PoliticsThursday 05.05.22

Bob Crawford on the Benefit Concerts That Changed the World

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John Heilemann talks with Bob Crawford, bassist for The Avett Brothers and creator of Concerts of Change: The Soundtrack of Human Rights, a new audio docu-series on SiriusXM. Through conversations with artists including U2's Bono, Bob Geldof, and Joan Baez, historian Douglas Brinkley, and civil rights icon Andrew Young, Crawford explores the surge in humanitarian and political activism by musicians -- particularly focused on Africa -- in the seventies and eighties. Heilemann and Crawford discuss the rise of star-studded benefit shows from George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh to Live Aid; the genesis and behind-the-scenes stories of the chart-topping charity singles “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “We Are The World”; the singular influence of Geldof in launching Band Aid and Live Aid; the role played by Steven Van Zandt’s “Sun City” in ending apartheid in South Africa; and how Bono institutionalized his activist impulses to help combat poverty and AIDS in Africa. They also reflect on Crawford’s career with The Avett Brothers, and how his daughter Hallie’s battle with cancer changed him and his band.

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