Watch Sting Join Dire Straits Onstage For Legendary Live Aid Performance

What do you get when two legendary artists do a live performance together with nearly two BILLION people watching? In this case, the answer is a peerless duet between Dire Straits and Sting at the iconic Live Aid gig in July 1985. The track they played was ‘Money For Nothing’ (a Dire Straits hit that had been released just weeks before Live Aid), and the original recording not only featured Sting on backing vocals, but was also co-written by him and Dire Straits’ guitarist/singer Mark Knopfler.

Walking onstage at Wembley Stadium to the screams of the 72,000-strong live crowd, Sting wastes no time in starting off the iconic song, singing the opening lines “I want my MTV” loudly into the microphone as Dire Straits prepare behind him. After some incredible drum fills from drummer Terry Williams, Mark Knopfler really lets rip with the song’s instantly recognizable riff, prompting the audience’s hands to go up in the air in celebration and almost everyone on the stage to start dancing.

As the performance continues, it quickly becomes apparent this is a duet which has really stood the test of time. The energy onstage is high and Knopfler’s lead vocal sounds incredible, particularly alongside his clear rapport with both the crowd and his bandmates. His guitar playing is impeccable too, sounding both dynamic and powerful. Dressed in a white kaftan shirt and trousers, Sting also cuts a distinctive figure, bringing an edginess to the performance with his earnest singing style.

No doubt many people reading this will be familiar with the original version of ‘Money For Nothing’, which made the top 10 in numerous countries worldwide. But did you know that the song’s music video was also extremely ahead of its time? Featuring one of the earliest uses of 3D computer animation to effectively illustrate the lyrics, the video won two MTV Video awards (Video of the Year and Best Group Video) and was the first to be shown on the MTV Europe TV channel when it launched in 1987.

There’s no doubt about it – Dire Straits and Sting’s live take on the classic track ‘Money For Nothing’ at Live Aid in 1985 was a masterclass in musicianship, stage presence, and most of all, entertainment. It’s little wonder that the video of the performance has reached over 63 million people since its upload on YouTube in 2018, viewing figures that are further proof of this performance’s eminent place in the history of popular music.

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