Why This Song:
Movements sing, and thus singers are regularly on the front lines of protest and social movements. However, there is one especially unique protest song written by Steven Van Zandt about Nelson Mandela and apartheid in South Africa. The song was recorded by Artists United Against Apartheid, a collective of famous rock and rap musicians, all of whom voiced how they were not going to play Sun City—a then segregated casino-resort in South Africa frequented by the biggest stars of the day. Thus, like many musicians (including many noted on this site) these artists sang about a social issue; however this song is also unique because in addition to promoting a cause with music, these artists openly declared a united front in the boycotting of South Africa in their song. Quite ironically, the U.S. version of this song that is critical of the South African government censored the verse where Joey Ramone criticized Ronald Regan’s support of the apartheid regime.
Submitted By: Jason Eastman