As America recovers from the September 11 terrorist attacks, the music community has rallied to the cause by staging several benefit concerts and writing songs that express anger and sadness, as well as hope and determination. Some artists have addressed the aftermath of 9-11 in their lyrics.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney was in New York City on September 11 of last year. He witnessed the destruction of the World Trade Center and even visited the site to encourage the firefighters and rescue workers. On October 20, he helped organize The Concert for New York City, a live television broadcast from Madison Square Garden. Sir Paul wrote a new song called Freedom, which he debuted at the show. After walking the streets of New York City and talking with people, he says he realized that a concert was his best method to raise money for the families of the terrorist attack victims. "We had to," said McCartney. "We felt hopeless and we were in New York at the time. We just felt, 'We've got to do something,' like a lot of people felt, 'How can I help?' So we did it for that reason, and it was just so great to look out over that sea of firefighters and just the emotion and just feel the audience. And I thought, 'I could get into this.'"
New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi also gave an emotional performance at The Concert for New York City. Addressing the crowd, lead singer Jon Bon Jovi honored the families of the Trade Center victims and the New York City officers who were also in attendance.
"This is for you, ladies and gentlemen: The Fire Department, the Police Department, the Emergency Rescue Service, the Port Authority Police. From the bottom of my heart, I can't thank you enough for everything you've done for this city, for America. For me, for my heart, for my band. Thank you all, one and all," he said.
On October 1, Bon Jovi will release a new album called Bounce, which traces how the U.S. has bounced back from the September 11 tragedy. The first single, Everyday, reinforces the need to live each day to its fullest. The lyrics tell about the harshness of life, but encourage listeners to get back up on their feet and carry on.
Country singer Alan Jackson just set a new record by receiving 10 Country Music Association Award nominations, including Single, Song and Video of the Year for his heartfelt tribute to the American people, Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).
"I am proud of the way it's been accepted, but it makes me a little uncomfortable to have that, not responsibility, but weight on me," 'he admits. "I don't know that it's the voice of that tragedy, or the wake of it, but I've always been a little uncomfortable with the attention. I've never really consciously tried to write preachy-type songs or world healing songs or anything. I've always looked at music more as entertainment, but that one just came out. It kind of made its own way."
Bruce Springsteen reunited with his E Street Band for The Rising, a collection of songs that were influenced by the aftermath of September 11, and how the U.S. has recovered in the wake of the tragedy. Bruce admits he was jarred into action by a fan who recognized him as he was driving and shouted out, "Hey Bruce, we need you!" He wrote the album's title track to inspire his fans to rise up and go on with their lives.
"The Rising was just part of the journey that the record depicts. Everything is not pre-ordained, fate has not been foretold yet - your fate or the fate of where we live," says Springsteen. "It's up for grabs and the stakes are still very, very high and running every day."
On his latest album, Bruce Springsteen explores the anger, loss, sorrow and recovery that Americans have been experiencing over the past year.