The concert was broadcast live on television in 76 countries around the world, with one billion people tuning in. Some 72,000 tickets were sold in three hours to attend the live concert – this was before Queen had even announced which bands would be performing.
The concert was a tribute to Freddy Mercury, the late frontman for Queen, who passed away on November 24, 1991, from bronchial pneumonia, a repercussion due to the AIDS virus. He was 45 years old.
The remaining members of Queen – John Deacon, Brian May and Roger Taylor – talked with Queen manager Jim Beach to organize an outdoor event in memory of Mercury’s life, as well as to raise funds for AIDS research, while spreading awareness about the disease. Robert Plant, David Bowie, Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, George Michael, Annie Lennox, Paul Young, Ian Hunter and Roger Daltrey showed up to sing Mercury’s songs, as well as their own.
All proceeds helped launch the The Mercury Phoenix Trust AIDS charity organization.