07/29/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT
"It was the worst experience ever," says photographer Ken Regan. He had just managed to cram eight rock legends into an airless backstage studio at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium along with $15,000 in camera equipment for this issue's cover. Then a power outage struck. "I had shot 16 warm-up frames. Then in the dark in the three minutes before everyone split, I shot a dozen more with a flash I can't believe we pulled it off."
To cover the transworld Live Aid concerts (page 26), PEOPLE fielded teams in London and Philadelphia. Their mission, as senior editor Jay Lovinger put it: "To get behind the scene, to tell a story no one else has told." In fact London correspondent Jonathan Cooper, who was backed up at Wembley Stadium by L.A. reporter Todd Gold and rock photographer Neal Preston, had been tracking the story for months. One source: organizer Bob Geldof. "I'm Irish and so is Bob, and I guess that helps," says Cooper.
In Philadelphia, where the heat reached 101°, writer Steven Dougherty and team put in a 16-hour day buttonholing rock stars by the dozen, from Hall and Oates to Tina Turner and Joan Baez. "Up close Mick Jagger is mesmerizing," reports Lisa Russell. Says Tina Johnson, "The concert was a one-shot deal. If you missed it, it was gone." Mary Shaughnessy judges the best moments were at "rehearsals, when we could really watch the giants at work."
Meanwhile in Manhattan, picture coordinator Dotsie Salituri worked through the weekend, shepherding the incoming 310 rolls of film through developing and printing. "It's the biggest job I've had in 10 years at PEOPLE," says Dotsie, adding with a spirit typical of the other exhausted team members: "It's strange, but somehow I love the pressure."