Twenty years ago today I was in my office in downtown Pittsburgh at work. I remember someone coming over to my desk to tell me what was happening. I recall then thinking “This can’t be real.” but sadly it was all to true. I called home and told my wife of the time to pick my daughter up from school and drive to my parent’s house. At that point I had to clue what the day had to bring. When I left work later that day, Pittsburgh was eerily quiet. The normal traffic of a weekday was non-existent, as most people had already driven home. The normal jet trails seen in the sky from planes flying into the airport were not to be seen as all flights had been grounded. All of us alive that day have similar memories of that day. There are many ways that people are remembering that day, but in the vein of my series, I thought it only appropriate to talk about that day’s effect on music.
September 11, 2001 fell on a Tuesday, which also happens to be record release day. As with every other Tuesday, there were records released like every other Tuesday. Nickelback, Slayer, P.O.D, Bob Dylan and Jay-Z were just a handful of the artists with releases. It seemed an ironic coincidence that Slayer’s album title was ‘God Hates Us All’. I’m sure to many people that day, it probably seemed that way. From the families of the thousands of people that lost their lives, to those of us watching in fear from afar, life took a turn from what anyone expected a day earlier. But the people of the United States, and in some cases the world came together in a way not seen in a long time.
Musicians expressed their emotions the way they always do. Paradigm Blue, wrote, recorded and released a song, “Bravado (9/11 Tribute)”, on the same day as the 9/11 attacks. Before you think that it was quick money making scheme, the single was never sold and is still available for free download.
Bruce Springsteen released an album in 2002, “The Rising”, that most of the tracks are stories about that fateful day. I hadn’t realized just how many songs were released about that day until I started this article. As I always do, I put together a playlist of these songs and stopped when the playlist went over 60. Being that there was so many, I didn’t listen to every one before I wrote this article. So if there is a song in the playlist you don’t think belongs, I used this article as my source. If you’re like me, your jaw probably hit the ground at that number. Artists of every genre from rock, country, metal, Christian, rap and more have released a song about that day. Some are songs of sadness, some songs of protests and some songs made an attempt to rally America together.
I hope you enjoy your weekend. I ask that you take a moment to remember those that died that day and those families who still hurt after all these years. I pray that America finds a way to unite again like we did through that tragedy and as years go by, may we never forget.