How Rockers Are Rallying Support for Ukraine
It’s been one month since Russia invaded Ukraine, sparking a brutal war the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Europe for decades.
When the conflict began, rockers took to social media to voice their support for Ukraine, but as the war has continued to rage, many have stepped up their efforts from words to actions.
A wide range of musicians has been rallying support, using their celebrity to help organize fundraisers and spread awareness. Below, we’ve collected some of the notable campaigns from rockers all over the globe.
Dee Snider, “Stand (for Ukraine)”
Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider has been one of the loudest celebrity voices supporting Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began. In February, the singer declared he “absolutely” supported Ukrainians' use of the song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as a battle cry. More recently, he released a reworked music video for his song "Stand," originally released on the 2021 solo album Leave a Scar. “I just couldn't get around how well the lyrics resonated with Putin's attack on these innocent people. Ukraine was the furthest thing from my mind when I wrote the words for that song, yet it was like I had done just that,” the singer explained when announcing "Stand (for Ukraine)." The video is part of Snider’s ongoing work with World United Live, an online platform focused on protesting in support of Ukraine.
Queen + Paul Rodgers Fundraiser
In 2008, Queen and Paul Rodgers played to more than 350,000 people in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s historic Freedom Square. At the time, the concert was in support of the ANTIAIDS Foundation, but footage of the performance was recently repurposed to help humanitarian aid. “Today, with millions of Ukrainian refugees in need of urgent humanitarian relief from a different affliction, Queen is returning to its historic moment with a YouTube special screening aimed at drawing donations for UNHCR’s relief efforts,” Brian May announced in mid-March. “Queen + Paul Rodgers Live in Ukraine” began streaming shortly afterward. It has since helped to raise more than $5 million in funds for the UN Refugee Agency.
The Cure Ukraine T-Shirt
A special band T-shirt was created by the Cure, with all net proceeds helping support those in Ukraine. The shirt features the group’s logo in blue and yellow on the front - colors of the Ukrainian flag - while the back has the words, “However far away I will always love you,” a quote from the Cure’s classic 1989 hit “Lovesong.” (Click here to purchase.)
Various Artists, “Come Together” Cover
More than 30 artists - including current and former members of Faith No More, Rammstein, Gravity Kills, Stabbing Westward, Filter and Ministry - united to record an all-star rendition of the Beatles' “Come Together.” The track was posted to Bandcamp with all proceeds benefiting UNICEF.
Bon Jovi Viral Video
Civilians in Odessa, Ukraine, were seen loading sandbags and preparing to defend their homes in a video that went viral on social media. Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” blared in the background - accompanied by a live drummer - as men and women pitched in to help. The video soon made its way to Jon Bon Jovi, who retweeted it with one of the song’s poignant lyrics: “This is for the ones who stood their ground.” The video has since been watched more than 1.8 million times.
Arcade Fire Surprise Concerts
Acclaimed Canadian indie-rock group Arcade Fire raised more than $100,000 for PLUS1’s Ukraine Relief Fund with a series of surprise shows. The concerts - one in New Orleans, four in New York - allowed fans to pay whatever they could afford for entry. The final show featured appearances by actor and comedian Mike Myers and musician David Byrne, the latter of whom joined Arcade Fire for a rendition of the Plastic Ono Band’s “Give Peace a Chance.”
Foreigner Turn Vegas Residency Into Fundraiser
Foreigner announced that they’d partnered with the American Red Cross to help raise funds for Ukrainian relief efforts during the band’s residency at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. Performances run on select dates through April 9. Foreigner will give $5,000 each night of the residency to help the cause, while Red Cross representatives will be on-site at every concert accepting donations from fans.
Jinjer Charity Shirts
When the war broke out, Ukrainian metal band Jinjer canceled plans to tour the U.S. and instead focused their attention on helping their homeland. The group created a series of charity T-shirts, with all proceeds going to local groups throughout Ukraine. Jinjer’s campaign has already raised more than $140,000 in aid. “Your support will not only help so many people in need but sends a much-needed positive sign that they are not alone," the band said in an update thanking fans.
Pussy Riot NFT
Russian punk group Pussy Riot, known for their outspoken stance against Vladimir Putin, released an NFT of the Ukrainian flag to help raise money for relief efforts. With partners throughout the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries, the NFT sale was able to generate approximately $7.1 million. Rather than a single sale, that number represents the donations of more than 3,000 contributors who will collectively “own” the image.
‘Night for Ukraine’ Concert
On March 9, a collection of notable artists came together for a special concert at London’s Roadhouse nightclub. Irish singer-songwriter Bob Geldof, known for his involvement in Band Aid and Live Aid, Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde and Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand were among the performers. All proceeds benefited U.K. charity Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), providing aid to refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Sting Revisits 'Russians'
Sting shared a video of himself performing his 1985 song "Russians," revealing that the track has taken on new meaning given the crisis in Ukraine. "I've only rarely sung this song in the many years since it was written because I never thought it would be relevant again," he explained. "But in the light of one man's bloody and woefully misguided decision to invade a peaceful, unthreatening neighbor, the song is, once again, a plea for our common humanity.” In his caption accompanying the video, Sting included links to resources for medical and humanitarian aid in Ukraine.
Patti Smith Among Performers at 'A Benefit for Ukraine'
Patti Smith, the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, Suzanne Vega, Craig Finn and Franz Nicolay of the indie-rock band the Hold Steady and others came together for a benefit show on March 10 at New York’s City Winery. The evening was hosted by Eugene Hutz, frontman of the gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello, who was born in Ukraine. More than $130,000 was raised at the event, $50,000 of which came from Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon.