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Artists United Against Apartheid
|Genres||Various-rock, hip hop, jazz|
Founded by Steven Van Zandt
| International opposition to|
apartheid in South Africa
Artists United Against Apartheid was a 1985 protest group founded by activist and performer Steven Van Zandt and record producer Arthur Baker to protest against apartheid in South Africa. The group produced the song "Sun City" and the album Sun City that year, which is considered a notable anti-apartheid song.
Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct, or intervene in social, political, economic, or environmental reform with the desire to make changes in society. Forms of activism range from mandate building in the community, petitioning elected officials, running or contributing to a political campaign, preferential patronage of businesses, and demonstrative forms of activism like rallies, street marches, strikes, sit-ins, or hunger strikes.
Steven Van Zandt is an American musician, songwriter, producer, actor, and activist who frequently goes by the stage names Little Steven or Miami Steve. He is a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, in which he plays guitar and mandolin. He is also known for his roles on television dramas such as Silvio Dante on The Sopranos (1999–2007) and Frank Tagliano / Giovanni "Johnny" Henriksen on Lilyhammer (2012–2014). Van Zandt also has had his own solo band called Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul, active on and off since the 1980s. In 2014, Van Zandt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the E Street Band.
Arthur Baker is an American record producer and DJ best known for his work with hip hop artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Planet Patrol, and the British group New Order. He is also known for remixing the Jill Jones song "Mia Bocca" on the 12" single, taken from her self-titled debut album Jill Jones (1987), released on Prince's Paisley Park Records, as well as remixing the Pet Shop Boys song, "In The Night". His remix of the song was used as the main theme for the BBC TV programme The Clothes Show between 1986 and 1994. He also remixed 'the Massive Jungle Mix' for Tina Turner's UK top 40 lead single from her 1996 album Wildest Dreams "Whatever You Want". Arthur Baker's songs are represented by Downtown Music Publishing.
Sun City was a place where the South African government allowed entertainment that was banned in most of the country. In protest of apartheid, an international boycott by performers continued for years, although some, such as Queen, ignored it.
Sun City is a luxury resort and casino, situated in the North West Province of South Africa. It is located between the Elands River and the Pilanesberg, about two hours' drive from Johannesburg, near the city of Rustenburg. The complex borders the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1970. Their classic line-up was Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. Their earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works by incorporating further styles, such as arena rock and pop rock.
Van Zandt became interested in writing a song about Sun City to make parallels with the plight of Native Americans. Danny Schechter, a journalist who was then working with ABC News' 20/20 , suggested turning the song into a different kind of "We Are the World", or as Schechter explains, "a song about change not charity, freedom not famine."
Daniel Isaac "Danny" Schechter was an American television producer, independent filmmaker, blogger, and media critic. He wrote and spoke about many issues including apartheid, civil rights, economics, foreign policy, journalistic control and ethics, and medicine. While attending the London School of Economics in the 1960s Schechter became an anti-apartheid activist and made trips to South Africa on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC). Later he would help musician Steven Van Zandt assemble other performers to form Artists United Against Apartheid who released the album Sun City in 1985. Schechter produced and directed six nonfiction films about Nelson Mandela from the time Mandela was a political prisoner to his election and service as President of South Africa.
ABC News is the news division of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), owned by the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company. Its flagship program is the daily evening newscast ABC World News Tonight with David Muir; other programs include morning news-talk show Good Morning America, Nightline, Primetime, and 20/20, and Sunday morning political affairs program This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
"We Are the World" is a charity single originally recorded by the supergroup United Support of Artists (USA) for Africa in 1985. It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian for the album We Are the World. With sales in excess of 20 million copies, it is one of fewer than 30 retail singles to have sold at least 10 million copies worldwide.
When Van Zandt was finished writing "Sun City", he, Schechter and producer Arthur Baker spent the next several months searching for artists to participate in the project. Van Zandt initially declined to invite Springsteen, not wanting to take advantage of their friendship, but Schechter had no problem asking and Springsteen accepted the invitation. Van Zandt was also shy about calling legendary jazz artist Miles Davis. Schechter initiated the contact and Davis also accepted. Eventually, Van Zandt, Baker and Schechter would gather an array of artists, described by rock critic Dave Marsh as "the most diverse line up of popular musicians ever assembled for a single session", including Kool DJ Herc, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Ruben Blades, Bob Dylan, Pat Benatar, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr and his son Zak Starkey, Lou Reed, Run–D.M.C., Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof, Clarence Clemons, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Darlene Love, Bobby Womack, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, The Fat Boys, Jackson Browne, Daryl Hannah, Peter Wolf, Bono, George Clinton, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, Michael Monroe, Stiv Bators, Peter Garrett, Ron Carter, Ray Barretto, Gil Scott-Heron, Nona Hendryx, Kashif, Lotti Golden, Lakshminarayana Shankar and Joey Ramone.
