Accessibility links

Music Comforts the Human Spirit - 2001-09-13

As America recovers from the devastating events of the past few days, dozens of entertainment events have been postponed or cancelled, including the Latin Grammy Awards. Some artists have decided to carry on, performing special tunes on stage. And radio stations across the country have been choosing music to help heal the emotional wounds.

After the news about the terrorist attacks, British singer Sting decided not to go ahead with the live webcast of a Tuesday night concert from Italy. Speaking from the stage, Sting commented, "We'd like to have one song on the webcast for the rest of the world to see, and then shut it off as a token of respect to those who've lost their lives and those who've lost loved ones in this terrible event." The tune he chose was "Fragile," which speaks about the delicate nature of the world's political situation. Midwest rocker John Mellencamp decided to cancel some of his shows this week. He has always represented the hopes and dreams of working class people in America, especially the family farmers in his home state of Indiana. John is famous for his songs about determination and triumph over adversity, such as his 1983 hit, "Pink Houses"

Music has the tremendous power to rally people around a cause or give comfort in times of confusion. On September 11, senators and congresspersons gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to sing the patriotic anthem "God Bless America." It was a galvanizing moment for the country, as millions of Americans watched the event on their televisions.

Over the past few decades, contemporary musicians have captured the mood of the country in times of turmoil, with everything from protest songs to modern-day patriotic tunes.

In 1980, during the Cold War era, The Charlie Daniels Band hit the charts with "In America", a tune that's being heard again this week on radio stations across the U.S.

Charlie Daniels' fellow country rockers, Diamond Rio, decided to go ahead with their 10th annual charity golf tournament on Tuesday. Lead singer Marty Roe says, "I just think we need to go on with what we're doing in this country, and we don't need to let terrorism stop this country from moving. They want us to stop and shake in our boots and not go on with our life, and I don't think this country's going to let that happen."

In the aftermath of the attacks this week on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, words sometimes fail to express the emotions of the American people at this difficult time. There is, however, a wealth of music that can aid in the healing process. "America," the 1980 tune by Neil Diamond, recognizes people who emigrated to this country and contributed to its rich cultural heritage.