1985 – Live Aid

Live Aid was, on the face of it, impossible. The technology for the sort of hook ups that were needed was unreliable. And the idea that so many musicians could put aside their egos, for any cause no matter how good, seemed more than mildly implausible.

But it did come together. At two major concerts in London and Philadelphia, and several smaller ones in Sydney, Moscow, Cologne and The Hague, almost every musician currently working – and several who weren’t – played. Several bands reunited especially for the effort.

The concerts were broadcast around the world to an estimated audience of 400 million people, in addition to the more than 200,000 who attended the various concerts. A total of 150 million British pounds were raised directly by the concerts.

Referenced in:

The Tide Is Turning – Roger Waters

1989 – China declares martial law in response to the Tiananmen Square protests

Inspired by, among other things, the fall of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, approximately 100,000 Chinese protestors, many of them students, occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing for several weeks beginning on April 14, 1989.

In what can only be described as a massive over-reaction, the government of the People’s Republic of China declared martial law and sent in tanks and infantry to disperse the protestors. The army was delayed by other protestors, but on June 3, they reached the Square.

What followed has often, and not inaccurately, been labelled a massacre. Due to the government’s highly efficient censorship, an accurate death toll has never been released, and even today the incident officially did not occur. Unofficially, a number that has been variously estimated as between 140 and 7000 people died in the protests, and hundreds more were injured, all in an attempt to win rights that the majority of people reading this blog take for granted.

Referenced in:

China – Joan Baez
Blood Red – Slayer
Tin Omen – Skinny Puppy
Watching TV – Roger Waters
Hypnotize – System of a Down
Seven Days in May – Testament
The Tiananmen Man – Nevermore
We Didn’t Start the Fire – Billy Joel
The King of Sunset Town – Marillion
Tiananmen Square – Chumbawumba
Black Boys on Mopeds – Sinéad O’Connor
The Ghost in You – Siouxsie and the Banshees