Peace Sunday: We Have a Dream Concert (1982)

Peace Sunday: We Have a Dream Concert 1982

The ”˜70s and ”˜80s were decades that were chock full of big concerts being held for the best of reasons. Sometimes it was to draw attention to human rights issues (the Secret Policeman’s Ball, the Conspiracy of Hope tour), sometimes it was provide humanitarian aid (the Concert for Bangladesh, Live Aid), and sometimes ”“ but particularly in the late ”˜70s and early ”˜80s ”“ it was to take a stand and protest nuclear weapons.

In 1979, Madison Square Garden was booked from September 19th through the 23rd for the legendary “No Nukes” concerts in New York, which resulted in a triple-album document of the event that featured performances from ”“ hang on, let us take a breath ”“ the Doobie Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, John Hall, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Jackson Browne, Nicolette Larson, Ry Cooder, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Gil Scott-Heron, Jesse Colin Young, Raydio, Chaka Khan, Poco, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Whew! And that’s not even all of the artists who participated: others who were part of the event but didn’t find their way onto the distillation of the five shows include Peter Allen, Stephen Bishop, Paul Simon, and Peter Tosh.


In addition to the No Nukes concerts in ”˜79, there was also a notable nuclear disarmament rally on June 12, 1982”¦notable because it’s been called the single largest protest in American history, but also because the event included a concert in Central Park which featured performances from Springsteen, Taylor, Browne, Joan Baez, Linda Ronstadt, and Gary U.S. Bonds, among others.

Somewhat less remembered, however, is an event which took place six days earlier ”“ or 32 years ago today, if you hadn’t yet picked up on why we decided to write about it ”“ on the other side of the country, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. It was known as Peace Sunday, and its tagline pointedly paraphrased Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with the poster for the eventfeaturing the words “We Have a Dream” sitting just above an artist’s rendition of a mushroom cloud rising up and transforming into a tree.

Yes, we know, it sounds like something Abe Simpson or Jack Donaghy would dismiss as a bunch of hippie malarkey, but they sure did pull together a hell of a lineup for the concert: the participants for this one included Gil Scott Heron, Jesse Colin Young, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, Donovan, Timothy B. Schmidt and Don Felder, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Taj Mahal, Stevie Wonder, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Dan Fogelberg, Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, Bette Midler, Jackson Browne, Garry U.S. Bonds, and Tom Petty. The total attendance wasn’t too shabby, either, with over 85,000 people turning up to listen to the music.

June 6, 1982
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

Over 85,000 people showed up at this concert to promote nuclear disarmament.

Performers (in order or appearance):
Gil Scott Heron, Jesse Colin Young, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, Donovan, Timothy B. Schmidt, Don Felder, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Steven Stills, Taj Mahal, Stevie Wonder, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Dan Fogelberg, Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, Nicolette Larson, Bette Midler, Jackson Browne, Gary U. S. Bonds, Tom Petty.

Waddy Wachtel – Guitar, Background Vocals – with Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt

