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More Than 30 Years Later, We Finally Know Where All That Live Aid Money Was Really Spent

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There are only a few moments so historic that you can ask "where were you when it happened," but the original Live Aid concert in 1985 was definitely one of them.

Freddie Mercury performs at Wembley Stadium during Live

The global even got its start by chance, when musicians Bob Geldof and Midge Ure saw a BBC news report about a famine in Ethiopia. The disaster came in the middle of a civil war in the country that was already a decade old, and the BBC's Michael Buerk described the ravaged country as "the closest thing you get to hell on earth" in his report.

Geldof and Ure decided to do something, and the idea they settled on was a charity song. The tune they wrote was called "Do They Know It's Christmas," and the pair hoped to raise at least $90,000 by releasing the song. But when big names in the music business like U2, Phil Collins, and George Michael joined the project, it became a runaway hit.

Sting and Bono sing on the charity single.Tory Daily

The song raised more than $10 million for famine relief, and it inspired a new project for Geldof and Ure: Life Aid. The 16-hour concert was a global phenomenon thanks to satellite technology. An audience of 1.9 billion people from 150 countries tuned in to see performers like Queen, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and Madonna.

The American Live Aid concert in Philadelphia.Critics at Large

And while all eyes were on the concert, money poured in for Ethiopia. A bank of 300 phones were ringing of the hook in England as the donation number flashed on screen every 20 minutes. By the next day, Live Aid had raised as much as $66 million, and the charity went on to collect almost $200 million in the days following the event.

But decades after Live Aid made history, people are raising questions about how much help the charity actually provided to Ethiopia. Even the charity's own aid workers admit that money may have found its way into the wrong hands.

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