In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the music world came together to help raise funds for those affected with two concerts:  America: A Tribute To Heroes, which aired on Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS on September 21, 2001 and The Concert For New York City, which aired on VH1 on October 20, 2001 from Madison Square Garden.

These shows provided some of the most moving performances in rock history and helped lift a nation still grieving from such an incredible loss.  Here are five of our favorite performances.

  • Billy Joel - 'New York State of Mind' - America: A Tribute to Heroes

    The Piano Man’s ode to the “City That Never Sleeps” became an unexpected rallying cry and a song for comfort in the wake of 9/11. His performance of the song during America: A Tribute to Heroes is a large reason for that. “New York State of Mind” has just hit differently ever since.

  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - 'My City of Ruins' - America: A Tribute to Heroes

    The story of “My City of Ruins” is a unique one. Springsteen originally penned the tune in tribute to Asbury Park, N.J. as part of a Christmas charity show. The Boss would perform the song during America: A Tribute to Heroes and eventually record a studio version for his 2002 album The Rising. It’s another song that years later continues to evoke the aftermath of 9/11.

  • Neil Young - 'Imagine' - America: A Tribute to Heroes

    Young provided a very moving cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” during America: A Tribute to Heroes. Accompanied by a string section, it still causes goosebumps decades later. It’s difficult to watch this performance without getting a lump in your throat.

  • Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - 'I Won't Back Down' - America: A Tribute to Heroes

    “I Won’t Back Down” had been an anthem for years, but performed in this capacity, it took on a far deeper meaning. A song already about strength and defiance hit even deeper, especially for the many brave first responders.

  • The Who - 'Who Are You' - The Concert For New York City

    One of the most unexpected moments of The Concert For New York City was the set from The Who, which ended up stealing the show. Sadly, it would end up being one of the final high-profile shows from The Who before the untimely death of bassist John Entwistle in June 2002. Their performance of “Who Are You” was nothing short of electric, and the joy it brought to many first responders and their families in attendance is palpable.

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