How Bob Geldof lied to Elton John, David Bowie and Queen about Live Aid
BBC Two is reshowing the popular one-off film, When Harvey Met Bob, which chronicles how performing arts promoter Harvey Goldsmith and musician Bob Geldof butted heads while planning the 1985 Live Aid concert.
The concert was an iconic moment in music history, raised £100million for famine relief in Africa, and was considered a major success. However, it took some serious grafting behind-the-scenes to make the show work – with Bob even reportedly having to bend the truth to get artists to sign onto taking part in the show.
The story behind Live Aid will be told in When Harvey Met Bob
Chatting to The Guardian back in 2004, several concert organisers and musicians who were involved with Live Aid spoke about the what went on behind closed doors, with production manager Andy Zweck revealing that Bob had to do some major bluffing to convince major musical talent to perform a set.
Live Aid was a huge success
He said: “People now say, how could an artist refuse to be on a show like that? But my memory prior to the event was how Bob and Harvey Goldsmith struggled to get the artists and struggled to get the show in America. Bob had to play some tricks to get artists involved. He had to call Elton and say Queen are in and Bowie’s in, and of course they weren’t. Then he’d call Bowie and say Elton and Queen are in. It was a game of bluff.”
Bob himself also spoke about tricking Bryan Ferry into taking part, explaining: “When I announced it, the only one who was dithering, as ever, was Bryan Ferry. So I just said, ‘And Bryan Ferry [is in the line-up].’ And he rang to say, ‘I didn’t say yeah.’ I said, ‘Well, say no, then. You’re the one who can announce it though.'”
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