In Focus: David Bailey Live Aid Photography to be Auctioned in Essex

Iconic images captured by acclaimed photographer David Bailey CBE backstage at Live Aid in 1985 to go under the hammer at Sworders in February 2019


On the 13th July 1985, Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially opened ‘Live Aid’ at Wembley Stadium in London. The dual-venue benefit concert, brainchild of Bob Geldof, lead singer of Irish rock group ‘Boomtown Rats’, was organised to raise funds for the relief of the horrific famine in Ethiopia. The event was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, USA. On the same day, concerts inspired by the initiative took place internationally, resulting in one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time, watched by 40% of the global population.

 

DAVID BAILEY (b. 1938) BOB GELDOF AND PAULA YATES, LIVE AID 13TH JULY 1985

DAVID BAILEY (b. 1938) BOB GELDOF AND PAULA YATES, LIVE AID 13TH JULY 1985 gelatin silver print, printed 1985, signed in pen by David Bailey, and also signed on reverse by Bob Geldof and Paula Yates and stamped ARCHIVAL DAVID BAILEY and pencil initials DB 3/3, framed 50.5 X 40.5cm Estimate £1,000 – 1,500 

 

Geldof had travelled to Ethiopia in 1984 after hearing reports of the appalling famine crisis that had killed hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians and threatened to kill millions more. Shortly after returning to London, he called upon top pop artists to record a charity single to raise money and awareness for the appeal. The track ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’, still a regular in the Christmas charts, was written by Geldof and Ultravox singer Midge Ure and performed by ‘Band Aid’, an ensemble that featured Culture Club, Duran Duran, Phil Collins, U2 and Wham! It was the top-selling single in Britain to that date, raising more than $10 million. The following five photographs were taken by David Bailey CBE back stage at the iconic event for a benefit auction hosted by Sotheby's later that year. Only three of each image were printed for the sale. Each is signed by the photographer and the majority are signed on reverse by the subject.

 

DAVID BAILEY (b. 1938) GEORGE MICHAEL, LIVE AID 13TH JULY 1985

DAVID BAILEY (b. 1938) GEORGE MICHAEL, LIVE AID 13TH JULY 1985 gelatin silver print, printed 1985, signed in pen by David Bailey, and also signed on reverse by George Michael (with three kisses), and stamped ARCHIVAL DAVID BAILEY and pencil initials DB 85 3/3, framed. 50.5 X 40.5cm Estimate £4,000 – 5,000

 

A series of 5 photographs were taken by David Bailey CBE back stage at the iconic event for a benefit auction hosted by Sotheby's later that year. Only three of each image were printed for the sale. Each is signed by the photographer and the majority are signed on reverse by the subject. To include: Paul Yates and Bob Geldof, George Michael, U2, Spandau Ballet and Status Quo.

The rare large scale photographs are to be offered in the Out of The Ordinary auction at Sworders Fine Art in Stansted Mountfitchet in February 2019. Sale curator, Mark Wilkinson, discusses the consignment “for many people, myself included, Live Aid was the most impressive live concert ever experienced, with emotional and breath-taking performances. These striking black and white images, taken by the incredibly talented portrait photographer, David Bailey, give great insight to life behind the scenes at this iconic event. It is also exceptionally poignant that a number of these great artists are no longer with us today”.

 

DAVID BAILEY (b. 1938) U2, LIVE AID 13TH JULY 1985

DAVID BAILEY (b. 1938) U2, LIVE AID 13TH JULY 1985 gelatin silver print, printed 1985, signed on reverse by David Bailey in pencil initials DB 85 3/3 and stamped ARCHIVAL DAVID BAILEY, framed. 50.5 X 40.5cm Estimate £1,000 – 1,500

 

For more information about the forthcoming sale, please contact: markwilkinson@sworder.co.uk or call 01279 817778.

 

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