When United Airlines Flight 175 hit the North Tower, Paul McCartney was sitting waiting for his plane to take off at John F. Kennedy Airport. The beatle was a direct witness to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the closure of airspace over a shocked New York.
McCartney was putting the finishing touches on the excellent Driving Rain, which included the single “From a Lover to a Friend”, a song in which he tried to deal with the death of his wife Linda. Instantly, he announced that royalties from the theme would be donated to the families of the dead firefighters in the attack. But he felt the need to do more and help the city that launched The Beatles to stardom in 1964. On September 12 he had ready “Freedom”, a song destined to be chanted by thousands in which raised a flag for social rights and that would become a classic during his 2002 US tour, his first tour since 1993.
McCartney shouldered organizing a solidarity concert that brought together the main figures of world music just 40 days after the terrorist attack and planned the song’s debut at the recital, with Eric Clapton as guest guitarist. On October 20, together with Los Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Who, Elton John y Bon Jovi, among other luminaries, the show was carried out at Madison Square Garden -with firefighters, policemen and relatives of victims invited in the first rows- and over $ 100 million raised. The beatle closed the night, played two songs by Driving Rain, a classic of the Fab Four and saved for the closing his new song, which he sang along with all the famous guests and rescuers.
Before the enormous reception of the public, Paul stopped the edition of his new album, returned to the studio and included the new single as track hidden so that the public could enjoy it. The money generated by the issue was delivered to the Robin Hood organization, which distributed funds to victims’ families and emergency workers in New York. McCartney performed the song again before Super Bowl XXXVI in February 2002, with a Statue of Liberty loom in the background and more than 500 kids on stage, representing the 180 countries served by the game signal. .
After the occupation of the US government, led by George Bush, in Iraq, Paul stopped playing the subject live so that his message would not be misrepresented. “I think it was kidnapped a little bit and it became a little bit militaristic. My song is geared towards the rights struggle ‘in the civil rights sense, it does not mean’ Go out there and hit the people, ‘”he told the Daily Telegraph in 2010.