Sun City (album)

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Sun City
Studio album by Artists United Against Apartheid
Released December 7, 1985
Recorded 1985
Genre various
Length 45:33
Label EMI Manhattan Records
Producer Steven Van Zandt
Arthur Baker
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars link
Rolling Stone Not rated link

Sun City was a 1985 album that contained several versions of the Steven Van Zandt-led Artists United Against Apartheid's "Sun City" protest song against apartheid in South Africa as well as other selections in the same vein from that project.


In addition to the title track, a number of other songs were recorded at the time, completing an album's worth of material. Drummer-musician Keith LeBlanc and journalist Danny Schechter came up with "Revolutionary Situation", an audio-collage set to music that took its title from the words of South Africa's then-interior minister Louis Nel condemning the state of the country. Amid a background of yapping police dogs, sounds of mayhem and revolt in the township, LeBlanc and Schechter mixed in angry declarations by activists like Alan Boesak, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela's daughter Zindzi, looped with what was at that time the most recent interview with her father, recorded in 1961.

Inspired by his meetings with several of other artists who volunteered, Bono of U2 went back to his hotel room and wrote the song "Silver and Gold" the same evening. The song was quickly recorded for inclusion on the compilation, with Keith Richards and Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones accompanying him. Ron Wood's guitar work is notable for using Keith's switchblade as a slide. "Silver and Gold" was also distributed separately as a promotional single. Because the song was quickly recorded for inclusion on the compilation, it was initially left off the track listings on the original 1985 album and cassette pressings and it was considered to be a hidden track. Bono later explained the reasons for this in an appearance on the US syndicated radio show "Rockline" with Bob Coburn that the reason why it did not appear on the track listings was because he submitted the tape for the song after the album's artwork had already been printed by EMI Manhattan Records.[1] When Razor and Tie reissued the album in 1993, the song was included on the track listings. U2 also recorded two versions of the song: a live version released in the Rattle and Hum film and album and a studio version as B-side to "Where the Streets Have No Name".

Sun City was a modest commercial success, reaching #31 on the Billboard 200 pop albums chart. It did much better in terms of critical reaction, where it reached #5 on the Pazz & Jop Critics Poll for albums for that year. Sun City got the final spot on Rolling Stone's list of the best 100 albums of the 1980s in 1989 and 2016.[2][3]

In 1993, Sun City was issued on CD by Razor & Tie, but after the end of apartheid in 1994, the album eventually went out of print.

Track listing[edit]

Side A[edit]

  1. "Sun City" (Steven Van Zandt) – Artists United Against Apartheid, featuring Zak Starkey, Ringo Starr – 7:26
  2. "No More Apartheid" (Peter Gabriel) – Peter Gabriel and L. Shankar – 7:07
  3. "Revolutionary Situation" – Rap Artists from Artists United Against Apartheid, compiled and edited by Keith LeBlanc and The News Dissector – 6:07

Side B[edit]

  1. "Sun City (Version II)" – Artists United Against Apartheid – 5:42
  2. "Let Me See Your I.D." – Rap and Jazz Artists from Artists United Against Apartheid, featuring Gil Scott-Heron, Miles Davis, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Peter Wolf, Sonny Okosuns, Malopoets, Duke Bootee, Ray Baretto, Peter Garrett – 7:29
  3. "The Struggle Continues" – Jazz Artists from Artists United Against Apartheid, featuring Miles Davis, Stanley Jordan, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Okosuns, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Richard Scher – 7:01
  4. "Silver and Gold" (Bono) – Bono with Keith Richards and Ron Wood – 4:41

Bonus track[edit]

  1. "Sun City (The Last Remix)" – Artists United Against Apartheid – 9:35 (only on Razor & Tie CD re-issue; previously only available on the 12" single)



  1. ^
  2. ^ Editors (1989-11-16). "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980's". Rolling Stone (565). 
  3. ^ "100 Best Albums of the Eighties". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-11-21.