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Fox and iHeart to broadcast Elton John-hosted COVID-19 benefit concert

By | Published on Thursday 26 March 2020

Elton John

Just recently, Bob Geldof said you couldn’t have a Live Aid-style concert in 2020 because of the internet. Little did he know that just a few weeks later such a thing would only be possible because of the internet. These are rapidly changing times for everyone.

US radio company iHeart and TV network Fox have announced a massive benefit concert that will raise money for COVID-19 relief and pay tribute to healthcare and emergency services staff. The show will be broadcast to millions across the States, with the necessary twist being that the performers will all also be in their own homes, beaming in their performances via the net.

The show will be hosted by Elton John, with performances from Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey and Tim McGraw all confirmed. Each artist will film their set in their own home, using their phone camera and their own audio equipment, so that they don’t have to come into contact with anyone else.

Viewers will be encouraged to think of the medical staff still out there grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, and to donate to the Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation charities.

‘The iHeart Living Room Concert For America’ will be broadcast on the Fox TV channel and iHeart radio stations on Sunday night, starting at 9pm ET. It will also be available on both company’s digital services.

Meanwhile, although Midge Ure said in 2016 that there was no point in releasing Band Aid-style singles anymore because music no longer has the necessary power, Lionel Richie reckons now could be the time for a new version of ‘We Are The World’.

Co-written by Richie and Michael Jackson, the original version of ‘We Are The World’ was released in 1985. Basically the US version of Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’, which came out the year before, it also raised money for humanitarian aid in Africa. A 25th anniversary edition was recorded in 2010 to support the Haiti earthquake relief effort. Now, with the song’s 35th anniversary this year, Richie reckons it could be time for a third version of the song.

“We were back to there are ‘those people’ and ‘those people'”, he says of growing divisions in politics and wider society in recent years, in a new interview with People magazine. “If you find yourself saying ‘those people’ then you are not thinking properly. What happened in China, in Europe, it came here. So if we don’t save our brothers there, it’s going to come home. It’s all of us. All of us are in this together”.

“Two weeks ago, we said we didn’t want to do too much [about the song] because this is not the time to sell an anniversary”, he goes on. “But the message is so clear. Every time I try and write another message, I write those same words”.

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