The success of Live Aid spawned 20 years of mammoth charity concerts as well as the forthcoming Live 8 series of anti-poverty gigs.
While millions of pounds have been raised by pop stars and organisers, not all these shows have proved to be very memorable.
Here are some of the highlights of the huge charity gigs staged since 1985.
When: 13 July 1985
Live Aid at Wembley ended with a rendition of the Band Aid song
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, and JFK Stadium, Philadelphia.
Raising money for: Famine relief in Africa.
Key performers: Queen, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, George Michael, Sir Elton John, U2, Madonna, Sting, Duran Duran, Bryan Adams, Sir Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Status Quo, Paul Young, Alison Moyet.
On-site audience: 72,000 at Wembley Stadium, 90,000 at JFK Stadium.
Global audience: Broadcast live on TV and radio to more than 1.5 billion people in 160 countries.
Raised: £30m by the end of the concert, an estimated £55m with subsequent donations.
Highlights: Phil Collins played with Sting at Wembley Stadium before flying to the US on Concorde to play with Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin at JFK Stadium.
MANDELA 70TH BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE CONCERT
When: 11 June 1988
Tracy Chapman stood in for Stevie Wonder at the Mandela concert
Where: Wembley Stadium, London.
In honour of: Former South African president Nelson Mandela, in Pollsmoor Prison at the time.
Raising money for: South Africa's Anti-Apartheid Movement and seven children's charities.
Key performers: Eurythmics, Sting, Whitney Houston, Simple Minds, Tracy Chapman, Dire Straits, the Midge Ure Band.
On-site audience: 74,000
Global audience: Broadcast live on TV and radio to 72 countries.
Raised: An estimated £1.2m.
Highlights: Little-known US singer Tracy Chapman performed a short acoustic set before returning two hours later in place of Stevie Wonder, who could not play after losing a piece of musical equipment. Chapman's ecstatic reception helped her become a major transatlantic star.
FREDDIE MERCURY TRIBUTE
When: 20 April 1992
Guns N' Roses played Knocking on Heaven's Door and Paradise City
Where: Wembley Stadium, London.
In honour of: Queen singer Freddie Mercury, who died of an Aids-related illness in November 1991.
Raising money for: The Mercury Phoenix Trust for Aids awareness and research.
Key performers: David Bowie, Sir Elton John, Annie Lennox, U2 (by satellite from Sacramento, California), George Michael, Guns N' Roses, Seal, Lisa Stansfield, Paul Young, Extreme, Zucchero, remaining members of Queen.
On-site audience: 72,000
Global audience Broadcast live on TV and radio to an estimated 500 million people in 76 countries.
Raised: An estimated £20m.
Highlights: The first half featured acts playing their own music while the second was devoted to covers of Queen songs. Actress Elizabeth Taylor told the audience: "Don't worry, I'm not going to sing."
When: 9 October 1999
Ex-Fugees member Wyclef Jean helped front the ambitious NetAid
Where: Wembley Stadium in London, Giants Stadium in New Jersey and the Opera House in Geneva.
Raising money for: United Nations Development Programme.
Key performers: David Bowie, Sting, Celine Dion, George Michael, The Corrs, Robbie Williams, Bono, Wyclef Jean, Eurythmics, Bryan Adams, Sheryl Crow, The Stereophonics, Catatonia, Bush.
On-site audience: 80,000 at Wembley Stadium, 29,000 in New York, 1,200 in Geneva.
Global audience: Its internet-only live broadcast was accessed an estimated 2.4 million times. Sixty countries subsequently aired the concert on TV and radio.
Highlights: All performances were well-received on site, but - in a time before most internet users had broadband connections - technical problems meant many web users could only receive poor quality live images. Technical problems also led to George Michael's decision to prevent his performance being broadcast on TV, although he later relented.
When: 29 November 2003
Bono and Beyonce performed together at the first 46664 concert
Where: Greenpoint Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa.
Raising money for: Nelson Mandela Foundation for Aids prevention, treatment and research.
Key performers: Beyonce, U2's Bono and The Edge, Anastacia, Ms Dynamite, Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor, Dave Stewart, Moloko, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N'Dour, The Corrs.
On-site audience: 40,000
Global audience: Broadcast live on the internet, then on radio and MTV globally to a potential audience of two billion.
Raised: Unknown. Organisers said the concert primarily "raised awareness of HIV in South Africa and launched the 46664 campaign". Further 46664 concerts have since taken place.
Highlights: Bono and Beyonce perform the song American Prayer as a duet, accompanied on guitar by U2's The Edge and Eurythmics star Dave Stewart.
TSUNAMI RELIEF CARDIFF
When: 23 January 2005
Charlotte Church joined Cardiff's rapidly-arranged Tsunami benefit
Where: Cardiff Millennium Stadium.
Raising money for: Victims of the 2004 tsunami in Asia.
Key performers: Eric Clapton, Manic Street Preachers, Keane, Charlotte Church, Katherine Jenkins, Goldie Lookin' Chain, Feeder, Liberty X, Snow Patrol, Embrace, Lemar, Aled Jones.
On-site audience: 61,000
Global audience: Broadcast live on the internet and by TV channel S4C, and on various BBC outlets.
Raised: £1.25m by the end of the concert.
Highlights: The concert ended with most performers joining Jools Holland and Eric Clapton on stage to sing Shake, Rattle and Roll.