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Rod Stewart reveals manager turned down Live Aid over news coverage request

“That's not what it was all about. It was to raise money for kids. It wasn't about what news channel you were going to be on in America"

By Hollie Geraghty

Rod Stewart wears a silver jacket and polka dot shirt performing live
Rod Stewart will not retire some of his more old-fashioned lyrics. (Photo: YouTube)

Rod Stewart has revealed that his ex-manager turned down a Live Aid slot for the singer without asking him, because his set wouldn’t have been covered on the requested news slot.

The British rocker was a surprising omission from an all-star lineup of musical icons at the 1985 charity concert, which until now most had assumed was because he couldn’t get a band together in time for the show.

But speaking to the BBC in a recent interview, Stewart explained it was actually his manager who said no to what would have been a historic set.

We actually were supposed to do it,” he said, “but a few guys in the band told me that our ex-manager turned it down because I wasn’t getting the right news coverage.

“He only wanted me to do it if I got on the CBS news at 10 o’clock. He said, ‘If not, he’s not doing it.’ 

“And that’s not what it was all about. It was to raise money for kids. It wasn’t about what news channel you were going to be on in America.” He said that he “only just found this out,” adding, “I thought it was weird that I didn’t do it.”

The singer was experiencing major success with ‘Some Guys Have All the Luck’ and had wrapped up a world tour just three months earlier. 

Live Aid is regarded as one of the most iconic music events in history, with career-defining performances from the likes of Queen, U2, Madonna and David Bowie.

The 16-hour concert was held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia, with Phil Collins famously jetting across the Atlantic on the Concorde to play both.

The events, hosted by Bob Geldof, raised more than $127m (which equates to $326m in today’s money) for famine relief in Africa.

Stewart has just released his 31st studio album ‘The Tears Of Hercules’, and told the BBC about the writing process in lockdown.

“I think the lockdown gave me the opportunity to really zero in and get personal with the tracks,” he said. “But I was very fortunate – lockdown was a lot easier on me than it was for families who had three or four kids in two rooms in a high rise. Yes, we had our moments of tears but, by and large, we got through it pretty easily.”