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Simmons Unites Anti-War Stars

Lou Reed, Jay-Z, Dave, Missy, others join alliance

February 28, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Russell Simmons, Lou Reed and David Byrne were among the artists on hand in New York yesterday to announce the formation of Musicians United to Win Without War, an industry-wide peace alliance. Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, Outkast, Busta Rhymes, Roseanne Cash and Tweet are among the other members of the group, which will use its public platform to support weapons inspections, as opposed to invasion and occupation, as a means to resolve the conflict with Iraq.

The group took out several ads in the country's major newspapers this week. Members will also work in conjunction with social organizations like the Sierra Club, the NAACP and NOW, as well as the film-industry analog, Artists United to Win Without War, to enhance public awareness of the complex issues that make up the conflict.

Along with the rapper Mos Def, Simmons, head of Def Jam and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, has also recorded two thirty-second TV spots attacking the Bush administration's policies in the Middle East.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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