Long-unavailable footage features music icons like Bruce Springsteen and Miles Davis
A series of four historic human rights music concerts from the 1980s and 1990s is being released in a new Amnesty International DVD and CD collection on 28 October.
Since their initial broadcast screenings, three of the four concerts have never been available until now.
The six-disc DVD box-set and accompanying four-disc CD set - all going under the title ¡RELEASED! - features dozens of the world’s leading musicians performing in concert. Artists include U2, The Police, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Youssou N’Dour, Tracy Chapman, and Alanis Morissette.
The box-set’s release coincides with the 25th anniversary of the most high-profile of all the concerts - the Human Rights Now! world tour in 1988. This six-week, five-continent, 20-concert tour - which launched with a concert at Wembley Stadium - was headlined by Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman and Youssou N’Dour, and was attended by over one million people and seen and heard by many millions more on television and radio. The tour led to a tripling of Amnesty’s worldwide membership.
Also featured are new in-depth interviews with Bruce Springsteen and Sting about their human rights work with Amnesty. Other unique material includes Peter Gabriel’s home movies of the 1986 Amnesty tour featuring backstage moments.
Amnesty International UK Head of Brand and Events Andy Hackman said:
“Over the years we’ve had fantastic support from musicians who really understand the value of human rights.
“These unique concerts capture so much of the energy and enthusiasm of a whole generation of amazing artists.
“These days musicians will often get in touch to work with us because of the inspiration provided by the likes of Bruce Springsteen or Pete Townshend. It’s a really powerful legacy.”
The box-set in detail
The Human Rights Concerts series comprises four films. The first consists of more than five hours drawn from the all-day final concert of A Conspiracy of Hope - Amnesty’s 25th anniversary concert tour of the USA in June 1986. The second film is of the Human Rights Now! world tour in September and October 1988. The third film is An Embrace of Hope - the October 1990 concert in Chile celebrating that nation’s liberation after 17 years of dictatorship. The fourth and final film is The Struggle Continues… - the concert staged in Paris in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The six-disc DVD set contains 120 songs (over 12 hours of music), as well as 32 additional segments featuring background and additional music performances, altogether comprising nearly five hours of supplementary features. The full running time of the box-set is almost 17 hours. The collection comes with a 40-page booklet with rare archival photographs and extensive liner notes, including a full written history of the concerts. Also being released are four companion CD sets - one for each of the concerts. The 1986, 1988 and 1998 concerts are presented on two-disc CD sets. The 1990 concert is on a single-disc CD.
The box-set additionally features key performances by Pete Townshend and Sting from the Secret Policeman’s Ball series - the historic comedy shows that helped inspire the Human Rights Concerts. There are also new performances given for Amnesty in the last ten years, including from Green Day, Jeff Beck, Seal, Ozzy Osbourne, Joe Perry, Bono, Damien Rice, Pete Seeger, Evan Rachel Wood, and David Byrne. Coldplay and Mumford & Sons are featured from their appearance at the Secret Policeman’s Ball show at Radio City Music Hall in New York last year.
The box-set is distributed by Eagle-Rock Entertainment.
The Human Rights Concerts have been restored and produced for release by longtime Amnesty activist and producer Martin Lewis - who was co-creator (with John Cleese) of Amnesty’s Secret Policeman’s Ball series. Lewis co-produced the “Ball” shows, films, TV specials and albums between 1976 and 1985, and helped initiate Amnesty’s work with musicians by recruiting and producing Pete Townshend, Sting and Bob Geldof, amongst others.
Another key figure in the first three of the Human Rights Concerts series was Jack Healey, executive director of Amnesty International USA between 1981 and 1993. The 1986 US tour and 1988 world tour were co-produced with seasoned rock promoter Bill Graham. The 1998 Paris concert was organised by Amnesty planning officer Blair Gibb and Peter Gabriel.