Live Aid BBC Coverage

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tburchell
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Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by tburchell »

Does anyone know whether the BBC holds a complete record of the 1985 Live Aid coverage? I have the official box set which isn’t complete?

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by GarethR »

Yes, the BBC has everything AFAIK. It's never likely to be repeated in full though, the permission of all the artists would be needed, just as it was for the DVD set, and those artists who declined to let their performances appear on the DVD are unlikely to allow them to be broadcast again.

I remember people complaining that the DVD set didn't include the between-set links, but those were only seen in the UK (each country that took Live Aid did its own thing between each artist) and the DVD was intended for worldwide sale, so had to be generic.

drmih
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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by drmih »

I remember having recently got a Beta stereo video and having to lash up a system so that the Radio 1 stereo was recorded alongside the bbc pictures. I think it's still stored away on 5 L-750 tapes somewhere!

tburchell
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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by tburchell »

I do recall BBC2 did repeat quite a chunk of it some time ago, but by no means the full 16 hours.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Bernie »

I seem to remember that there wasn't supposed to be any recording of the event by order of Sir Bob, but down in the TC basement, the cogs went round and round all day.

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Clive
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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Clive »

I have got two E-180 tapes of Live Aid which were recorded the week after we got our first VCR !

Our skills at programming it were poor and as the published schedule fell to pieces within the first 5 minutes, then most of what we have is the behind the scenes and links cutting off halfway through the first song of the band we were meaning to record.

One great bit was a satellite linkup around the world to see how other countries are celebrating 'Live Aid' and in almost hushed tones the announcer tells us we are about to link live to Moscow where the Soviets are also having a concert for Live Aid. What flashes up on our screens though seems to be part of a documentary on Soviet agriculture rather than any pop concert and then followed by a quick apology that they have got their satellite feed messed up.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by ctraynor »

I was confident from what I'd heard over the years that the BBC had the whole lot, until the press coverage of the release of the DVD set in 2005. Then I saw interviews in newspapers etc from Jill Bennett who was doing interviews to promote the DVD set and there was talk about a struggle to find stuff to use, particularly re the US side of the concert. Unless I got the wrong end of the stick but it would be nice to confirm one way or the other.

In addition, it was mentioned that some artists requested certain numbers they did should not be included as they weren't happy with their performances. It sounded as though Led Zeppelin (Plant, Page and Jones) simply said no to any of their stuff going out, and the Live Aid team were surprised that Bob Dylan gave permission to use even one of his numbers.

Some of this is a great shame as I thought, for instance, the whole Beach Boys set and the whole Neil Young set were tremendous but only a couple of songs from each of those acts was used on the DVD.

I've still got two C-90 tapes with Live Aid. Takes me back. I've got the discs as well.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by GarethR »

ctraynor wrote:It sounded as though Led Zeppelin (Plant, Page and Jones) simply said no to any of their stuff going out
Yes, they were unhappy with their set (both in terms of their performance and the technical quality) and don't want it released or repeated. They made a donation to Live Aid as compensation after declining to grant permission for the DVD release.

IIRC the reason for pretty much *all* the refusals was the artists' dissatisfaction with the quality of their performances, either the full set or individual songs. If I was Simon Le Bon I'd feel the same after *that* note in A View To A Kill.
I saw interviews in newspapers etc from Jill Bennett who was doing interviews to promote the DVD set and there was talk about a struggle to find stuff to use, particularly re the US side of the concert
Geldof's edict that the show not be recorded and hence be a one-off (he used this as bargaining chip to help persuade the artists to perform) was taken more seriously in the USA, and ABC completely wiped its tapes. MTV decided to keep its own recordings, but apparently they're not clean feeds (so they've got whatever on-screen graphics MTV were using) and many songs/sets are cut short by the ad breaks and presenters. Because so much of the US material was never shown on the BBC, there's far less remaining of the US side of the event than the UK side, in releasable broadcast quality anyway.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Clive »

Some of the technical/sound quality leaves a lot to be desired in some cases. It was still a great technical achievment to have brought this all together in just a few weeks, I am not sure how may dress rehearsals the bands would have had before the day, if any ? But I suspect there was little possibility to customise the stage and sound setup to match each band, at least bands like Led Zep would have been used to days of rehearsals and their own sound and amp's so the Live Aid setup must have been a bit difficult for them.

