forgettable—who listens to “Raspberry Beret,” “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” or even “A View to a Kill,” anymore?
The best song on the chart is probably the Jeff Beck/Rod Stewart version of the Impressions’ “People Get Ready.” Rod’s waiting at the station for Jeff’s train to arrive, and when the old friends see each other for the first time, it’s as lovely a moment as was ever captured in a music video.