Eighteen years ago today, two passenger airplanes crashed into New York City’s World Trade Center, causing the collapse of the city’s iconic Twin Towers, along with the 7 World Trade Center building. In an act of solidarity, several musicians, organized by Sir Paul McCartney, held The Concert for New York City, a benefit concert held in response to these terror attacks a mere six-weeks after they occurred.
One particular standout performance was David Bowie’s cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic “America,” which saw the artist reinvent the folk pop classic. During the performance Bowie sat with his legs crossed, as he played the melody on the song on a keyboard, while he sung to the crowd in his signature style.
In addition to McCartney and Bowie, the lineup included The Who,Elton John, Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones bandmates Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Bon Jovi, Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, the Backstreet Boys, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Melissa Etheridge, Five for Fighting, Goo Goo Dolls and John Mellencamp with Kid Rock.
Mike Garson, who was a member of Bowie’s band for years recalled this event on social media, in remembrance of September 11th. “Today we remember. Even after 18 years, the memory of that terrible day still remains. It always will. Here’s a wonderful performance of David singing Simon & Garfunkel’s America – just six weeks after 9/11,” Garson wrote on social media.
Today we remember. Even after 18 years, the memory of that terrible day still remains. It always will. Here’s a wonderful performance of David singing Simon & Garfunkel’s America – just six weeks after 9/11. https://t.co/QfwkOcbm8k pic.twitter.com/yNtB6eyZ2N
— Mike Garson (@mikegarson) September 11, 2019
While Bowie is a native of the UK he spent much of the last two decades of his life living in between New York City and London with his family.
In a 2003 interview, the artist spoke on his relationship with the city:
“It’s a bit like being on a holiday in a place I’ve always wanted to go to, that doesn’t come to an end. So ‘home’ is not quite right, is it? I always feel a stranger here. I am an outsider. I really am still a Brit, there’s no avoiding it. But I’ve got friends here. I probably know this town better than I know the new London. London has changed beyond belief since I’ve been coming to America. I can walk around here and find my way far better than I can in Chelsea. I’ve forgotten all the streets. [He mimes befuddlement.] Where did Clareville Grove used to be?”