28 Years Ago: Members of DEEP PURPLE, PINK FLOYD, YES, RUSH, ELP & More Re-Record “Smoke on the Water”

28 Years Ago: Members of DEEP PURPLE, PINK FLOYD, YES, RUSH, ELP & More Re-Record “Smoke on the Water”

It was 1988 when a magnitude 6.9 earthquake had shaken north-western Armenia. Four minutes later it was followed by a 5.8 aftershock. Whole communities and the infrastructure had been destroyed. The authorities in the Soviet Union had to ask for outside help and the iron curtain that had divided east and west was opened up to let assistance through.

Jon Dee who was asked to get footage for TV and radio out of the disaster zone felt he had to do something. After helping with the immediate fundraising that was taking place in London, he decided to launch a fundraising push with people from the rock business. Having worked Yes in early years, Dee got in contact with many prestigious people he now wanted to convince to be part of his project. The result was Rock Aid Armenia which was initiated in 1989 to raise money to help those affected by the Leninakan earthquake that struck Armenia.

Dee gathered a team of musicians which included David Gilmour, Tony Iommi, Bruce Dickinson, Alex Lifeson, Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Brian May, Chris Squire, Bryan Adams, Paul Rogers, Keith Emerson, Geoff Downes and Roger Taylor, as well as Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan and Ian Paice.

The video below is the official promo video for the 2010 Wermut & Dee remix of the track. The song was released worldwide – it successfully raised funds to rebuild a children’s music school in Gyumri in the Armenian earthquake zone. Today the new school teaches music to 220 children a year!

David Gilmour and Brian May recording at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London, for Rock Aid Armenia

David Gilmour and Brian May recording at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London, for Rock Aid Armenia

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