I don't know what cameras they were using at Wembley, but at least into the evening set, the microphonics on the tube cameras were a real problem, by far the worst I've seen on any live concert. I wondered if this was something in a more planned concert they could have mitigated against ? Or Paul McCartney's mike which always seems to fail whenever he has to play live at an event like this.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by bent_halo »

tburchell wrote:I do recall BBC2 did repeat quite a chunk of it some time ago, but by no means the full 16 hours.
July 1995. About five hours of it on a Saturday night.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by ctraynor »

Which included Plant,Page and Jones.

Wasn't it six hours?

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Paul Hayes »

Clive wrote:Some of the technical/sound quality leaves a lot to be desired in some cases. It was still a great technical achievment to have brought this all together in just a few weeks, I am not sure how may dress rehearsals the bands would have had before the day, if any ?
Queen rented out a theatre and spent a week rehearsing the hell out of their set, which is possibly why they ended up being regarded as one of the most successful acts on the bill.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by SgtPepper »

A lot of people recorded the entire BBC broadcast to VHS tapes. The only snag is that none of them are complete because tapes had to be switched when they were full. I suppose anyone who could be arsed could get recordings from several different sources and hope that tapes were switched at different times and fill any gaps.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Mike S »

We had a 'Live Aid party' at our flat c2005, where we watched off-airs of the original broadcast in real time (yes, starting at 12pm).

It's such a shame the linking stuff isn't on the DVD, because it's quite clearly the best thing about it. Andy Kershaw shouting 'Don't forget yer barley sugars!' as Phil Collins pompously departs for Concorde has to be my favourite moment.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Cheeseford »

Clive wrote:I don't know what cameras they were using at Wembley, but at least into the evening set, the microphonics on the tube cameras were a real problem, by far the worst I've seen on any live concert.
I'm pretty certain that it was a mixture of Philips LDK5s and handheld LDK14s.
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Mickey
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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Mickey »

Mike S wrote:It's such a shame the linking stuff isn't on the DVD, because it's quite clearly the best thing about it. Andy Kershaw shouting 'Don't forget yer barley sugars!' as Phil Collins pompously departs for Concorde has to be my favourite moment.
Mel Smith's intro to Queen is rather good. He was a big fan, so it was a special moment for him, but it's nicely irreverent anyway.

drmih
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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by drmih »

SgtPepper wrote:A lot of people recorded the entire BBC broadcast to VHS tapes. The only snag is that none of them are complete because tapes had to be switched when they were full. I suppose anyone who could be arsed could get recordings from several different sources and hope that tapes were switched at different times and fill any gaps.
I'm sure that many people, like myself, used a couple of machines, and also switched tapes during the often repeated 'charity' bits - it sounds awful but you know the filmed insert type things I mean. On the bright side, my master set were on beta, so with longer tape times, the change-overs shouldn't coincide with vhs copies - now there's a project!

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by bent_halo »

Mike S wrote:We had a 'Live Aid party' at our flat c2005, where we watched off-airs of the original broadcast in real time (yes, starting at 12pm).

It's such a shame the linking stuff isn't on the DVD, because it's quite clearly the best thing about it. Andy Kershaw shouting 'Don't forget yer barley sugars!' as Phil Collins pompously departs for Concorde has to be my favourite moment.
I believe we cheered when the cameras first went to 'the pod'. Richard Skinner's best ever reception.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

SgtPepper wrote:A lot of people recorded the entire BBC broadcast to VHS tapes. The only snag is that none of them are complete because tapes had to be switched when they were full. I suppose anyone who could be arsed could get recordings from several different sources and hope that tapes were switched at different times and fill any gaps.
Considering that some people may have been recording the whole thing on E-180s, and others on E-240s, probably not sources would be needed. I was at college at the time and knew someone who hired a second VCR just for the event, so he could overlap the two machines.
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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Simon36 »

Mike S wrote:We had a 'Live Aid party' at our flat c2005, where we watched off-airs of the original broadcast in real time (yes, starting at 12pm).

