Over the decade, rock stars have come together and proven that the rock genre stands for more than just sex and drugs.
With foundations created in the name of those artists deceased and large concerts put on to raise money for important causes, rock ‘n’ roll and charity are definitely two phrases that belong together.
One of the most well known rock and roll charity events was Live Aid. Live Aid took place on July 13th, 1985, and was a musical initiative to help raise money for relief of the Ethiopian Famine. The event was organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. It was a dual-venue event, one concert taking place at Wembley Stadium in London, and the other at John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, PA. Live Aid included some of rock’s biggest artists like David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and it even was the concert that reunited Led Zeppelin. The combined audience in attendance at the two simultaneous concerts is estimated to be around 172,000 people. I was also one of the largest television broadcasts of that time, reaching a global audience of around 1.9 billion. The total funds it was said to have raised was around 184 million dollars as a direct result of the shows.
Another well known project to raise money for a worthy cause was Ronnie James Dio’s Hear ‘N’ Aid. It was a collaboration by a multitude of rock and heavy metal artists, similar to Live Aid, to raise funds for famines in Africa. This project included members of Judas Priest, Mötley Crüe, Y&T, Dokken, Quiet Riot, Dio, Twisted Sister, Queensrÿche, Journey, W.A.S.P, Night Ranger, and more. The sessions for this album were also released on VHS. This project was said to have raised $1 million within a year of it’s release.
Band Aid was a charity supergroup founded by the later organizers of Live Aid, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. This group could be considered the early stages of Geldof and Ure’s plan for Live Aid, as the funds raised were given to help fight the famine in Ethiopia. The release, “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was Band Aid’s biggest hit, selling over two million copies and raking in more than $24,000,000 for famine relief.
Other than events that have been put together, there are also numerous foundations and charities set up by world famous rock artists across the globe. One of the biggest being Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock foundation, which was created by Alice and his wife of over 40 years, Sheryl Cooper, to help get teens in their hometown of Phoenix off the streets, and to give them the materials to discover their talents. These included learning an instrument, becoming a music producer, or even becoming an artist. Numerous events are set up to help raise money for the Solid Rock every year, and a portion of the profit that comes from purchasing Alice’s VIP packages are also put towards funding the foundation.
Other big name foundations include the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, a foundation co-founded by widow Wendy Dio, in memory of Mr. Ronnie James Dio; Dee Snider’s Ride, the Bob Irwin Wildlife & Conservation Foundation in which Guns ‘N Roses guitarist Slash shows heavy involvement, and lastly, the Sweet Relief foundation.
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