Lyricapsule: The ‘No Nukes’ Concert; September 19, 1979

September 19th, 2014: As seen on Archive (PDF)


One of those rare moments when people actually understand the power that they have over political action, a few hundred thousand people converged upon Madison Square Garden on this day in 1979, and the next four days, to rally ’round the notion that the future of the world’s existence would be better off without nuclear energy. Billed under the Musicians United for Safe Energy collective as “No Nukes: The Muse Concerts For a Non-Nuclear Future,” key organizer Jackson Browne would later remark on an interview for the film version, “I’m a citizen of the free world. That’s what I am. And I have a right to know why my life is being endangered by someone’s profit motive.”

Soundtracking the event were a plethora of folk and rock heavyweights, but one of the night’s most tangible moment came when James TaylorCarly SimonJohn Hall and Graham Nash harmonized on a cover of one of Dylan‘s most threateningly perfect bright acoustic gems, “The Times They Are-a-Changin’,” cut to a mere 1:45 of its original length, yet calculated to burst right on its new opening verse:

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

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