The first rappers to score a #1 album in America were the Beastie Boys. Long time proponents of social causes like Tibetan Independence and preventing violence against women, the Beasties yesterday announced concerts in battleground states later this month and early November leading up to Election Day, featuring Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, Crosby & Nash, Tenacious D and others.
Said the Beasties in an email blast yesterday, "we are going to do a few shows in hopes that we can remind people to vote. this election is too important, too much is at stake to stay at home. we hope that you can come out, have a nice night, dance, sing, get your freak on, and then wake up the next morning and get everyone that you possibly can to get out and vote....adam, mike & adam"
The 'Boys added in their announcement release "we are very excited about obama. hope you all feel the same."
Representatives from the Rock The Vote will be in attendance, continuing their massive youth-voter registration drive. The first three shows announced were:
Oct 28 Richmond, VA - Richmond Coliseum (holds 13,500)
Beastie Boys/Sheryl Crow/Jack Johnson/Norah Jones/Santogold
Nov 1 St. Paul, MN - Roy Wilkins Auditorium (holds 5,000)
Beastie Boys/Ben Harper/Tenacious D
Nov 2 Milwaukee, WI - U.S. Cellular Arena (holds 12,700)
Beastie Boys/Ben Harper/Crosby & Nash/Tenacious D
The Beastie Boys mini-tour signals one of the biggest artist-organized political events in recent times, joining the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, and Rage Against The Machine in outcry of neocon abuses.
Many believe that the corporatization of the music "industry" has curtailed the political outspokeness seen during the '60s now-romanticized Woodstock era. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young staged an anti-war tour in 2006 to sold-out audiences but were noticeably shut out from mainstream media coverage. Record labels owned by media conglomerations want musicians to keep their politics quiet, but where does the rockstar community stand on presidential endorsements?
The Rolling Stones 2006 album "A Bigger Bang" featured a song called "Sweet Neocon" which may have compromised their chances for national airplay, despite an otherwise great album and amazing single "Rough Justice" with Mick and Keith at the top of their game.
Foo Fighters and Heart have requested the McCain campaign refrain from using their songs ("There Goes My Hero" and "Barracuda" respectively), as have Van Halen, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Orleans and Franki Valli & The Four Seasons.
Grammy award winning albums by Green Day and The Dixie Chicks also spotlight the general anti-GOP/pro-Obama feeling in the air, but who has actually come out for Obama? How about Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Madonna, R.E.M., Joan Jett, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Roger Daltrey, Jay-Z, Bonnie Raitt, Nas, James Taylor, Kanye West, Coldplay, Ludacris, Lionel Richie, Dave Stewart, Carole King, Lenny Kravitz, Duran Duran, John Fogerty, Santana, Pete Seeger, Boston, Mariah Carey, Devo, John Mayer, Usher, Joan Baez, Herbie Hancock, Cyndi Lauper, P Diddy, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Faith Hill, The Goo Goo Dolls, Sonic Youth, Nancy Sinatra, Mark Knopfler, Alicia Keys, Kris Kristofferson, Wayne Kramer, Flipper, Dave Matthews, Slash, 50 Cent, Emmylou Harris, Ministry, Linda Ronstadt, Sum 41, Chris Cornell, Maroon 5, John Legend, Henry Rollins, Wilco, The Muffs, Mos Def, Jesse Malin, Pink, Ozomatli, The Descendents, NOFX, Macy Gray, The Offspring, Ne-Yo, Anti-Flag, Shakira, Wyclef Jean, The Breeders, Chris Brown, Joss Stone, Randy Newman, 'Keb 'Mo, Barbra Streisand, Will Smith, Belinda Carlisle, Ani DiFranco, Mavis Staples, Susanna Hoffs, Chuck D, My Morning Jacket, Celine Dion, George Clinton, Seal, Bette Midler, Rufus Wainwright, Merle Haggard, k.d. lang, Bruce Hornsby, Steve Earle, BeBe Winans, Black Eyed Peas, Bright Eyes, Tears For Fears, Branford Marsalis, Stanley Jordan, Peter Yarrow, Superchunk, The (living and) Dead Kennedys and many more including the surviving members of Nirvana.