Music boycotts demonstrate show does not always go on
Some politically charged musicians have ditched the stage in favour of a soapbox
Canadian rocker Bryan Adams recently cancelled a show in Mississippi over the state's new law that allows religious groups and some private businesses to refuse service to gay couples, joining a lineup of artists who have boycotted cities, states and even countries over politics.
Taking a stand on stand-your-ground laws
During a 2013 concert in Quebec City, Stevie Wonder said he would no longer perform in Florida or any other state in the U.S. with stand-your-ground laws. "I will not perform in that state or that part of the world," he told the crowd. His comments came shortly after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. The stand-your-ground law, which allows people to use deadly force if they believe their life is in danger, was a factor in the Zimmerman trial.
Canada is 'fashionably dead'
Morrissey, former frontman of The Smiths and Meat is Murder crooner, has boycotted Canada since 2006 over the country's seal hunt. "I fully realize that the absence of any Morrissey concerts in Canada is unlikely to bring the Canadian economy to its knees, but it is our small protest against this horrific slaughter," he said at the time. In 2014, he reiterated his opposition to the hunt and need for a boycott, saying until the industry is abolished, "Canada itself is regrettably fashionably dead."
Must do something about it
Paul McCartney vowed in 2005 to never perform in China after seeing an undercover video shot for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals showing dogs and cats being abused and killed for their fur. "I wouldn't even dream of going over there to play, in the same way I wouldn't go to a country that supported apartheid," said the former Beatle. However, McCartney's stance on China seemed to soften, saying in 2008 how he was "kind of interested" in playing there.
Wish you were here
Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters in 2006 joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement, which aims to apply political and economic pressure on Israel to comply with international law and Palestinian rights, according to the BDS website. "If Israel works toward equality and actual, real, genuine democracy, with no apartheid or racism infecting the society, then I will go over there and play," Waters said in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone.
Rage against Arizona's immigration law
In 2010, Arizona passed a law that allowed local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there's "reasonable suspicion" they're in the U.S. without proper documentation. The list of musical acts who pledged to boycott the state included Rage Against the Machine, Kanye West, Sonic Youth and Cypress Hill.
Arizona's public enemy
Hip hop group Public Enemy also boycotted Arizona, but for a different reason back in 1991. The group sought to fight the power of a state government that refused to acknowledge Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a holiday, releasing a song called By the Time I Get to Arizona. The state finally did recognize the holiday in 1992, but Public Enemy didn't lift its boycott until 2006.
Colorado, can you hear me?
Following the passage of a 1992 bill in Colorado that denied gays and lesbians legislative and judicial protection from discrimination, Barbra Streisand called for others to join her in a boycott of the state. However, her boycott was not entirely music related. "It appears a boycott is under way in Colorado, and I will personally honour it and find some other state to vacation in," the singer said.
Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss
Bruce Springsteen is no stranger to boycotts. Before his recent refusal to play in North Carolina because of the state's anti-LGBTQ bathroom law, the Boss shunned apartheid South Africa, taking part in the 1985 protest song Sun City performed by Artists United Against Apartheid. He eventually played South Africa in 2014.
'Ain't nothing but a joke'
The Sun City song, which involved dozens of recording artists — including U2, Run DMC, Keith Richards, Joey Ramone, Jimmy Cliff, Lou Reed and Bob Dylan — was masterminded by Springsteen's E Street band member Steven Van Zandt. Van Zandt formed Artists United Against Apartheid who all agreed to boycott South Africa, and recorded the song describing the country's racist policies as "ain't nothing but a joke."