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Wembley Turns 100: the History of the Great Venue

While music is a virtual thing, there are few experiences that are as memorable as seeing live performances. One of the venues that can host those experiences is Wembley Stadium.

Wembley was Home to Multiple Events That Made World History

Since it first opened in 1923, the venue has been home to some of the most historic and memorable moments of the last century. With the Olympics in 1948, the World Cup in 1966, Live Aid in 1985 and the Women’s EURO in 2022, Wembley has been at the center of it all. Join us as we celebrate the 100th birthday of England’s national stadium.

In the years to follow, Wembley grew alongside the growth of England, its motherland, becoming one of the central points for English football, music, various sports and much more! From football finals to magical concerts, Wembley soon became the venue par excellence. Once, the stadium even welcomed the Pope when, in 1982, the Head of the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II, celebrated Mass at Wembley in front of a congregation of 100,000. Moreover, it will also be the house of 2028’s European soccer championship, Euro 2028!

In the entire history of the venue, however, too many key events took place. Today, we will dig into two of the most important moments in music that took place here at Wembley Stadium.

Live Aid and Queen’s Iconic Live

Freddie Mercury in Queens new single

On July 13, 1985, Wembley welcomed the—possibly—most famous concert ever. Movies were made referencing it, and to date, it still represents one of the biggest charity events ever. On July 13, at both Philadelphia and London, the Live Aid Concert took place, welcoming an incredible amount of big names to perform on the stages of the two cities. From the iconic performances of Queen and U2 to the less memorable fiasco of the newly reunited Led Zeppelin, the event went down in history. Through controversies and admiration, Bob Geldof succeeded in raising money for Africa and its famine crisis.

Those who weren’t involved in the event suffered from a bit of a bad reputation for the years that followed. One of those controversies involved Tears For Fears. The British group decided last minute not to take part in the event after two members of their band quit. Still, the group decided to donate concert funds to the cause. However, the disapproval was huge, both from the public and fans, but especially from organizer Bob Geldof, who made sure to guilt-trip the band.

1988: 10-HOUR CONCERT

A huge 10-hour concert at Wembley Stadium celebrated the 70th birthday of South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. The concert helped pave the way for his release two years later.

The concert received an incredible following, and it was broadcast to more than 60 countries. The full stadium saw some of the most influential and globally famous artists of the time peform. The musical line-up at the Wembley event included: Lou Reed, Natalie Cole, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds, Tracy Chapman and Stetsasonic. Even Denzel Washington appeared on stage. In addition, Anita Baker, Bonnie Raitt, Chrissie Hynde, Jackson Browne, Johnny Clegg and Aswad took part in the event as well.

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