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“It’s 12 noon in London, 7am in Philadelphia and around the world it is time for Live Aid, 16 hours of live music in aid of famine relief in Africa.”(Live Aid Introduction Announcement)
It was the 13th of July, 1985 and the world waited with anticipation as the stage at Wembley Stadium was poised to launch Live Aid. Simultaneously, the likes of Madonna, Black Sabbath and Bob Dylan were preparing for their set at John F Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. The ground-breaking concert was planned as a “global jukebox” and a continued response from the music industry and fans to the heart-breaking famine in Ethiopia. Freddie Mercury was imperial; Elvis Costello sang a Beatles’ tune; Midge Ure greeted the crowd “Hello world”; and when Bowie reached the lyric about “transmission and a live wire” in Rebel Rebel it was electrifying. The concert was truly global, lasted 16 hours, and advances in technology allowed for the broadcast to a record breaking 1.4 billion audience in over 150 countries.
The British Music Experience, UK’s Museum of Popular Music in Liverpool is putting Midge Ure’s stage-worn iconic silk coat and Ibanez guitar on display in celebration of this unparalleled magical event.
Midge Ure’s illustrious career has seen him win an Ivor Novello, Grammy and BASCAP awards along with a flotilla of gold and platinum records. By the time Midge’s single If I Was went to No1 in 1985 he had already crammed several musical lifetimes into a 10-year professional career – Slik, The Rich Kids, Thin Lizzy, Visage, Ultravox and of course the most famous one-off group in musical history Band Aid had by then all had the guiding hand of his musical navigation.
It was months prior to Live Aid, on November 25, 1984, when Midge and 36 artists by the collective name Band Aid gathered at SARM Studios in west London under Ure’s production. They recorded Do They Know It’s Christmas? a song he had just written with Bob Geldof as the industry’s heartfelt and eloquent contribution to Ethiopian famine relief. 600,000 copies sold in its first week in the UK alone was only the beginning: 800,000 more were bought in the second week, more than three million world-wide, and the unstoppable emotion engendered by the project led to Live Aid, the summer 1985 global concert that, all exaggeration aside, spoke for a generation. Within months, a staggering £8 million had been raised for the starving in Africa, and Geldof said that without Ure’s initial enthusiasm for the idea, not to mention his rapidly penned sketch for the single, neither Band Aid nor Live Aid could have happened.
Legendary music promoter, British Music Experience Chair of the Trustees and Live Aid organiser, Harvey Goldsmith CBE, recalled “I remember it like yesterday. I was managing the stage and telling all the performers I don’t care what time you go on, just what time you come off. We needed to stick to the schedule. The atmosphere was charged, the artists were electric and the result was a staggering £140 million for famine relief. We are very grateful to Midge for adding these memorable objects into the British Music Experience collection.”
Head of UNESCO City of Music for Liverpool, Kevin McManus commented “This is great for Liverpool and the BME, the UK’s Museum of Popular Music. I know the Museum is delighted with the loan of these items from Midge Ure. The BME looks for the objects that tell those big stories and this coat and guitar certainly do. In addition to Midge Ure’s meteoric career, these objects give visitors insight into the music industry and how Band Aid and Live Aid were the moments when the conversation changed. The idea of activism in music took on a new meaning. It wasn’t just the lyrics of a song that evoked change, it was the unified actions across the world from bands, artists and fans. Midge Ure was central to this shift and we couldn’t be more grateful he is now helping visitors relive the experience.”
The BME is adding the silk coat worn by Midge Ure for Ultravox’s Live Aid Wembley performance and the Ibanez Roadster II guitar played by Midge to its collection. Both items will go into the Live Aid showcase and will be joined by Midge’s Ivor Novello award for Do They Know It’s Christmas.
The British Music Experience will be marking Live Aid this year with an all-day Live Aid takeover on Saturday 15 July – nearly 38 years since the original concert was broadcast. All general entry tickets on 15 July will include these new exhibits and the Live Aid take over.
All general entry tickets purchased are valid for 12 months and each eligible visitor has the opportunity to support the Museum by Gift Aiding the cost of admission.
To purchase general entry tickets, go to www.britishmusicexperience.com
About the British Music Experience
The British Music Experience is the UK’s Museum of Popular Music – a place where visitors relive the moments that helped put UK music on the map. The BME opened in the heart of Liverpool in the iconic Cunard Building in 2017. The BME has made its mark as the centre for everyone who wants to celebrate the fantastic history of British music.
Boasting an unrivalled collection of stage outfits, objects and instruments, the museum charts the beginnings, rise and influence of British pop from 1945 to the present day. In addition to an incredible collection of artefacts and memorabilia – which includes some of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust costumes, the iconic Beatles’ Saville Row Apple Corp Door and the original handwritten lyrics to ‘Blue Monday’ – the museum also covers the impact that British music had on the culture, fashion, art and politics of the time. It reminds us that British music has at times defined and celebrated what it means to be British, challenged the status quo and given voice to the dispossessed.
The Museum includes galleries, learning zones, audio visual experiences, an interactive instrument studio, a dance area and a live music venue.
The Learning and Public Programmes, together with our temporary exhibitions further enrich the visitor experience through a range of events; from educational workshops for school children, to master classes and gigs hosted by industry experts.
Finally, there is a gift shop filled with the best of music heritage merch and a café, open to the general public, overlooking the Mersey.
The BME is a registered charity with a mission to advance the appreciation and understanding of the art, history and science of popular music in Britain. (Registered Charity 1125752).