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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
The Spirit of Music Binds Everyone; The Foundation of the 20th Century Music. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 27, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIX BROOKS, MUSICAL ARTIST: I have no idea what's going on but our world will never be the same.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terror strikes today at this country, its people.
BILLY JOEL, SINGER-SONGWRITER: I put a fireman's helmet on the piano. If I didn't have that I might have just lost it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Didn't matter what color you wore, what religion, you were all the same that day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can hear you, the rest of the world.
RICHARD GOLDSTEIN, JOURNALIST: The music that came out of 9/11 is bifurcated as the politics of the country were.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America strikes back. Now sing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the music that carries our history, it's that carries our emotion. It's the music that transports us back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tear down this wall!
This is how we remember history. This is how we put it into context.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To look at history through the lens of music is a powerful way to see the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is 64 degrees at 8.40 on this Tuesday, September 11th. And here's what's happening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plenty of sunshine today. Lower humidity than recently the high 80, dropping to 60 tonight. Up to 78 with sunshine tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all had a fantastic week. You know, beautiful. Suddenly, you know, this news came into the thing that two planes had crashed into the Twin Towers and it just seemed so unlikely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two planes, one hitting each of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember I watched the TV and there was this
madness, like our world had suddenly just gone crazy. Your most apocalyptic nightmare had come to pass, you know?
JASON KING, MUSIC WRITER: On 9/11, Sting is performing a show in Italy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world has changed in the last two hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a question about whether he should continue to go on, whether it's appropriate to play a concert on an evening like this. He and his band make a decision to come out and perform fragile.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In some ways, that was a perfect song to sing where the sentimental aspect of it rubs against the power of that lyric to talk about violence and the fragility of human life.
DAN RATHER, JOURNALIST: When you have this kind of emotional earthquake, this kind of hammer to the heart, if you're a professional, you have to suppress that. You have to push all of that down, out of you.
Four U.S. commercial jetliners were hijacked. Two crashed into the World Trade Center here New York City and sent the giant Twin Towers filled with workers crumbling to the ground.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: People who followed national security weren't all that surprised there had been an attack on American soil.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have any inkling at all in any way that something of this nature and something of this scope might be planned?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlie, we don't discuss intelligence.
KRISTOF: People knew that such a thing might be possible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are, quote, "good indications that people with links to the Osama Bin Laden organization...
KRISTOF: But it's different to have intellectual awareness and to see lower Manhattan in flames.
GARY SMILEY, NYFD PARAMEDIC: I was blown down the street by the impact of the building. I was blown underneath a truck, one of the fire apparatus and that was it. You know, I was a single dad. I was raising a daughter. So I was so angry because I said I just got myself killed.
[22:05:03] About two hours later, I was found by a firefighter. I started to panic and crawl my way out of it. I mean, we didn't know where we were.
BRENDA BERKMAN, FIREFIGHTER: Then we went back up to the firehouse and it was then that I discovered that, you know, firefighters and officers from my own firehouse were missing.
GOLDSTEIN: A lot of us, it just entered the imagination as a film before we came to terms with what it was in reality. I think it wasn't until I passed the firehouse in my neighborhood and saw the wreaths people were already laying flowers, that I realized the human scale of this.
BRUCE SPRINSGTEEN, SINGER: I was trying to describe the most powerful images of the 11th, some of the people coming down talked about the emergency workers who were ascending. That image to me was just what -- was an image I just felt left with.
Those guys going up the stairs, up the stairs, ascending, ascending. People forget, people are brave. People are brave.
RANDY JACKSON, BASSIST: Somebody has to put this into words and emotion for everyone to hear. We felt because we all do the earth move and I think that compelled him to write such an amazing moving song.
GOLDSTEIN: That's a very, very beautiful album. You know, that's a living eulogy.
SMILEY: But what he did was, you know, exceptional. An artist of his caliber to dedicate an entire album to supporting the country and, you know, to rise up from what they did to us, you know, that's important.
