Artists United Against Apartheid was a 1985 protest group founded by activist and performer Steven Van Zandt and record producer Arthur Baker to protest apartheid in South Africa. The group produced the song “Sun City” and the album Sun City that year.
Artist: Artists United Against Apartheid
Title: Sun City
Label: Manhattan Records
Catalog# 1C 064-2404671
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.”
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, Lotti Golden, Lakshminarayana Shankar and Joey Ramone.
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.
1. Artists United Against Apartheid (feat. Zak Starkey, Ringo Starr) – Sun City (7:26)
2. Peter Gabriel and L. Shankar – No More Apartheid (7:07)
3. Rap Artists From Artists United Against Apartheid – Revolutionary Situation (6:07)
1. Artists United Against Apartheid – Sun City (Version II) (5:42)
2. Rap and Jazz Artists From Artists United Against Apartheid (feat. Gil Scott-Heron, Miles Davis,
Grandmaster Melle Mel, Peter Wolf, Sonny Okosuns, Malopoets, Duke Bootee, Ray Baretto,
Peter Garrett) – Let Me See Your I.D. (7:29)
3. Jazz Artists From Artists United Against Apartheid (feat. Miles Davis, Stanley Jordan, Herbie
Hancock, Sonny Okosuns, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Richard Scher) – The Struggle Continues (7:01)
4. Bono with Keith Richards and Ron Wood – Silver and Gold (4:41)