It's such a shame the linking stuff isn't on the DVD, because it's quite clearly the best thing about it. Andy Kershaw shouting 'Don't forget yer barley sugars!' as Phil Collins pompously departs for Concorde has to be my favourite moment.
I'd hardly say he departed pompously. He was pushed off by Kershaw. He was the only one on the day doing the two continents thing despite Duran and several others being earmarked for it, but somehow he's ended up the villain of the piece despite doing his best with a catastrophic Zeppelin. If anyone should be pilloried for Live Aid it's Cher, who was on Concorde with Collins and assumed all the press at Heathrow were there for her. She knew nothing about the famine or the gig apparently but asked if she could be involved once she knew the gist. PC was asked to take part in We Are the World at the end of the US gig and declined, but Cher, despite a few hours earlier being oblivious to the whole thing, was there at the end holding a microphone.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Mike S »

You're right, it wasn't really a pompous departure - Collins is often more self-aware/deprecating than he's given credit for. But Kershaw's line did seem to undercut the solemnity of the event quite amusingly.

I'm looking forward to reading Mark Ellen's memoirs - the Live Aid chapter ought to be a highlight.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Mark T »

... and someone at Channel 4 recorded the whole thing on 1" as the lines from the tower were up. He then edited it down... I've mentioned this before but sadly the chap that did this recording died years ago, and I'm pretty sure the 1" tapes were dumped years ago. This was at 60 Charlotte Street after all... but my VHS recordings are the C4 cut-down version.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by brigham »

I painstakingly recorded it on V2000, using 4-hour-a-side cassettes, thinking it was some monumental event I would need for the rest of my life.

What a shame reality has to set in, and spoil everything.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by SgtPepper »

Mike S wrote:You're right, it wasn't really a pompous departure - Collins is often more self-aware/deprecating than he's given credit for. But Kershaw's line did seem to undercut the solemnity of the event quite amusingly.
There was an interview with Andy Kershaw fairly recently (I think in the last couple of years but they seem to blend into one as you get older :-) ) where he was reminiscing about the Live Aid interviews and he said how embarrassed he was to have to interview the likes of Quo and Collins who he considered to be musical dross of the worst kind.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by ctraynor »

I saw that too (I can't remember which year either). Kershaw is a good broadcaster and has done a lot to introduce people to different kinds of music from around the world (Working it the other way, a friend of mine who is into world music was turned on to Bruce Springsteen when Kershaw played tracks from Springsteen's The Ghost of Tom Joad album).

Kershaw's been tiresomely militant about music though. Sounds like he still is.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by bent_halo »

The Ellen memoirs are great apparently. He did a brilliant piece for Word magazine to mark the twentieth anniversary, with a running commentary on his all day viewing of his VHS tapes. Very funny. There was also a tie-in appearance on Mark Radcliffe's Radio 2 show where they played R1's special jingles from the day. Was that where he mentioned picking up Kershaw in his car on the way to Wembley ("I hope you've packed your brown trousers!")?

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Simon36 »

ctraynor wrote:I saw that too (I can't remember which year either). Kershaw is a good broadcaster and has done a lot to introduce people to different kinds of music from around the world (Working it the other way, a friend of mine who is into world music was turned on to Bruce Springsteen when Kershaw played tracks from Springsteen's The Ghost of Tom Joad album).

Kershaw's been tiresomely militant about music though. Sounds like he still is.
That was in the second part of the BBC documentary Live Aid: Against All Odds and Rockin' All Over the World. Very good it was too.

Tiresomely militant is right though. He was actually referring most of all to Howard Jones in his comments (it was Collins, Nick Kershaw and HJ sat at the table). But so often I find people who are denouncing so-called pomposity in music tend to be the most pompous themselves.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Paul Hayes »

Simon36 wrote:That was in the second part of the BBC documentary Live Aid: Against All Odds and Rockin' All Over the World. Very good it was too.
That was a superb documentary, a great two-parter.

I seem to remember a great bit with Geldof and others recalling how they were at one point seriously looking into getting a horse under the stage to turn it around, before they all suddenly realised this was madness.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by Mike S »

bent_halo wrote:The Ellen memoirs are great apparently.
Slightly disappointed by the length when I thumbed through it the other week, especially considering the £18 cover price. But I don't doubt that it's great all the same.

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Re: Live Aid BBC Coverage

Post by bent_halo »

Oh that's a pity. I'd happily read a brick. (Aren't all rock music books supposed to be needlessly massive?)

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