CHRIS WILLMAN, JOURNALIST: Incredible sense of tragedy on that album "The Rising." It also obviously uplift a hard-fought realism type of uplift and continually acknowledging those who were absent, not letting us forget them.
SPRINGSTEEN: What you were thinking in the way you were writing was contextualized by a new experience and simply writing in a new world, you're living in a new world. The world was very different.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And tonight, lower Manhattan, the financial center of the world lies in ruins.
RATHER: We were in deep grief and why wouldn't we be but almost 3,000 people killed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Except for a few sirens, I have never heard New York City this quiet. Graveyard quiet.
RATHER: At the same time, outrage and a determination to do something.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROOKS: I just looked at my wife and said, I have no idea what's going on but our world will never be the same.
[22:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The honors for the heroes of September 11th took a musical turn on Saturday. It was 6-hour magical night of music headlined by Paul McCartney and other artists to benefit all of those...
BROOKS: Whether sports teams, musicians, if you were in the entertainment business, everyone was trying to figure out what's the right thing to do.
WILLMAN: We came up with a list of music to help you through the tragedy. We didn't follow anything quite that cliche but that was the idea that, you know, that we're going to give you a play list of kind of soulful songs that will help you really work through your emotions on this.
JOEL: Thank you New York City!
RICHARD PICCIOTTO, FDNY CHIEF: I was at Madison Square Garden. The best concert ever in the world.
JOEL: We are not going anywhere.
We played for an audience largely made up of police and firemen and emergency rescue workers and they needed a boost.
(BILLY JOEL PERFORMING)
We played New York State of Mind and we played it very slow. It was like a dirge And I remember thinking, don't -- don't lose it. I put a fireman's helmet on the piano just to help me concentrate. Because if I didn't have that, I might have just lost it.
It means a different thing than it used to mean to the audiences. It is kind of an anthem for New York City. I didn't think that when I wrote it.
It was just a love song to the city, but it became something else. And again.
SMILEY: When I was at Madison Square Garden when I was there for the concert for New York, I mean, that was just so cool. A happy day in a time when there wasn't a lot of that. I mean, there wasn't a lot of happiness. I mean, I don't remember the holidays. I don't remember a lot of things that went on.
I mean, that was one of the things that I do remember. It was just an enormous opportunity to at least have a nice time for a few hours and just forget about, you know, what was going down 30, 40 blocks down where it was, you know, where it was an ongoing nightmare.
[22:15:07] RATHER: The aftermath of 9/11 for a while, everybody was in it together. BROOKS: It was just a time for Americans to realize what mattered. It
was north, south, east and west. We were all Americans for a while there.
KRISTOF: After 9/11, there was a deeply perceived sense of peril that more terrible things might happen and I think faced with a catastrophe of lower Manhattan and of the Pentagon, people were rallying around the president.
There was a sense that we were facing a common threat and we're going to fight it together. On the other hand, there were actions taken in the case of violating civil liberties, infringement of rights of Muslims in particular.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the ugliest crises is home grown, the surge of intolerance than hate crimes against Muslims and people who are mistaken for them.
KING: At that time, there was already anti-Muslim sentiment. There was already this sort of xenophobia, there were ideas about recrimination and revenge.
Two weeks after 9/11, Nile Rodgers, the great producer and songwriter decided to gather together some of his friends who happened to be super celebrities in the world of music to record his classic song "We are Family."
KATHY SLEDGE, SINGER: There are so many people that came together. Everyone from Eartha Kitt to Diana Ross to Patti LaBelle. The message was, we are more family than ever now. We have to embrace because we are all in this together.
NILE RODGERS, SINGER: Three or four of my friends were in the first plane that was crashed into the north tower. After that happened, things started to unravel very quickly. So I started getting phone calls from all around the world.
When I re-recorded "We are Family," I didn't want it to be like we are the world just famous rock stars, so I got Broadway stars, rock stars, sports stars and I also got doctors and triage workers and firefighters and police and -- just everybody who was involved in the effort.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone came together. It didn't matter what color you were. It didn't matter what religion. You were all the same that day.
