YU Rock Misija
YU Rock Misija (known in English as YU Rock Mission) was the contribution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to Bob Geldof's Band Aid campaign which culminated with the Live Aid concert. The contribution included the recording of a charity single "Za milion godina" and a charity concert held at Red Star Stadium on June 15, 1985, both featuring top acts of the Yugoslav rock scene.
|“||YU Rock Misija was our response to what was going on at the end of 1984 and the beginning of 1985, when the action of solidarity with the hungry in Africa was started. Globally, it was done by Bob Geldof. Locally [in Yugoslavia], some people at the 1984 Opatija Festival agreed something should be done. An agreement was reached, but they weren't sure what exactly should be done, so some of them came to ask me what I thought. I said: It's simple, we should make a record, release it along with an issue of Rock magazine thereby selling it in the same number of copies Rock is printed in, and then put on a concert.||”|
"Za milion godina"
|"Za milion godina"|
|Single by YU Rock Misija|
|B-side||"Za milion godina (Instrumentalna verzija)"|
|Writer(s)||Dragan Ilić, Mladen Popović|
The song, entitled "Za milion godina" ("For a Million Years") was composed by former Generacija 5 keyboardist and leader Dragan Ilić, and the lyrics were written by Mladen Popović, who had previously written lyrics for Denis & Denis, Oliver Mandić and other acts, and was, at the time, an editor of the show Hit meseca (Hit of the Month).
In an interview for Rockovnik, Ilić stated:
|“||Thanks to the support of the institutions, mainly Radio Television of Belgrade and PGP-RTB, we made the song, [...] and we gathered literally the best in former Yugoslavia, and in three days we did the video, the music, the arrangements.||”|
A large number of musicians took part in the recording, mostly as vocalists. The song was played by Ilić (keyboards), his former bandmates from Generacija 5, Dragan Jovanović (guitar), Dušan Petrović (bass guitar) and Slobodan Đorđević (drums), and Vlatko Stefanovski of Leb i Sol (guitar solo).
The song was produced by Saša Habić. It was released on a 7" single, with the instrumental version of the song as the B-side, with the 75th issue of the Rock magazine. The cover was designed by cartoonist and designer Jugoslav Vlahović.
- Oliver Mandić - vocals
- Serđo Blažić (of Atomsko Sklonište) - vocals
- Željko Bebek - vocals
- Marina Perazić (of Denis & Denis) - vocals
- Momčilo Bajagić (of Bajaga i Instruktori) - vocals
- Vesna Vrandečić (of Xenia) - vocals
- Aki Rahimovski (of Parni Valjak) - vocals
- Zorica Kondža - vocals
- Slađana Milošević - vocals
- Dado Topić - vocals
- Massimo Savić (of Dorian Gray) - vocals
- Zdravko Čolić - vocals
- Jura Stublić (of Film) - vocals (choir)
- Husein Hasanefendić (of Parni Valjak) - vocals (choir)
- Snežana Stamenković (of Aska) - vocals (choir)
- Izolda Barudžija (of Aska) - vocals (choir)
- Snežana Mišković (of Aska) - vocals (choir)
- Alen Islamović (of Divlje Jagode) - vocals (choir)
- Sead Lipovača (of Divlje Jagode) - vocals (choir)
- Dejan Cukić (of Bajaga i Instruktori) - vocals (choir)
- Ljuba Ninković (of Tunel) - vocals (choir)
- Doris Dragović (of More) - vocals (choir)
- Anja Rupel (of Videosex) - vocals (choir)
- Srđan Šaper (of Idoli) - vocals (choir)
- Vlada Divljan (of Idoli) - vocals (choir)
- Peđa D' Boy (of Peđa D' Boy Band) - vocals (choir)
- Zoran Predin (of Lačni Franz) - vocals (choir)
- Igor Popović (of Jakarta) - vocals (choir)
- Vlatko Stefanovski (of Leb i Sol) - vocals (choir), guitar (solo)
- Dragan Jovanović - guitar
- Dušan Petrović - bass guitar
- Slobodan Đorđević - drums
- Dragan Ilić - keyboards
Bora Đorđević and Goran Bregović, leaders of Riblja Čorba and Bijelo Dugme, respectively — two of the most popular Yugoslav bands at the time — openly refused to take part in the song recording. It was later revealed that Đorđević's refusal may have been based, at least partly, on his wrong assumption about the project being government-initiated, unaware that Yugoslav musicians and industry people started it on their own accord. In a 1985 interview, published before the song recording, he stated:
|“||No, I won't [appear on the record]! I took part in a show organized to raise funds for the Ethiopians, and that's enough as far as I'm concerned. Everybody's starting some actions to help them, and no one is trying to help Yugoslavia! I will play day and night for free, for charity, for whatever you want, but only after they lower our [musicians'] monstrous taxes, after they allow us to import musical instruments, after they give us apartments... When we're needed to play for charity - we musicians are great, but normally we're shit! If we could finally get the status of cultural workers, we could play for free, with pleasure!||”|
