Watch Queen’s Historic “Bohemian Rhapsody” Live Aid Performance

Freddie Mercury and Brian May of the band Queen at Live Aid on July 13, 1985 in London
Freddie Mercury and Brian May performing at London's Live Aid concert on July 13, 1985 (Image credit: FG/Bauer-Griffin/Getty)

On this day in 1985, nearly 90,000 people geared up to attend the Live Aid concert at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. 

Meanwhile, over the pond, Queen erupted their set at London’s Wembley Stadium with “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Live Aid at London's Wembley Stadium on July 13, 1985.

Live Aid at London's Wembley Stadium on July 13, 1985.  (Image credit: Brendan Monks/Daily Mirror/MirrorpixGetty Images)

Released in 1975, the operatic rock opus was a massive hit for the band, selling more than a million copies while topping the charts for nine weeks.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” is memorable for several reasons – not least of which the first epic guitar solo which segues into the song’s operatic section. And in this historical live rendition, Brian May brings the band’s masterpiece to a crescendo with one of rock’s best-known electric guitar lead breaks using his “Old Lady” in front of a wall of Vox AC30 amplifiers.

Coincidentally, Queen’s 1973 debut album, Queen, was released also on this day. Buy it here (opens in new tab).

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as GuitaristTotal Guitar, Guitar World (opens in new tab)Guitar Player (opens in new tab) and MusicRadar (opens in new tab) in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.