Chapter summaries
Chapter resources
     Chapter 1
     Chapter 2
     Chapter 3
     Chapter 4
     Chapter 5
     Chapter 6
          Books and Articles
     Chapter 7
     Chapter 8
     Chapter 9
     Chapter 10
     Bonus Chapter

Bonus chapter
About the author


Resources for Learning More about Social Movements and Culture

Chapter 6. “We Are [Not] the World”: Famine, Apartheid, and the Politics of Rock Music

Books and Articles

Clayton, Martin, Trevor Herbert, and Richard Middleton, eds. The Cultural Study of Music. New York: Routledge, 2003. Wide-ranging anthology for advanced study. See especially essays by Herbert, Titon, Stokes, and Laing.

Deneslow, Robin. When the Music’s Over: The Story of Political Pop. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1989. Readable general survey that places Live Aid and other agit-pop events in the context of a longer history of pop music politics.

Frith, Simon, ed. World Music, Politics, and Social Change. London: University of Manchester Press, 1989. Rich study of the complexity of music moving across national lines to shape social change.

Garofalo, Reebee. ed. Rockin’ the Boat: Mass Music and Mass Movements. Boston: South End Press, 1992. Best collection of essays on political pop music and benefit rock.

Geldof, Bob, with Paul Vallely. Is That It? New York: Weidenfield and Nicholson, 1986. Live Aid founder’s reflections on the power and limits of the Live Aid concert and subsequent work on the famine.

Hall, Stuart. The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left. New York: Verso, 1988. Includes some of the most trenchant work on the cultural politics of the 1980s in the United Kingdom and the United States, including the “benefit rock” phenomenon.

Jameson, Fredric. “Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture.” Social Text 1 (1979): 130–48. Remains a key text for understanding the relation between commercialism and social change in mass culture.

Marsh, Dave. Sun City: The Making of a Record. New York: Vintage-Penguin, 1985.

Omi, Michael. “A Positive Noise: The Charity Rock Phenomenon.” Socialist Review 16, no. 2 (1986): 107–14.

Peace, R. C. A Just and Lasting Peace: The U.S. Peace Movement from the Cold War to Desert Storm. Chicago: Noble Press, 1991. Includes chapters on the Central American solidarity and anti-apartheid movements.

Smith, Christian. Resisting Reagan: The U.S. Central America Peace Movement. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. Fine detailed study of the “solidarity movements” of the 1980s.

Üllestad, Neal. “Rock and Rebellion: Subversive Effects of ‘Live Aid’ and ‘Sun City.’” Popular Music 6, no. 1 (1987): 67–76. Thoughtful comparison of these two key events.

Vellela, Tony. New Voices: Student Activism in the ’80s and ’90s. Boston: South End Press, 1988. Includes useful analysis of the anti-apartheid movement in the United States.

Weinstein, Deena. “The Amnesty International Tour: Transnationalism as Cultural Commodity.” Public Culture 1, no. 2 (1989): 60–65. Challenges the self-congratulatory nature of much benefit rock promotion.


Artists United Against Apartheid. Sun City. Manhattan/Capitol Records EP ST53109, 1985.

Live Aid. Warner Bros./Elektra/Atlantic DVD, 2004 [1985]. Four-DVD set with more than ten hours of concert footage.

Making of “Sun City.” Karl-Lorimar home video. VHS, 1986.

United Support of Artists for Africa. We Are the World. Columbia Records 40043, 1985.


Everyday I Write the Book: A Bibliography of (Mostly) Academic Work on Rock and Pop Music. Gilbert Rodman’s very extensive bibliography on the study of popular music.

Farm Aid. One of the key, ongoing movements to spin off of the Live Aid phenomenon.

Live Aid. Excellent Wikipedia article on the concert.

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