|“||I oppose it. In my opinion, the whole thing's a manipulation without moral or economic justification. Americans are now like bosses. Here's the money, right? Those mother... Should I now look at those troubadours drunk with joy, giving away 0.03% of their paycheck [...] They won't give up smoking Marlboro, but will give something out of solidarity, something they will get back in several months, in the form of raw materials or manpower. They will sell food to Somalia so they can buy guns. [...] It would be like me robbing a man on the street for 200,000 million US dollars thus leaving him to starve. And after five years I meet him again, and I give him two Yugoslav dinars so he can survive. It's idiotic. They will always be in solidarity, as long as the others are hungry.||”|
|“||It stung me and hurt me when they didn't invite me to YU Rock Misija, because I believe I could have, not as a singer but as a songwriter, I could have written at least a strophe...||”|
The corresponding charity concert was held on Red Star Stadium on June 15, 1985, a little less than a month before Live Aid. Beside the musicians who participated in the song recording and the bands they were members of, other acts performed as well. Some 20,000 spectators attended the concert. The concert featured, in the following order:
- Magično Oko
- Ekatarina Velika
- YU Rock Misija
- Plavi Orkestar
- Denis & Denis
- Atomsko Sklonište
- Peđa D'Boy Band
- Željko Bebek
- Bajaga i Instruktori
- Slađana Milošević
- Elvis J. Kurtovich & His Meteors
- Vatreni Poljubac
- Lačni Franz
- Električni Orgazam
In an interview for Rockovnik, Dubravka Marković, an editor of the show Hit meseca, stated about the concert:
|“||We had problems with the weather. It was raining, then it stopped. The second problem was that the Red Star Stadium management people did not allow the crowd to get out on the pitch, so the audience and the performers shouted at each other from the opposite ends of the stadium.||”|
|“||They didn't let the crowd onto the pitch, so we [performers] got positioned at the stadium's western stand while the crowd was opposite us at the eastern stand. All of which was a 'brilliant' solution because we'd look out from the stage over the empty pitch without even being able to see if there's anybody on the other side. And the echo was so huge, I remember Milić Vukašinović cursing into the microphone while we were live on air because he thought someone turned on the delay. When you would say 'good evening', the people over on the east stand heard it as 'good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening.....'.||”|
Vukašinović, performing with his band Vatreni Poljubac and dissatisfied with constant echo, stopped playing in the middle of the song "Živio Rock 'n' Roll" ("Long Live Rock 'n' Roll"), saying angrily into the microphone: "It's not good... Fuck it, it's not good!". His outburst was criticized by a large part of the public.
Airing during Live Aid
The song was, alongside a corresponding message from Belgrade, conveyed by Mladen Popović, aired on Wembley Stadium during Live Aid concert, between Run–D.M.C. and Black Sabbath performances in Philadelphia.
Funds raised and legacy
According to Peca Popović, the funds raised from the sales of the "Za milion godina" single were 256,000 US dollars and 170,000 dollars from the concert tickets, for a grand total of 426,000 dollars.
In 2007, Serbian critic Dimitrije Vojnov named "Za milion godina" one of ten most important records in the history of Yugoslav rock music, writing:
|“||This project is one of the best indicators of how developed Yugoslav rock scene was, because with it our pop and rock performers managed to start a relevant charity campaign and join a global movement, which featured representatives from the developed scenes. Today, it would be completely absurd to gather our performers of this genre and expect them to articulate something which could be notable at the local level. [...] In the video [...] everybody is smiling and dancing, and no one's face tells what would happen to us soon after that. In this video, we can see, beside political unity, the unity of the scene, where Bijelo Dugme isn't strictly, militantly separated from Idoli, which is what would later happen, when all other separations become militant. In extreme case, this project remains a symbol of the time when we were helping the people in need, and several years later we were the ones who were receiving aid from charity projects of this type.||”|
In 2011, Mladen Popović made a similar statement for the documentary series Rockovnik:
|“||It meant something that, at the time, we were the ones who were helping the people in need, and, unfortunately, only several years later, it was us who were receiving aid from the world.||”|
The piano version of "Za milion godina" appeared at the end of the last episode of Rockovnik, where it follows footage of former Yugoslav rock acts.
- Rockovnik, "Pogledaj dom svoj, anđele (Jugoslovenska rock scena 1985)", YouTube.com
- Mladen Popović at Discogs
- "Yugoslavian Aid", about YU Rock Misija at live-aid-dvd.com
- "Za milion godina" at Discogs
- "Jugoslavenski doprinos Live Aidu '85", muzika.hr
- "YU Rock Misija – 30 godina od sna", balkanrock.com
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