SLEDGE: Of course, it was the reason I've written about these sisters, this family but it became everyone's family song and then it became everyone's global song and it has no color. Tears have no color. At the end of the day, we're all going through this.
KING: With Nile Rodgers, it was such an intervention because it was celebrating multiculturalism, diversity, a plurality of voices rather than saying some voices matter and some don't.
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The '90s seemed to be this extraordinary time because, you know, the Cold War had ended.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has the economy changed for good like a marathoner kicking into sprint? The higher the NASDAQ climbed, the faster it went.
KURT ANDERSEN, JOURNALIST: The economy seemed to be going well and we had this decade of, things are good.
RONNIE DUNN, SINGER-SONGWRITER: The early 90's all of a sudden the country music became big arena, it was stadium kind of stuff. The music was around, dancing and going out to clubs and having a good time and.
BROOKS: We a tour called the neon circus. We ran for a few years. We had fire breathers and had guys on stilts and bucket machines and it was full-blown entertainment, a lot of nonsense and a lot of great music.
ANDERSEN: It just seemed like if this is the end of history, this is fun, which all set up for 9/11 to be all the more shocking and awful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a report now that a large plane crashed this morning in Western Pennsylvania not too terribly far from Pittsburgh.
BROOKS: As fate would have it, our next show three or four days after 9/11 happened was in Pennsylvania and it was only a few miles from where that plane went down.
DUNN: Very specifically I remember calling my manager up and saying I think it's inappropriate for us to go up there with boot scoot boogie. It doesn't feel right. The manager called back and said, well, tickets are selling like mad. People are coming out so you're going to need to be there.
BROOKS: But then about an hour before the show went on, it dawned on me, we were opening our show at that time with "Only in America." It was just become in a hit and the first words of the song were sun coming up over New York City.
Before we hit the first note, you could hear a pin drop. And then it was like everybody went haywire. Staring at faces in a rearview mirror
That song all of a sudden became sacred ground. The events that transpired defined the music and made it bigger than it was to be.
WILLMAN: "Only in America" was recorded Brooks & Dunn who are considered conservative certainly. Ironically, co-written by one of the major democrats in Nashville who is not considered a conservative song at all.
"Only in America" kind of have this huge slash being tossed back and forth like a football between republicans and democrats who wanted to claim it politically.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's funny because George W. Bush used it for two elections and Barack Obama used it in his famous speech in Denver.
[22:25:05] DUNN: It's speaking to everyone, you know? It's like an apolitical song.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously it talks about freedom and having the ability to dream as big as we want to.
DWAYNE JOHNSON, ACTOR: Post-9/11, I think something really interesting happened to country music and the landscape of our country and what people, what Americans were gravitating towards.
A certain type of music who taps into not necessarily the aggressive DNA in us but one that we are grateful of where we live and we're grateful to be Americans.
RATHER: As a country, as a people, as a society, I think we need to hear music that was familiar. On the other hand, began to hear songs that reflected that day, which is what Alan Jackson did with his song.
(ALAN JACKSON PERFORMING)
BEVILLE DUNKERLEY, CO-FOUNDER, ROLLING STONE: Patriotism and country music has gone hand in hand for a long, long time, certainly after 9/11 country musicians were writing songs about their own feelings, writing songs about things that they were seeing on the news.
DUNKERLEY: He's just a singer, a simple song and that song mourns the dead but also appreciates the patriotism of the spirit of the American people in the wake of 9/11.
WILLMAN: It's really kind of a song about being in shock. Alan Jackson pretty much admits in the song that he doesn't know what to think about all this. He doesn't understand the global political situation. And that's not an easy thing to write a song about.
JOHNSON: It goes back to that all country music adage which is country music at its simplest, most powerful form is three-quarters of the truth.
