Stand and Be Counted: Making Music, Making History: The Dramatic Story of the Artists and Causes That Changed Americaby David Crosby, David Bender
"NOBODY KIDS THEMSELVES INTO BELIEVING THAT THEY CAN SOLVE THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS. WE'RE JUST TRYING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, TO CHANGE THINGS FOR THE BETTER WHEREVER WE CAN. AND IF IT TAKES A LONG PUSH, THEN WE'RE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL. A LOT OF TIMES THIS ISN'T ABOUT THE GENIUS OF THE MOMENT. IT'S ABOUT PERSISTENCE. IT'S ABOUT BEING IN THERE AND
"NOBODY KIDS THEMSELVES INTO BELIEVING THAT THEY CAN SOLVE THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS. WE'RE JUST TRYING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, TO CHANGE THINGS FOR THE BETTER WHEREVER WE CAN. AND IF IT TAKES A LONG PUSH, THEN WE'RE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL. A LOT OF TIMES THIS ISN'T ABOUT THE GENIUS OF THE MOMENT. IT'S ABOUT PERSISTENCE. IT'S ABOUT BEING IN THERE AND STAYING IN THERE."
Since the early sixties, musicians have put themselves on the line for the causes they believed in, raising public awareness about important issues through songs, rallies, and benefit events. For more than thirty years, musician David Crosby has been one of rock 'n' roll's most outspoken voices for social change. in Stand and Be Counted, he and coauthor David Bender recount the stories of the artists who made a difference and the passionate convictions that moved them. Crosby's personal participation and his friendships with many of the artists involved give readers a behind-the-scenes look at events from the civil rights marches and antiwar moratoriums of the sixties, to the antinuclear events of the seventies, to Live Aid and the Amnesty International events of the eightiesright up to the Tibetan Freedom concerts of today.
This compelling story includes new interviews with such diverse artists as Harry Belafonte, Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Yauch, Phil Collins, Robin Williams, Eddie Vedder, Joan Baez, and Jimmy Buffett. Poignant and inspirational, Stand and Be Counted is an unforgettable document of the history of activism in late twentieth-century America.
- HarperCollins Publishers
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- 6.43(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.98(d)
Read an Excerpt
Before you turn the page and begin reading, let me say two things right up front. The first is that Stand and Be Counted is not about me. Although these stories of activism are told from my perspective, that fact is not meant to imply anything more than the truth which is that I've been privileged to witness some amazing, even pivotal, musical events. I played at some of them myself; the rest I've done my best to describe based on the accounts of artists and others who were there.
The second thing I need to say is that this book does not, pretend to be a history text. It would be impossible to recount fully the whole scope of artist activism in this country, let alone the world. Whether it's Jackson Browne's annual benefit concerts for the Verde Valley School to fund scholarships for Native American students, or Mimi Farina's Bread & Roses events that support her organization's work with shut-ins, the disabled, and prisoners, or Paul Simon's Children's Health Fund that provides mobile health services to impoverished kids, or Billy Joel's work on behalf of the Long Island fishermen, or Pete Seeger's sloop, the Clearwater, which sails the Hudson River as a floating classroom on environmental protection, the list of artists and their commitments is as long as you want to make it. Because of the constraints of space, I must apologize in advance for having to leave out many important efforts. Rather than attempting to list every event and every concert, I've included stories that are meant to give a sense of the wide range of activism in which artists are involved. Sometimes well-chosen stories can provide more insight into a subject than a perfectly detailed chronology.And speaking of chronology, the narrative of Stand and Be Counted will occasionally jump around in time because I felt it was more important to follow the people and the story than the calendar.
The purpose of Stand and Be Counted is to convey an ethic. It is my hope that the stories of these great events-the marches, the rallies, the benefit concertswill offer a glimpse of where that ethic of activism came from, how it's grown over the years, what it's accomplished, and how it's been transmitted down the line. And I want to show how it affects the lives of those who try to live by it.
A final note: while Stand and Be Counted has been written in my voice, that voice is actually a composite of two people, myself and my friend and coauthor, David Bender. From volunteering as a twelve-year-old to work on Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign, to marching in the moratoriums against the war, to producing many benefit events himself, David has been a dedicated activist for over thirty years. As much as mine, his insights and experiences inform the narrative of this book.
All of my life I've been thrilled by people being courageous. That's always been a thing that really excited me. When I became conscious of the fact that people were standing up against the system, standing up against injustice, that there were people who would fight for what they believed in, it aroused in me a great need to know.
I wanted to know, why they did it. I understood the emotional desire to be courageous. I felt that. But I wanted to know how they got to there. Did someone teach them? Is it a thing that just occurs? Is it spontaneous combustion? What puts a person in the path of oncoming evil, standing there courageously saying, "No, I will not submit." What does that? I asked a lot of my friends, which is what I do. I asked my friend David Bender and he and I started to think about writing a book.
Taking a stand shows a depth of character and a generosity of spirit. It shows the quality in human beings that makes me proud to be one. And that's really what we're after here.
We'll follow people. We'll witness tales of tragedy and tales of courage. And we'll try to give you a feeling for how this all came about. When you get done reading this you'll know that Pete Seeger is a national treasure, and that every single musician in this entire country was affected by him, all of us, every single one.
You'll also realize that if we had any smarts at all, we would have run Harry Belafonte for president years ago, just because he's brilliant and lucid and he's a walking history book. And he has more dignity than any human being I've ever met. Hopefully you'll also get a glimpse into something else. There isn't an instruction booklet for any of this. There isn't a manual of how to become an activist. We learn it by watching people we admire stand up for what they believe in.
Musicians rightfully are entertainers. Our main job is to make you feel good, make you feel something, make you feel. That's really, what we do. But there's another, older part of our job that comes from the tradition of the troubadours. We're sort of the town criers, the "twelve o'clock and all is well" kind of guys. Or maybe it's 11:30and things aren't so damn good.
We've been carrying those messages for hundreds of years. It's a very tricky balance. First of all you have to be very careful. You have to have your information right. And you can't preach. It just won't work. But you can focus people's attention on issues and ideas; and we've learned that you can use music to gather people together for a cause.
Meet the Author
David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young is a pioneering musician and twotime inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the founding member of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, and Nash. He coauthored the bestselling Long Time Gone.
David Bender is a founding contributing editor of George magazine. A longtime political activist and benefit producer, he is also the author of a novel, The Confession of 0.J. Simpson: A Work of Fiction.
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