Gil Scott Heron – Alien
Gil Scott Heron – Please Save The Children
Gil Scott Heron – Shut ‘Em Down
Reverend Jesse Jackson speech
Jesse Colin Young – Imagine
Jesse Colin Young – Get Together (with Freebo, Susie Young, Graham Nash, Jerry Corbitt)
Graham Nash – Military Madness
Bonnie Raitt & Graham Nash – Love Has No Pride
Donovan – Sunshine Superman
Donovan – Season Of The Witch
Donovan – Mellow Yellow
Timothy B. Schmidt & Don Felder – I Can’t Tell You Why
Crosby, Stills & Nash – Long Time Coming
Crosby, Stills & Nash – Chicago
Stephen Stills – Love The One You’re With
Stephen Stills – For What It’s Worth
Stephen Stills – Dark Star
Stephen Stills & Dave Mason – Hoochie Coochie Man
Stephen Stills & Dave Mason – Rocky Mountain Way
Taj Mahal – Mailbox Blues
Taj Mahal – Stagger Lee
Stevie Wonder – Front Line
Stevie Wonder – speech and poem
Stevie Wonder – Master Blaster
Stevie Wonder – Do I Do
Stevie Wonder – “We Demand World Peace Today” chant
Joan Baez – Do Right Woman
Joan Baez – Warriors Of The Sun
Joan Baez – Imagine
Joan Baez – Diamonds And Rust
Joan Baez & Bob Dylan – With God On Our Side
Joan Baez & Bob Dylan – A Pirate Looks At Forty
Joan Baez & Bob Dylan – Blowin’ In The Wind
Dan Fogelberg – The Garden
Dan Fogelberg – You’re Leaving Now
Dan Fogelberg – Face the Fire
Dan Fogelberg – There’s a Place in the World for a Gambler
Stevie Nicks – Edge Of Seventeen
Stevie Nicks – Sara
Stevie Nicks – I Need To Know
Stevie Nicks – Rhiannon
Ed Asner – speech
Linda Ronstadt – Blue Bayou
Linda Ronstadt – The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss) (with Rosemary Butler & Nicolette Larson)
Linda Ronstadt & Nicolette Larson – I Only Want To Be With You
Linda Ronstadt – Get Closer
Linda Ronstadt – Back In The U.S.A.
Bette Midler – The Rose
Jackson Browne & Graham Nash – Crow On The Cradle
Jackson Browne – Running On Empty
Jackson Browne – Doctor My Eyes
Gary U.S. Bonds & Jackson Browne – Happy Birthday
Gary U.S. Bonds & Jackson Browne – This Little Girl
Gary U. S. Bonds & Jackson Browne – The Pretender
Tom Petty – Well Alright
Tom Petty – Not Fade Away
Everyone – Teach Your Children
Everyone – Give Peace A Chance

5 thoughts on “Peace Sunday: We Have a Dream Concert (1982)

  1. I was in the crowd 40 years ago.
    What an unbelievable line up of musicians. It was an unforgettable experience, all for the cause of peace and nuclear disarmament.

  2. WOW.. what a Great Article.
    As my friend and I were Stage Security for Saturday and Sunday actually saw a Few Pictures of Me
    Thank You..
    if You have anymore Pictures I would Dig seeing More.
    Sam Rodriguez
    Alliance for Survival…

  3. I was there- stage left (for much of the day) and started a chant that did not stop. The MC announced a report from parking lot that a dog was left in a car and the windows were rolled up. I could not un-hear that and started chanting What About The Dog?
    In the face of saving our planet, a critical mass of people cared about the humanity of the dog, perhaps seeing ourselves as the victim of man’s quest for power.
    Finally, our dusk (I recall it was right before Stevie Wonder asked for a silent prayer) the MC said, “So you want to know about the dog? The dog is fine!” (just recall a roar of applause and objects flying in the air.)
    Does anyone remember that?
    I just found a newspaper article and that was the heading!
    Long story- but it’s chapter one of my book and here you can see that newspaper heading..

  4. On that day at the Rose Bowl, Stevie Wonder and his entire entourage walked onto the stage wearing stylized military uniforms and started with Stevie’s powerful antiwar song, Front Line. That electrifying song he wrote as an anthem against war and racism. But did it get airplay? It would seem that Mr. Berry Gordy deemed Front Line too political… And Stevie’s song Cash In Your Face? Same thing. That one is a story of a Black man looking for housing for his family and is told “we don’t want your kind.” Again, too political for Gordy. Before then in 1970, Marvin told him that he’d never record for him again if he wouldn’t release the single of his What’s Goin’ On. The story is complicated, but because Marvin held firm and Gordy acquiesced, we have that great album for all time.

    1. I don’t know what was happening to me at the time I posted this, but I did not see any of the other comments that were posted. Yours is the first I’ve seen. I could barely find much info on it because of newspapers and paid firewalls. I don’t see that song listed as one he performed. Thank you so much for that background information. It seems you know quite a bit more for Mr. Wonder, but it looks like it did not get much airplay. It was added as a bonus track to Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiquarium I of greatest hits, among three other songs. All of the were released as singles, and I remember 3 of them quite well, but I have no recollection of “Front Line” I was wondering if that was a corporate radio choice not to play it much. The other song seems more familiar. And yes, thank goodness that Marvin Gaye stood his ground on ‘What’s Going On?’. I remember that as being one of the first albums I ever bought. Damn, we were born in a great time for music,

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