Moscow Music Peace Festival

The Moscow Music Peace Festival was a one-time gathering of high-profile metal bands and artists for a performance in Moscow, Soviet Union on 12 and 13 August 1989 to promote world peace and establish international cooperation in fighting the drug war in Russia. It was part of an era of momentous change in the Soviet Union.

Moscow Music Peace Festival
(Rock against drugs & alcohol)
Moscow Music Peace Festival - Volume 2.jpg
Cover of Moscow Music Peace Festival Vol.2
Dates12 and 13 August 1989
Location(s)Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Years active1989
Founded byDoc McGhee, Stas Namin


The concert was put together by the Make a Difference Foundation, its founder, rock producer and manager Doc McGhee, Stas Namin[2][3] and other major players in the Soviet Union and the United States. It is often stated that McGhee agreed to bring his artists to Moscow after becoming involved in a drug scandal himself and wishing to avoid a jail sentence, but he explicitly denied that in 2011. "We always wanted to go over to Moscow and do the first rock show in the Soviet Union. I wanted to do their Woodstock." Since it had also been part of that plan that the proceeds would go to Make a Difference and doctors would be brought to the USSR to teach methods of treating addiction (Soviet doctors at the time primarily used electroshock therapy for that purpose), he did not expect the sentencing judge would have denied him the opportunity.[4]

Mötley Crüe have been on record stating they were upset with McGhee at this point in time. They felt McGhee was favoring Bon Jovi, whom he also managed, and whom Crüe disdained. When Bon Jovi closed the show, they used pyrotechnics, which Mötley Crüe had been told they could not do (McGhee claims it was a malfunction on one side of the stadium that he did not hear because he was backstage). Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, whom McGhee also managed, says Tommy Lee went over to him and said "Your manager's a fucking asshole" and chugged most of a bottle of vodka Bach had been drinking (up to this point, Lee has said, it was the first time the band had done a show sober). Then he ran up to McGhee, punched him in the face and told him he could go manage The Chipmunks because he was no longer Mötley Crüe's manager. Bon Jovi fired him as well shortly afterwards. Lee and his bandmates were still so angry they refused to fly home on the same plane as McGhee.[4]


The event was held over two days in Moscow's largest stadium, Central Lenin Stadium (now called Luzhniki Stadium), which has a seating capacity of about 100,000.[5] However, as the concert used a proscenium stage rather than an arena stage, about a thousand seats behind the stage were not occupied. About 120,000 tickets were sold in total.[6] The event was the first rock concert to be held at the stadium, which had previously been used primarily for sporting events.



Each band performed about a 8-song set. At the end of the concert a collaboration of musicians, featuring Vince Neil & Sebastian Bach on vocals and Jason Bonham on drums, performed a rendition of "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin.

The performances were shown on TV and are recapped in a video directed by Wayne Isham. Bootlegged copies of the performances have been uploaded to the Internet.


Skid Row[7]Edit

  1. "Makin’ a Mess"
  2. "Piece of Me"
  3. "Big Guns"
  4. "Holidays in the Sun" (Sex Pistols cover)
  5. "18 and Life"
  6. "Youth Gone Wild"

Gorky Park[8]Edit

  1. "Action"
  2. "Hit Me with the News"
  3. "Within Your Eyes"
  4. "Danger"
  5. "Try to Find Me"
  6. "Bang"
  7. "Child of the Wind"
  8. "My Generation" (The Who cover)


  1. "Bad Seamstress Blues"
  2. "Somebody Save Me"
  3. "If You Don't Like It"
  4. "Push Push"
  5. "The Last Mile"
  6. "Coming Home"
  7. "Gypsy Road"
  8. "Nobody's Fool"
  9. "Shake Me"

Mötley Crüe[10]Edit

  1. "All in the Name of..."
  2. "Live Wire"
  3. "Shout at the Devil"
  4. "Looks That Kill"
  5. "Wild Side"
  6. "Smokin' in the Boys Room" (Brownsville Station cover)
  7. "Girls, Girls, Girls"
  8. "Jailhouse Rock" (Elvis Presley cover)

Ozzy Osbourne[11]Edit

  1. "I Don't Know"
  2. "Flying High Again"
  3. "Shot in the Dark"
  4. "Miracle Man"
  5. "Sweet Leaf*"
  6. "War Pigs*"
  7. "Tattooed Dancer"
  8. "Suicide Solution"
  9. "Crazy Train"
  10. "Paranoid*"

* = Black Sabbath songs


  1. "Blackout"
  2. "Big City Nights"
  3. "Bad Boys Running Wild"
  4. "Rhythm of Love"
  5. "The Zoo"
  6. "No One Like You"
  7. "The Song of the Volga Boatmen" (Russian folk song)
  8. "Holiday"
  9. "Still Loving You"
  10. "Dynamite"
  11. "Rock You Like a Hurricane"

Bon Jovi[13]Edit

  1. "Lay Your Hands on Me"
  2. "I'd Die for You"
  3. "Wild in the Streets"
  4. "You Give Love a Bad Name"
  5. "Let It Rock"
  6. "Living in Sin"
  7. "Blood on Blood"
  8. "Runaway"
  9. "Wanted Dead or Alive"
  10. "Livin’ on a Prayer"
  11. "Bad Medicine"


  1. "Hound Dog" (Elvis Presley cover) - Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Scorpions
  2. "Long Tall Sally"/"Blue Suede Shoes" - Scorpions, Gorky Park, David Bryan
  3. "Rock and Roll" (Led Zeppelin cover) - Skid Row, Mötley Crüe, Zakk Wylde, Jason Bonham[14]
  4. "Give Peace a Chance" (Plastic Ono Band cover)


Make a Difference Foundation: Stairway To Heaven/Highway To Hell
Compilation album by
Various artists
ReleasedNovember 1989
ProducerBruce Fairbairn
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic   [15]

Stairway to Heaven/Highway to Hell was a 1989 compilation album featuring bands that performed at the Moscow Music Peace Festival. It was released by the Make a Difference Foundation. Each song is a cover of a famous solo artist or rock band who had suffered a drug- or alcohol-related death. The liner notes include an extensive dedication list of such artists. The album closes with a few collaborative efforts including a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick" and a live medley of songs from Elvis Presley and Led Zeppelin.