WILLMAN: As much as people loved "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning," Alan Jackson did catch a lot of flak for that line, I'm not sure I can tell you the difference between Iraq and Iran. But people who looked at a little more different than just saw it as an honesty, but I'm not going to pretend that I know the answers. It's just being honest in a way sometimes only country music is.
(ALAN JACKSON PERFORMING)
JACKSON: Thank you all so much. God bless you.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [22:00:00] OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA PROPRIETOR: This signature song has come to be an American anthem now, especially in our troubled times. Here to sing "God Bless the USA, Lee Greenwood."
(LEE GREENWOOD PERFORMING)
LEE GREENWOOD, MUSICAL ARTIST: After the memorials were done, the firemen's memorial at Yankee Stadium and policemen memorial at Carnegie Hall, and things kind of get back to, we need to get back to the American way of life, whatever that is. So I've been associated with NASCAR for a long time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They laid those on the grand stand and the Pledge of Allegiance as well as this...
GREENWOOD: So, it's 250,000 people live, how many million watch the TV? I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some 5,000 firefighters from around the country.
GREENWOOD: Preceding the race, I'm on the track and the cameraman and the director and it's just the three of us standing on the track.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Opening ceremony for today's races about to begin. The invocation of Lee Greenwood, singing the national anthem.
GREENWOOD: I'm getting ready to sing the national anthem. I'm not singing "God Bless the USA." And so, I'm waiting, I'm waiting and the director gives me the stop sign. Don't sing yet. Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We interrupt the programming schedule because of breaking news events around the world. Our coverage of NASCAR is moving...
GREENWOOD: So the jumbo (Inaudible) is center of the field went to Tom Brokaw.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom Brokaw with the latest. Tom?
GREENWOOD: And he says, "America strikes back."
TOM BROKAW, JOURNALIST: Good afternoon, everyone. It does now appear that United States military action against targets in Afghanistan, that that action is underway.
GREENWOOD: And so the bombs are falling.
GREENWOOD: Now sing.
Wow. That was tough. But I didn't make a mistake. You know what I mean? It was something I had to deliver and not get choked up, like I am now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against Al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:35:05] SIMON RENSHAW, MANAGER, DIXIE CHICKS: For the very first time in my memory, you had something of this enormity that was broadcast live.
RICHARD GOLDSTEIN, JOURNALIST: Film provided by the Pentagon shown on television in primetime.
KIX BROOKS, MUSICAL ARTIST: We were pretty damn gung-ho at the time about going to war. We just wanted to go fight somebody.
DAN RATHER, JOURNALIST: OK. Then to our grief, then to our deep introspection, now we're going to be at war. We're going to get these guys.
CHRIS WILLMAN, JOURNALIST: When I think of music of 9/11, I think people in rock and roll didn't know if they were pro or anti-war. So it's hard to come out with strong protest songs if you're kind on the fence. On the country side of things, those were the people saying exactly what America should do and put it into song.
DWAYNE JOHNSON, ACTOR: The music and the artists post 9/11, they are reflective of many of the many emotions that we feel and the first one being denial. I think I skipped denial and I went right to the -- what's the one where I'm angry? And where's Toby Keith? That's the one I went to.
RATHER: Once it had fully soaked in that we would not and could not be the same country after 9/11, it emerged I won't say slowly but my recollection is it didn't emerge all that slowly.
A song such as Toby Keith's "Red White and Blue," that were and I don't think his own statement, it kind of rallying cry.
GOLDSTEIN: And sort of delving into your patriotic feelings and striking out at the rest of the world.
(TOBY KEITH PERFORMING)
WILLMAN: It really spoke to this visceral thing that was going on in America, like we've got to go find these people.
There's a long history in country from the Depression forward on up to the Vietnam War, a lot of gung-ho, go get them songs so it was all there bubbling under until 9/11 came along and then all of a sudden country music was kind of the town hall of America musically.
BEVILLE DUNKERLEY, CO-FOUNDER, ROLLING STONE: It was such a powerful song but such also a polarizing song. It certainly didn't seem to bother Toby Keith. He's never been one to care about whether his music is polarizing and he's always been one to take a stand.