"Sun City" is a 1985 protest song written by Steven Van Zandt, produced by Van Zandt and Arthur Baker and recorded by Artists United Against Apartheid to convey opposition to the South African policy of apartheid. The primary means of that opposition is to declare that all the artists involved would refuse any and all offers to perform at Sun City, a resort which was located within the bantustan of Bophuthatswana, one of a number of internationally unrecognized states created by the South African government to forcibly relocate its black population.
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical directions in a five-decade career that kept him at the forefront of many major stylistic developments in jazz.
Dave Marsh is an American music critic, author, editor and radio talk show host. He was an early editor of Creem magazine, has written for various publications such as Newsday, The Village Voice, and Rolling Stone, and has published numerous books about music and musicians, mostly focused on rock music. He is also a committee member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
These artists also vowed never to perform at Sun City, because to do so would in their minds seem to be an acceptance of apartheid.
Schechter had also taken on the job of documenting the sessions on video and producing a behind-the-scenes documentary, working with 16 mm crews and independent production companies, directed by Jonathan Demme. Paul "Lucky" Goldberg, director, producer and cinematographer for ThunderVision Media Ltd and president of Hollywood New York International since 1993, worked with producer and partner Paul Allen of ThunderVision Media Ltd, based in New York at Kaufman Astoria Studios to capture the action. Lucky and Paul introduced a new camera technology to work alongside the 16mm crews, the one-piece camera - Panasonic's Recam format for extensive handheld coverage of two days of the artists in the streets of Manhattan as well as a rendition of "Sun City" in Washington Square Park. Approximately 150 policemen surrounded the entire park on horseback and foot to secure the area for the performance, which included Van Zandt, Bono, Springsteen, the Fat Boys, Mötley Crüe, Afrika Bambaataa, Nona Hendryx and many others. One of the most notable shots was caught when Bono gave a huge kiss on the cheek to one of the Fat Boys, in his signature yellow satin jacket and red hat. They went on to shoot Sun City II in Central Park, capturing the politics and music of the spirit of Little Steven's award-winning "Sun City", including interviews with Peter Gabriel and Bono.
Robert Jonathan Demme was an American director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for directing the psychological horror The Silence of the Lambs (1991), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director. He also directed Melvin and Howard (1980), Swing Shift (1984), Something Wild (1986), Married to the Mob (1988), the concert film Stop Making Sense (1984), Philadelphia (1993) and Rachel Getting Married (2008).
The Kaufman Astoria Studios is a historic movie studio located in the Astoria section of the New York City borough of Queens. It is home to New York City's only backlot, which opened in December 2013.
Panasonic Corporation, formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., is a Japanese multinational electronics corporation headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka, Japan.
Schechter invited MTV to get involved and asked a friend, Hart Perry, to film the sessions. During the course of the film, Schechter asks the artists to explain their involvement in the project in their own words: "Sun City's become a symbol of a society which is very oppressive and denies basic rights to the majority of its citizens," said Jackson Browne. "In a sense, Sun City is also a symbol of that society's 'right' to entertain itself in any way that it wants to, to basically try to buy us off and to buy off world opinion." Recalls Schechter, "I was surprised that many of the best-known rock 'n rollers were so publicity shy. Most of them had publicists who staged their media appearances. They weren't used to cameras poking them in the face. Bruce Springsteen at first turned down my request for an interview, but just as I was walking away from him dejected, he ran after me and agreed to say a few words for the documentary.
MTV is an American pay television channel that serves as the flagship property of owner Viacom Media Networks and headquartered in New York City. The channel was launched on August 1, 1981, and originally aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as "video jockeys" (VJs). At first, MTV's main target demographic was young adults, but today it is primarily teenagers, particularly high school and college students.
