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Week in Rock History: Members of Lynyrd Skynyrd Die in Plane Crash

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October 20, 2001: Paul McCartney organizes the Concert for New York City
After the September 11 attacks, New York found a passionate advocate in Paul McCartney, who organized the star-studded Concert for New York City in just six weeks.

The five-hour benefit show, held at Madison Square Garden, raised over $35 million for victims' families and honored the first responders from the New York fire and police departments. It was an enormous endeavor: musical performers included McCartney, David Bowie, Bon Jovi, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Destiny's Child and many more. Numerous prominent politicians made speeches, including Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, and local filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Spike Lee aired short works.

The Madison Square Garden crowd was an extremely emotional one; members held up photos of slain family members, and booed some speakers (including actor Richard Gere for advocating pacifism). 

In 2004, Rolling Stone named the Concert for New York City as one of the 50 moments that changed rock and roll.

October 16, 2006: CBGBs closes
The famously decrepit New York rock club CBGBs – once the formative stomping grounds of Patti Smith, Blondie and the Ramones — shut its doors in 2006 after three decades of noise.

Established in 1973 by owner Hilly Kristal, CBGB's was a small, flyer-pasted den in the East Village of Manhattan that came to embody the spirits of American New Wave and  punk in the 1970s and hardcore in the 1980s. Kristal attempted to secure historic landmark status for the club in 2005 after its landlord billed him with almost $100,000 of back rent that he couldn't afford. He died in 2007 at age 75.

The final week of CBGB's featured sentimental shows by Bad Brains, Blondie and the Bouncing Souls. The final performer on the CBGBs stage was also an old friend: Patti Smith, whose seven-week residency there in 1975 is still considered a defining moment for the club and for New York rock itself. In her farewell set, Smith snapped a photo from the stage and told the crowd, "CBGBs is a state of mind."

 

LAST WEEK: Keith Moon Dies

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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