July 13 – The Live Aid concert takes place in Wembley Stadium, London, UK and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, USA. The headlining acts at the latter venue included a Led Zeppelin reunion, the first since their 1980 disbandment. The former venue, however, becomes the more notable of the two over the years, in part due to the high acclaim of Queen’s performance of “Radio Ga Ga”, which serves as the band’s comeback in the United Kingdom (Queen would still remain a pariah in the United States in the wake of Hot Space until after Freddie Mercury’s death six years later). With a little help from the British Concorde jet, singer Phil Collins manages to perform at both venues.
September 6 – Michael Jackson purchases the publishing rights for most of the Beatles’ music for $47 million, much to the dismay of Paul McCartney, against whom he is bidding.
September 19 – The Parents Music Resource Center’s (P.M.R.C.) United States Senate hearing on rock censorship begin in Washington, D.C. Heavy metal singer Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, rock star Frank Zappa and country singer John Denver testify against the P.M.R.C.
The Farm Aid concert is held in Champaign, Illinois, USA.
Massimo Bogianckino, general manager of the Paris Opera and former head of both the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and La Scala, is elected mayor of Florence.
December 5 – The first fully digital reggae single, Wayne Smith’s “(Under Me) Sleng Teng”, is recorded at Prince Jammy’s studio; it is the beginning of ragga style reggae.
December 23 – Two young fans of Judas Priest in Sparks, Nevada shoot themselves, one fatally, after listening to the band’s records. A lawsuit is brought against the group in 1986 claiming that they were compelled by backwards subliminal messages hidden in their music.
December 31 – The fourteenth annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special is aired on ABC television, with appearances by Four Tops, The Judds, Barry Manilow, The Motels, Tears for Fears and The Temptations.
Also in 1985
Several hundreds of thousands of US dollars in publishing royalties are released to the surviving members, and families of the deceased members, of the British music group, Badfinger. Two band members, Pete Ham and Tom Evans, previously committed suicide due to financial problems.
Metal Edge magazine is launched.
Roger Waters announces his intention to leave Pink Floyd; describing the band as “a spent force creatively,” he would spend the next two years in a legal battle with his now-former bandmates over the rights to the “Pink Floyd” name and other associated assets.