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On November 10, Greenpeace Canada will release an exclusive two-disc live album dubbed Amchitka, the 1970 Concert That Launched Greenpeace. That concert, an anti-nuke fundraiser held in protest of the government’s nuclear bomb testing in Amchitka, Alaska, featured inspired performances by folk music icons Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. Also featured is Phil Ochs, the cult figure and protest singer who took his own life in 1976.
A press release shed’s some light on the historic occasion: “The concert, which took place at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia on 16 October 1970, was organized by former trial lawyer and activist Irving Stowe. As co-director of the Don’t Make A Wave Committee, he raised enough money to send 11 peace activists by boat, christened The Greenpeace, to the Aleutian Island of Amchitka. The activists were unsuccessful in stopping the tests, but their voyage in 1971 marks the birth of the worldwide organization known today as Greenpeace.”
“The Amchitka voyage would not have happened without the concert, and so we owe a debt of gratitude to Irving Stowe, and the talents of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Phil Ochs for generating the momentum that ultimately launched Greenpeace,” says Bruce Cox, Greenpeace Canada’s executive director. “The activists that traveled to Amchitka set the example that has guided and defined Greenpeace: non-violent direct action to protect our environment and motivate societal change.”
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The YouTube version above is not from the Oct. 16, 1970 concert; she performed A Case of You solo at that concert accompanying herself on dulcimer. The photo is from a later gig of James Taylor’s on the East Coast that Joni made a surprise appearance at.