Back in 1985, Sammy Hagar & Eddie Van Halen performed a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” at Farm Aid in Champaign, Illinois. The performance was in the first Farm Aid benefit concert.
Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp founded Farm Aid and serve on the board of directors. The three agreed that family farmers were in dire need of assistance and decided to plan a concert for America.
The show was put together in six weeks and was held on September 22, 1985 in Champaign, Illinois before a crowd of 80,000 people. It raised over $9 million for America’s family farmers.
Performers included Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Loretta Lynn, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and many more. Dave Matthews joined Farm Aid’s Board of Directors in 2001 to help further Farm Aid’s mission of keeping family farmers on their land.