In the summer of 1989, rock-stars gathered at London Metropolis Studios to record all-star version of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” hit to help Armenia after the Spitak earthquake. Mediamax presents the special project dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Rock Aid Armenia to reveal previously undisclosed details.
Rock Aid Armenia special project is supported by the British Council.
Rock Aid Armenia founder Jon Dee recalls:
“At the end of 1989, the BBC called me up and asked if I was interested in doing a live radio broadcast to the Soviet Union featuring some of the key people from our ‘Smoke on the Water’ record.
David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, Ian Gillan from Deep Purple and Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden kindly agreed to be interviewed and so we ended up broadcasting live for an hour to the Soviet Union. It was amazing as millions of people in the USSR tuned in to listen and huge numbers of people from all across the USSR tried to call in.
Photo: Michael Putland/Rock Aid Armenia
Tony Iommi was supposed to join us to speak to us from a Black Sabbath gig that they were doing in St Petersburg. But so many people from the Soviet Union were calling the BBC switchboard that the lines between the UK and the USSR were full. Because of that, we could not get hold of Tony and he could not get hold of us!
That broadcast was also filmed and edited and put out on YouTube.
It must have cost some of the callers a lot of money, as many of them were on-hold on the phone for a very long time.
But again, it was a great success. Even though we got no income from this broadcast, millions of people listened to the show in Armenia and the USSR. And as a result of that broadcast, many people volunteered to help on the ground in the earthquake zone. So that made a real difference!”.
On 5 June 2019, Yerevan will host a gala night to mark the 30th anniversary of Rock Aid Armenia. Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and organizer of Rock Aid Armenia Jon Dee will attend the gala. The visit and celebration of the anniversary are organized by Mediamax Media Company and DoSomething (Australia).
The sponsor of Rock Aid Armenia’s 30th anniversary celebrations and the rock stars’ visit is IDBank. Koor Wines is the partner of the event.