Exclusive: Listen to Bonnie Raitt Sing “Angel From Montgomery” at a 1979 No Nukes Concert

Music Features Bonnie Raitt
Exclusive: Listen to Bonnie Raitt Sing “Angel From Montgomery” at a 1979 No Nukes Concert

Did you know that Paste owns the world’s largest collection of live music recordings? It’s true! And what’s even crazier, it’s all free—hundreds of thousands of exclusive songs, concerts and videos that you can listen to and watch right here at Paste.com, from Louis Armstrong to The Who to U2 to Wilco. Every day, we’ll dig through the archive to find the coolest recording we have from that date in history. Search and enjoy!

With the threat of nuclear warfare between the United States and North Korea more and more believable with each passing day, it’s darkly fascinating to look back at the last nuclear crisis in this nation’s history. Although not a nuclear affront, the Three Mile Island accident—which allowed tons of nuclear waste to escape from a Penn.-based reactor—took place nearly 40 years ago.

In the wake of the accident, Americans began to reassess their relationship with nuclear devices and storage. In fact, the controversy even reached the arts community. Concert Vault writer Alan Bershaw described it as such:

Following the March 1979 meltdown at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island nuclear reactor (the worst accident in United States nuclear power plant history), Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, Harvey Wasserman and John Hall joined forces to found the activist group Musicians United for Safe Energy. Raising awareness of safe energy alternatives and advocating against the use of nuclear energy, MUSE would stage a monumental week-long series of concerts at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, in addition to a massive public rally held in Battery Park, attended by nearly 200,000.

These September 1979 events, staged as MUSE Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future – commonly referred to as the No Nukes Concerts, would present a stellar roster of diverse performers, many collaborating for the first time. The core collective of Browne, Raitt, Nash and Hall would be joined on stage by many of their like-minded friends, including James Taylor, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Chaka Khan, The Doobie Brothers, Jesse Colin Young, Peter Tosh, Gil Scott-Heron, Peter Allen, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Ry Cooder and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, in addition to unscheduled appearances by Carly Simon, Phoebe Snow, Stephen Bishop and Paul Simon.

Paste has excusive archives of some of these No Nukes concerts. And in particular, Bonnie Raitt’s cover of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” feels exceptionally poignant. She allows certain phrases to fall just after the beat, creating a sense of buoyancy in a time when the future seemed uncertain. Listen to her sing “Angel From Montgomery” below.

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