Most radio stations simulcast news after terrorists attacks in America bring down the World Trade Center. Music proves vital when the healing begins.
Tuesdays are when new music is released, but that’s the last thing on anyone’s mind as America copes with the tragedy. Among the albums issued on this fateful day: Jay Z – The Blueprint Mariah Carey – Glitter Nickelback – Silver Side Up Bob Dylan – Love and Theft P.O.D. – Satellite Ben Folds – Rockin’ The Suburbs Mick Jagger – Goddess in the Doorway Slayer – God Hates Us All.
There is also a live album by Dream Theater called Live Scenes From New York that shows the twin towers inside a ring of fire – that image is quickly replaced. Janet Jackson, Madonna and Aerosmith are among the artists canceling concerts. In Tuscany, Sting goes ahead with an intimate concert that becomes the live album All This Time. In the aftermath, music becomes part of the healing process, comforting many who have been immersed in the news cycle, trying to make sense of the tragedy.
A number of benefit concerts take place, including America: A Tribute to Heroes, which is simulcast on all four major networks September 21, 2001. Bruce Springsteen plays “My City Of Ruins”; Billy Joel does “New York State Of Mind.” Paul Simon, who was raised in New York City, performs “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the Simon & Garfunkel classic about finding the strength to make it through difficult times.
On October 20, there’s The Concert for New York City in Madison Square Garden, with performances by The Who, Jay Z, James Taylor and David Bowie, who opens the show with a rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America.” Various celebrities also appear, including Spike Lee, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Meg Ryan, and Jimmy Fallon.
Paul McCartney ends the show with a new song he wrote for the occasion called “Freedom.” A spate of songs directly inspired by the attacks are released over the next few years. Springsteen’s album The Rising, specifically the title track, deals with resilience through unity; Sarah McLachlan’s “World On Fire” captures the frustrations individuals feel when faced with such horrors; Neil Young’s “Let’s Roll” is about the passengers aboard Flight 93 who fought the hijackers, forcing the plane to crash before it could hit its intended target.
Songs of hope and unity offer comfort to many listeners, but the events of September 11 have little impact on the charts. A month later, the top of the Hot 100 looks like this: #1: “Fallin'” – Alicia Keys #2: “I’m Real” – Jennifer Lopez #3: “Where The Party At” – Jagged Edge with Nelly #4: “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)” – Blu Cantrell #5: “Family Affair” – Mary J. Blige.