TOBY KEITH, SINGER-SONGWRITER: I'm not going to lay down and I'm not going to shut up.
KIX BROOKS, MUSICAL ARTIST: Whether you want peace, love and country music or kick somebody in the ass, whether you agree with the politics of it, as Americans, we all get to express ourselves. Hell yes. Sing it loud.
DUNKERLEY: Where there's something I wanted to comfort in this time of tragedy Toby Keith wanted to stick a boot up someone's ass. He was angry. And he wrote that song and people absolutely loved it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since he released at "Angry American," it's been used as a battle cry for U.S. armed forces in Iraq. Bombs were branded with it.
KEITH: As far as extreme as I sound like in my field, I'm probably catching the average Joe in the middle better than anybody.
RATHER: There's no surprise that the country took to it. Frankly, I liked it myself. On the other hand, there were elements of chauvinism and jingoism and then whispering any adult thinking person, you knew the dangers of that.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BRENDA BERKMAN, FIREFIGHTER: I think pretty much everyone in the United States was on board with what our military was being asked to do in Afghanistan.
GARY SMILEY, NYFD PARAMEDIC: I don't think you saw a house without an American flag. Everybody had American flags up. It was a very patriotic time. Very emotional.
BERKMAN: But the invasion of Iraq, of course, opened up these huge rifts in American society again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thousands of Americans in Minneapolis voiced their anger at the prospect of war - in Philadelphia and in Seattle.
BERKMAN: And that was reflected somewhat in the artists.
JOHNSON: The hottest and biggest act in country music was the Dixie Chicks. They were smoking. They were on fire at that time.
WILLMAN: The Dixie Chicks had several album in a row and sold 10 million copies, filling arenas.
They had the number one song in the country with "Traveling Soldier."
DUNKERLEY: So the Dixie Chicks were putting on a concert in London in 2003.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You sure it's not too much?
BUSH: The Iraq regime continues to possess some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.
RENSHAW: In 2003, there was a U.S. administration that was hell bent on going to war in Iraq. I was staying at a hotel in park lane and every single morning you would wake up and there would be another massive demonstration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gravity of this moment is matched by the gravity of the threat that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction posed to the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know they have weapons of mass destruction. We know they have active program.
[22:45:02] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the war update, Richard?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are moving troops but they haven't crossed yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the units are now moving into positions at the border. Battle ready.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to go. Come on. Somebody take a baby? We've got to hit the stage.
NATALIE MAINES, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Just so you know, we're on the good side with you (Inaudible).
DUNKERLEY: Natalie Maines made an off-the-cuff remark.
MAINES: And we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.
DUNKERLEY: She was ashamed the President of the United States was from Texas, which is of course her home state.
AARON BROWN, CNN HOST: If you want to feel some good old-fashion American pride look no further than the uproar over the Dixie Chicks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She kind of just kept her mouth shut.
DUNKERLEY: The backlash from Natalie's statement was absolutely mind- blowing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, so ignorant.
BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: They don't know what they're talking about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they are the ditzy twits. These are dumbest, dumbest bimbos with due respect. I have seen her...
O'REILLY: These are callous, foolish women who deserve to be slapped around. REBECCA HAGELIN, MEMBER, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Natalie Maines will be shot dead on Sunday, July 6th, in Dallas, Texas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to have a policeman audio him the whole time we're in Dallas And that (Inaudible) and just so they are always there for the whole time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I know how vulnerable I feel. I can't imagine how Natalie feels. Standing up there, you feel so naked. So naked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scary time. Just wrong what happened not only to us but other people that were, you know, shut up or made to feel threatened.
GOLDSTEIN: I watched intellectuals get censored. Anybody who had something to say that was a little, that wasn't completely orthodox, Bill Maher, or anybody, Susan Sontag getting bashed, the president's spokesperson warning people to watch what they say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They remind us all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep playing, keep making music.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And keep your mouth shut.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give me his hand.
