"I love hymns and gospel music, but the idea of turning your music into a tool for evangelism is missing the point. Music is the language of the spirit anyway."
U2 to Perform at Tonight's Live WTC-Pentagon Attack Relief Telethon
September 21, 2001
U2 has officially joined an already-lengthy acting and musical talent lineup scheduled to perform and participate in the nationwide broadcast of a telethon aimed at boosting relief funds for the families of victims lost in last week's World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.
It is uncertain whether the Irish rock group will be participating live on site, via satellite or through a pre-recorded performance.
A source close to the band would also not comment on the subject, citing already tight security concerns in the wake of last week's terrorist acts.
Rumors flying fast among fans on U2-related websites, however, seem to suggest the group might perform a specially-altered version of the song "Peace on Earth," a track from their latest album, All That You Can't Leave Behind.
The song "Peace on Earth" was originally written by lead singer Bono as a tribute to the victims of a deadly car bomb blast in Omagh, Northern Ireland in August 15, 1998.
29 people were killed in the attack and over 200 others were badly injured.
An altered version of the song gained significant airplay on a number of radio stations across the country in the days following the September 11 attacks, in which 2 hijacked jetliners crashed into and collapsed the World Trade Center's famed Twin Towers in New York City.
Over 6,300 people remain missing and are now feared dead in the 110-story towers' collapse.
Another hijacked plane crashed into the U.S. Pentagon on the same day, doing massive damage and leaving an estimated 189 dead.
Tonight's telethon is aimed at boosting already-taxed federal relief funding for the families of those lost in both terror incidents.
Already on the long list of celebrity participants are George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Meg Ryan, Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone, Adam Sandler and Dennis Franz.
In addition to U2, musical artists Sting, Limp Bizkit, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion and Enrique Iglesias have also been confirmed as participants in the event.
Organizers also said a celebrity phone bank to take caller donations has been set up. Actors Field, Ryan, Nicholson, Stallone and Sandler will reportedly be among the many operators fielding calls for donations.
More than 30 television networks have agreed to participate in airing the program simultaneously. The event itself is being organized by the four largest: ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.
CMT: Country Music Television, Fox Sports Net, Hallmark Channel, Turner South and USA are among the latest cable networks to join in the broadcast.
The unprecedented commercial-free telecast begins at 9 p.m. EDT.
The special will also be heard on more than 8,000 radio stations.
© Byrne/@U2, 2001. All rights released.