"When Miles started improvising in the studio...Steven and Arthur [Baker] insisted I not approach him with a camera. 'It's Miles, man," Baker said. "He's erratic, idiosyncratic, explosive. Wild. Don't mess with him when he's playing...' I barged into the booth while Davis was setting up, introduced myself and asked if we could videotape him. Through the glass I could see Steve and Arthur, heads in hands, convinced that I had blown it. Miles smiled. 'Bring it on,' he ordered, 'bring it on.' And we did, getting priceless footage in the bargain."
In addition to "Sun City," a number of other songs were recorded, making up the album Sun City .
For a time Van Zandt and Baker were making the record without a record company or any outside financial support. Van Zandt financed much of it while producer Arthur Baker (notable for his work with Afrika Bambaataa and New Order) donated studio time. Manhattan Records, under Bruce Lundvall's direction, came on board, acquiring rights to the recording and enabling Van Zandt and Baker to pay some of the bills. A committed record company attorney, the late Rick Dutka, also donated his time, along with noted music industry attorney, the late Owen Epstein as well as Van Zandt's assistant, Zoë Yanakis. Also, some New York's top recording engineers, studio musicians and recording studios donated their time as well as the artists who participated in recording Sun City. As well as lead vocals provided by notable artists Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Darlene Love, Run DMC, Lou Reed, Eddie Kendricks, Bonnie Raitt, Nona Hendryx and others, the signature background vocal sound was created by Lotti Golden, B.J.Nelson and Tina B.
Schechter's connections with ABC News posed some risks. "I couldn't tell ABC what I was doing on the side," recalls Schechter. "They would not have approved. I knew I couldn't propose a story about Sun City either, because I had stepped over the line and become part of the story. I tried and mostly succeeded in keeping my name out of the papers and my mug out of the video. I was terrified that 20/20 would dump me if they knew what I was doing, especially if my affiliation with ABC was dragged into it, even though the network had nothing to do with the project. I worked even harder at ABC, producing more stories than many of my colleagues, so I couldn't be accused of slacking off."
The song "Sun City" was only a modest success in the US, reaching #38 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1985. Only about half of American radio stations played "Sun City,"[ citation needed ] with some objecting to the lyrics' explicit criticism of President Ronald Reagan's policy of "constructive engagement."
Meanwhile, "Sun City" was a major success in countries where there was little or no radio station resistance to the record or its messages, reaching #4 in Australia, #10in Canada, #3 in The Netherlands and #21 in the UK. The song was banned in South Africa.
Van Zandt and Schechter also struggled to get the documentary seen. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) refused to broadcast the non-profit film "The Making of Sun City" even though it won the International Documentary Association's top honors in 1986; PBS claimed the featured artists were also involved in making the film and were therefore "self-promoting."[ citation needed ] (In contrast, PBS chose to broadcast The Making of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", which was made as a promotional exercise by the for-profit Paramount Pictures and Lucasfilm Ltd.) In 1987, WNYC-TV, the New York City-owned public television station, aired an updated version of the documentary, produced by filmmaker Bill Lichtenstein along with Schechter. The film included updates about the Sun City resort and apartheid as well as the success of the Sun City video. In addition to airing the documentary, WNYC-TV made the film available over the PBS system to public television stations across the country for broadcast.
The album and single raised more than a million U.S. dollars for anti-apartheid projects. It premiered at the United Nations, thanks to the Special Committee Against Apartheid and UN officers such as Aracelly Santana.[ citation needed ]
The record never achieved the financial success of "We Are the World," although Oliver Tambo and the ANC's school in Tanzania "was sure happy when we gave them a big check," according to Schechter.
In South Africa, "Sun City" would later inspire musician Johnny Clegg to create a local organization similar to Van Zandt's, and "Sun City" also became the catalyst for the South Africa Now TV series.
With the end of the apartheid regime in 1994 and the reintegration of Sun City and other former nominally-independent regions into the South African state, "Sun City" ceased to be a contemporary protest and became a historical document.
In 1997, the man who created Sun City, Sol Kerzner, came to the United States to build the Mohegan Sun, a Native American gambling casino.
Planet Rock: The Album is an old school hip hop album by Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force, released in 1986 as a collection of previous singles. The song "Planet Rock" was one of the earliest hits of the hip hop music genre and remains one of its pioneering recordings. The single's liner notes include members of Kraftwerk with the songwriting credits. In creating the track, portions of Kraftwerk's "Numbers" and "Trans-Europe Express" were interpolated, along with portions of songs by Captain Sky and Ennio Morricone.