PAUL BEANE, LUBBOCK RESIDENT: Until the mood of our audience changes, we're not going to play them anymore. It's simply be financial suicide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then it's time to make another record.
DUNKERLEY So many people had asked Natalie to apologize in the wake of her statements in London. People at record labels, image consultants, they were all saying go apologize, say maybe you were drinking on stage, you know, trying to come up with every excuse in the book to have her retract her statement and she wouldn't do it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about fought with a stranger.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fought with a stranger? Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kind of like the stranger you Bush (Ph).
DUNKERLEY: They wrote "Not Ready to Make Nice" specifically about the backlash to Natalie's statement in London.
(NATALIE MAINES PERFORMING)
BEN HARPER, SINGER-SONGWRITER: I tell you what, I have never seen someone not back down like Natalie did not back down.
(NATALIE MAINES PERFORMING)
RENSHAW: The thing that's so amazing about that song is the audience. Twenty thousand people singing that song at the top of their lungs, you can, you feel it. You feel the emotion. I mean, I've worked with a lot of big artists over the years but that song is one of the most powerful songs ever.
(NATALIE MAINES PERFORMING)
[22:50:01] GOLDSTEIN: The music that came out of 9/11 is as bifurcated as the politics of the country were. This is the era of the hanging chad, OK? This is the era of Florida. That's the real lesson of music in that period bifurcation, that we weren't unified.
(NATALIE MAINES PERFORMING)
BERKMAN: Most of the guys had Catholic funerals. They would play "Here I am Lord." And very often the soloist would sing on "Eagles Wings." And those two songs for years afterwards I would start crying uncontrollably. It's really hard to explain to people how all these many years later music can upset you so much.
[22:55:02] We don't want to forget. We don't want to forget. So I don't avoid them. But they upset me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that the songs that are connected to September 11th now, yes there's comfort about connecting it to it, an emotion that maybe I can't communicate still but it's actually really painful.
Watching Paul Simon's performance of "Sound of Silence" on the 10th year anniversary was -- I watched it this morning at home and cried. I was crying for the people in the audience. The people hugging and I was thinking tale of somebody, to try to save somebody.
PAUL SIMON, SINGER: I decided to sing the "Sound of Silence" and it was a tough one because I was singing it in front of the families of the people who had died. It was very emotional. I had to look away when I thought I was going to get too emotional for me to continue singing.
The sound of silence wasn't written with anything like 9/11 possibly in my imagination. I was only 21 years old when I wrote it. You try to do anything you can in these times where you can't do anything, really.
Except you give people an opportunity to find solace.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: We were left with a gaping hole in lower Manhattan and that we could at least make plans to try to address with a new building. We were also left with a gaping wound in our own national psyche.
Unity has been replaced by a deep polarization about what the policies are that will actually make us as a people safer. So in the long run it turns out that physical scars in the ground are a lot easier to heal than those emotional ones that we all carry with us.
JASON KING, MUSIC WRITER: I think after 9/11 it was sort of difficult to feel really positive about America because we were so internally divided as a country.
It was 2009, Jay Z and Alicia Keys released the song "Empire State of Mind." In some ways I think the "Empire State of Mind" was a unifying moment. There's this idea that you have to be proud of your roots. And even though it was very specific. It was about New York. And Jay Z was rapping about things that happened with his life, and where he grew up. There's just something about that song that feels much bigger than the song it is. And that's actually what an anthem is.
RANDY JACKSON, BASSIST: Anthem is something that really echoes the emotions of the people that speaks it in music form for them. It says everything in a phrase.
That is what anthems are made of.
JOHNSON: Post-9/11 and what's important for us as a country to be resilient and to come back. And so much we were tied back into music. The music will always remind us that it is possible.
BROOKS: I don't know if music can really change the world but I think it certainly gives us a real powerful spirit while we're doing our best to do so.
BILLY JOEL, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Music is a great expression of humanity, an explosive expression of humanity and it will always be influential.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)