Home > Activism, Environmental justice > Amchitka: The 1970 concert that launched Greenpeace

Amchitka: The 1970 concert that launched Greenpeace

OK I swear I am not being paid by Greenpeace to peddle their wares but I really feel the CD they launched last year to commemorate the organization’s 40th anniversary is a fine piece of work and worth a mention.

I recently spoke with John Timmins of Greenpeace who is the producer of the new CD ‘Amchitka: the1970 concert that launched Greenpeace.’ This is a double CD production with live performances by James Taylor, Phil Ochs and a young Joni Mitchell who was previewing songs from her soon to be released classic album, Blue. The sound quality is surprisingly good given the source tape material and highlights include Mitchell singing ‘Woodstock’ barely a year after the actual event, the Mitchell/Taylor duet on Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr Tambourine Man’, Taylor performing his brand new tune ‘Sweet Baby James’, and Phil Ochs’ stirring plea for peace in ‘I ain’t fighting anymore.’

The CD was released late last year and comes with a 48-page booklet with rare photos and information on the concert, the Amchitka protests and the history of Greenpeace. The concert came about as an audacious idea to help fund the fledgling organization’s first ever expedition: to send a ship to Amchitka, Alaska to protest U.S. government nuclear testing there.

Greenpeace co-founder Irving Stowe decided that the only way that his Vancouver-based Don’t Make a Wave Committee could raise enough money to send a ship to Amchitka was to hold a rock concert. Stowe was a lawyer, a music lover, a visionary and a father…but he had never organized a rock concert.

The rest is history. Greenpeace was born and the test series was canceled as a direct result of Greenpeace bearing witness and alerting the world.

The double CD package can be purchased online for $21 here and you can sample tracks here. You can also purchase single song MP3s for $.99. The music on the CD has been donated with all proceeds from sales going to Greenpeace in support of their work.

If you love music and want to support Greenpeace, this is a great way to do it. Would make a fine gift too.

Click the audio player above to hear my interview with John Timmins. We discuss how the event came about, details of the concert itself and what its significance was to the nascent environmental movement of the time. You can download the interview by right clicking here and selecting ‘Save as’ or ‘Save target as’.

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