Nona Hendryx, is an American vocalist, record producer, songwriter, musician, author, and actress.
The E Street Band is an American rock band, and has been musician Bruce Springsteen's primary backing band since 1972. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
"Renegades of Funk" is a song written by Afrika Bambaataa, Arthur Baker, John Miller & John Robie and recorded by Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force. Released in 1983 as a single on the Tommy Boy label, it was also included on the 1986 album Planet Rock: The Album. The song is an eclectic fusion of electronic music and heavy percussion, with politically fused hip hop lyrics that draw a connection between past revolutionaries and bohemians to present day street artists. It was produced and mixed by Arthur Baker and John Robie. Mastering was by Herb Powers Jr.. It was not until 1986 that the song appeared on Planet Rock: The Album.
Freedom – No Compromise is the third solo album by Little Steven released in 1987.
Underground Garage is the name shared by two related but different radio outlets, a syndicated show and a satellite radio station, both created and supervised by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt to present rock 'n' roll and garage rock on radio. Both outlets play a mixture of garage rock both old and new, and the music which influenced today's garage rock. On both the Sirius XM channel and on the syndicated show, one song is regularly proclaimed as "The Coolest Song in the World This Week."
Sun City was a 1985 album that contained several versions of the Steven Van Zandt-led Artists United Against Apartheid's "Sun City" protest song against apartheid in South Africa as well as other selections in the same vein from that project.
"Planet Rock" is a 1982 song by Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force. The song featured Marvella Murray, Yvette Murray, Melissa Johnson and Sandra Wheeler on additional background vocals. Although it was primarily an underground hit in the United States, Canada, and UK, it helped change the foundations of hip-hop and dance music and became one of the most influential pieces and a milestone and eventually an icon of the hip-hop, breakdance and electronic music cultures. It is credited with pioneering the genre and developing the electro style, building on the work of Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and George Clinton, combined with distinctive Roland TR-808 beats, and helped pave the way for other genres such as techno, house and trance. In November 2004, "Planet Rock" placed at number 240 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and number 10 in About.com's Top 100 Rap Songs. "Planet Rock" peaked at number four on the soul chart and number forty-eight on the Hot 100, and went to number three on the dance charts.
Jean Beauvoir is an American singer, bassist, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and entertainment executive.
Afrika Bambaataa is an American disc jockey, rapper, songwriter and producer from the South Bronx, New York. He is notable for releasing a series of genre-defining electro tracks in the 1980s that influenced the development of hip hop culture. Afrika Bambaataa is one of the originators of breakbeat DJing and is respectfully known as "The Godfather" and "Amen Ra of Hip Hop Kulture", as well as the father of electro-funk. Through his co-opting of the street gang the Black Spades into the music and culture-oriented Universal Zulu Nation, he has helped spread hip hop culture throughout the world. On May 6, 2016, Bambaataa left his position as head of The Zulu Nation due to multiple child sexual abuse allegations dating as far back as the 1970s.
John Robie is an American musician and record producer, widely credited as the driving force behind many of the most successful songs from the early 80's electro boom and is best known for his work with the New York record producer Arthur Baker. John Robie's songs are represented by Downtown Music Publishing.
This is a list of releases by Material.
On the Line is an album released by Gary U.S. Bonds in 1982, the second of two on which he collaborated with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, the first being Dedication, released the previous year, 1981.
The Born in the U.S.A. 12" Single Collection is a box set of 12" singles from the album Born in the U.S.A. by rock artist Bruce Springsteen. It was released in the UK in 1985 courtesy of CBS Records to help promote the Born in the U.S.A. album. It originally came with a poster of Springsteen and a bonus 7" single previously unreleased in the UK. It contains all the singles from Born in the U.S.A. except for "My Hometown" and "Born in the U.S.A.." All songs written by Bruce Springsteen and mixed by Bob Clearmountain except where noted.
The apartheid regime in South Africa began in 1948 and lasted until 1994. It involved a harsh system of racial segregation, and placed all political power in the hands of a white minority. Opposition to apartheid manifested in a variety of ways, including boycotts, non-violent protests, and armed resistance. Music played a large role in the movement against apartheid within South Africa, as well as in international opposition to apartheid. The impacts of songs opposing apartheid included raising awareness, generating support for the movement against apartheid, building unity within this movement, and "presenting an alternative vision of culture in a future democratic South Africa."
^ The More You Watch, The Less You Know by Danny Schechter