15 Feel-Good Rock n’ Roll Stories Of 2020
via Good Morning America/YouTube
The Bright Side
2020 has been quite challenging and at times, exhausting. If somebody told us that we’d spend most of this year cooped up in our homes, unable to go where we want when we want, and with the constant fear of catching the virus each time we leave the house, we probably wouldn’t have believed them. The pandemic has altered our lives in ways we cannot even begin to count. But like in everything else, there’s always a brighter side and in this case, we looked to rock ‘n roll to help us overcome these trying times.
Here are fifteen times rock music and artists became the bright spots of 2020:
15. When Dave Mustaine told Forbes that he sought the advice of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson because the latter once fought off throat cancer. Mustaine said, “After I was diagnosed with it, I thought, “I want to call Bruce,” it’s not like I have a whole Rolodex of rock friends that sing heavy metal music that have throat cancer, [laughs] so my choices were limited. I was pretty proud of Bruce after speaking with him. Although we’re not super close, I consider him to be someone I look up to. He basically told me the same thing I just told you: surround yourself with good, upbeat, positive people, places and things and try not to cause any unnecessary stress on yourself. When you’re a frontman in one of the biggest bands in the galaxy, you don’t really have to tolerate the frontman of the other bands very much, but he’s always been super kind to me and very, I don’t want to say “gentlemanly,” because I don’t want anyone to think that he’s not a bad motherf***er!”
14. When Joe Walsh reached out to Los Angeles radio station KCSN and offered to host a weekly program to “generate some more listeners and support for the station.” Walsh also explained, “I like that men with ties don’t decide what I listen to. My show will be a mixture of music I love, music I think people will want to hear and stories behind some of these songs that I’m pretty sure no one knows about.”
13. When the Neil Peart-narrated short film titled “Growth Rings” was released months after his death. It “honors the way in which music marks moments in our lives.”
12. When an Italian musician named Marco Di Marco played “We Will Rock You” from his balcony to entertain his neighbors during lockdown.
11. When Neil Finn enlisted the help of Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie for the song “Find Your Way Back Home” which benefitted his hometown’s homeless shelter Auckland City Mission.
10. When musicians came together to raise money to help those affected by the pandemic.
9. When Metallica filmed a concert and played it at drive-in movie theaters across US and Canada. At one point, frontman James Hetfield told the viewers: “Music helps us through all things… including this [pandemic].”
8. When Queen’s Brian May shared a “Bohemian Rhapsody” guitar tutorial on Instagram.
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7. When the United States Army Band paid tribute to Rush drummer Neil Peart. SFC Tim Whalen, who’s a huge Rush fan, said: “I wanted to showcase the deep humanity he had in his writing. The song is about life moving too fast, due to both things we can control and things we can’t, and the desire to hold onto something just a little longer. This is such a universal message, whether it be children growing up too fast, a loved one dying, or a soldier leaving home wondering if they’ll ever see their family again.”
6. When Def Leppard’s Rick Allen was voted by Music Radar readers as the “Best Rock Drummer In The World” and he also recently told Modern Drummer, “And then I started getting these letters from all over the world… I got encouragement from everywhere — from my family, from the guys [in the band], from people all over the world. And I don’t know what happened, but I discovered the power of the human spirit and just said, ‘You know what? I can do this.’ It was really a collective thing. It was all this encouragement I was getting from other people, and then it just manifested in wanting to succeed. And that’s exactly where it came from.”
5. When Queen + Adam Lambert replicated the band’s legendary 1985 Live Aid set for their Australia Fire Fight Benefit show.
4. When Jon Bon Jovi opted to cancel their tour instead of moving the dates so fans can get their refunds “to help pay their bills or buy groceries”.
3. When AC/DC’s Brian Johnson told fans, “You stuck with us through thick and thin, and we’ll never forget it. We never will. And when this is all over, guys – when this crap is over – we want to see you in your hometown. We’ll try everything we can to get there, play for you live and play these great tunes.”
2. When Lindsey Buckingham streamed a 45-minute concert – his first public performance since his 2019 open-heart surgery. After acknowledging how this has been “a difficult year”, he said: “All I can say is that I truly believe that what’s coming in the next few years is going to make total sense out of what has been, and it’s going to be very healing for all of us.”
1. When the New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital played Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” upon discharge of recovered COVID-19 patients.