Thursday, April 22, 2010

Green is the New Black

From the MUSE Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future* Madison Square Garden *1979
Not a particularly collectible record, but great music.


What’s the image that comes first to your mind when you hear the words rock star?  A narcissist, maybe, with  a little hedonism thrown in?  A wild and wooly stoner?

We exalt rock musicians for what is, in essence, a very narrow talent when you think about it in reasonable silence.  Then we almost expect bad behavior in return.

But, in truth, there are many of the “other variety” of rock stars out there.  Those who use their celebrity and influence for the betterment of society–of the world.  A few come instantly to mind:  Bono, Sting, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, all those legions of singers and players who lined up behind the We Are the World effort, Band Aid, Farm Aid.  All those musicians who worked so tirelessly for MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy).  And lots of other causes. The list is long. 

One of my favorite albums is the NO NUKES concert album recorded in Madison Square Garden in 1979.  One of the featured players was John Hall, a former member of the 70s band ORLEANS.  He sang a song he’d written called “Power” in which he extolls the beauty of natural energy sources.  I sincerely hope he still feels that way and that he’s still working toward that end because he is now serving his second term as a member of the U. S. Congress. 

The band Orleans of the 70s, John Hall is top right, John Hall and Carly Simon at NO NUKES concert performing his song "Power" and finally John Hall, second term Congressman from the 19th District of NY.

As a footnote:  I greatly admire the rockers who use their platform for good causes, but the ones who spout off without bothering to find out anything about the issue they’re trying to promote get on my last nerve. They hurt the effort. There are plenty of those out there too, but we’ll let them go unnamed. 

Who are the rockers you admire?  What causes do they work for? 

1 comment:

  1. I think it was in 1984 when Geldof organized "Feed the World (Do They Know it's Christmas)". There were others at the time like "We are the World." These efforts raised real money to fight hunger, but not sure how much contributed money actually benefitted the cause. John Cougar did some Farm Aid benefits as well. Just read yesterday how Bill Gates has spent billions trying to fight polio in Africa, to no avail. I admire those who work quietly to make meaningful change for individuals.