The album title is a reference to the songs "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin and "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC. Although neither track appears on the album, both Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and AC/DC singer Bon Scott had alcohol-related deaths in 1980.

Track listingEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Original artistLength
1."My Generation" (Gorky Park)Pete TownshendThe Who4:46
2."Holidays in the Sun" (Skid Row)Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock, Johnny RottenSex Pistols3:35
3."I Can't Explain" (Scorpions)Pete TownshendThe Who3:21
4."Purple Haze" (Ozzy Osbourne)Jimi HendrixThe Jimi Hendrix Experience4:21
5."Teaser" (Mötley Crüe)Tommy Bolin, Jeff CookTommy Bolin5:18
6."The Boys Are Back in Town" (Bon Jovi)Phil LynottThin Lizzy4:03
7."Move Over" (Cinderella)Janis JoplinJanis Joplin3:24
8."Moby Dick" (Drum Madness)John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy PageLed Zeppelin5:54
9."Hound Dog"Jerry Leiber, Mike StollerBig Mama Thornton3:19
10."Long Tall Sally/Blue Suede Shoes"Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, Enotris Johnson, Richard Penniman/Carl PerkinsLittle Richard/Carl Perkins3:02
11."Rock & Roll"John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert PlantLed Zeppelin4:49
Total length:45:52


Noted in books such as Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal, the concert also showcased the ego clashes which eventually helped lead to the collapse of glam metal shortly thereafter. Many of the bands argued over who went on before whom, and many were envious of Bon Jovi, who not only headlined the event but also had a much more theatrical stage spectacle and longer set times; each band was supposed to do a stripped-down show with just music and no spectacular theatrics. Jon Bon Jovi supposedly offered his headlining spot to Ozzy Osbourne after Ozzy threatened to not go through with his set. Ozzy's set was initially scheduled before Mötley Crüe's set. Apparently, Ozzy felt his band was bigger and he should go on after Mötley Crüe. To solve the problem, Mötley Crüe went on before Ozzy but the tape was edited so it appeared Ozzy went on before Mötley Crüe to the viewers back in the U.S. Those involved in the show's production felt this was an egotistical bush move on Ozzy's behalf since this was supposed to be for charity, and left many in the rock 'n roll community confused since Ozzy and Mötley Crüe toured together for Ozzy's Bark at the Moon and Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil albums, respectively, and became fast friends during the tour.

The members of Mötley Crüe were so incensed about preferences shown to Bon Jovi that Tommy Lee punched manager Doc McGhee (who was also the manager for Bon Jovi) backstage at the venue (McGhee was fired shortly thereafter), the band opt to fly back to the US on their own. The concert was also often chided by the bands themselves as being hypocritical, as many of the musicians were drinking or using drugs at the time despite the ties with the Make a Difference Foundation.

The event became known for inspiring the song "Wind of Change" by the Scorpions, a ballad which became a soundtrack to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of Soviet Union The Crooked Media podcast "Winds of Change" provides some evidence to suggest that Doc McGhee was covertly leveraged by the US Government to produce this concert as a vehicle to create an origin story for the Scorpions song as part of a secret culture operation to influence the Soviet government {}.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Austerlitz, Saul (2017-09-22). "Moscow Music Peace Festival: How Glam Metal Helped End the Cold War". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  2. ^ Стас НАМИН: «Я просто живу по кайфу» Archived 2017-06-14 at the Wayback Machine. Вечерний Екатеринбург. 25 октября 2012 (in Russian)
  3. ^ «Русский Вудсток» здесь и сейчас. Радио ЭхоМосквы. 19 мая, 2011 (in Russian)
  4. ^ a b Marks, Craig; Tannenbaum, Rob (2011). "43". I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. New York, NY: Dutton. pp. 498–501. ISBN 978-0-525-95230-5.
  5. ^ Первый визит Оззи Осборна в СССР: как это было и к чему привело (in Russian)
  6. ^ Алексей Байков (2013-09-20). "Moscow Music and Peace Festival: блеск и нищета "русского Вудстока"". Сетевое издание «Городской информационный канал». Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  7. ^ "Skid Row Setlist at Music Peace Festival 1989".
  8. ^ "Gorky Park Setlist at Music Peace Festival 1989".
  9. ^ "Cinderella Setlist at Music Peace Festival 1989".
  10. ^ "Mötley Crüe Setlist at Music Peace Festival 1989".
  11. ^ "Ozzy Osbourne Setlist at Music Peace Festival 1989".
  12. ^ "Scorpions Setlist at Music Peace Festival 1989".
  13. ^ a b "Bon Jovi Setlist at Music Peace Festival 1989".
  14. ^ Stairway To Heaven/Highway to Hell Original CD insert.
  15. ^ Make a Difference Foundation: Stairway to Heaven/°Highway to Hell - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic, retrieved 2021-03-17
  • Konow, David, Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal (2002) ISBN 9780609807323

External linksEdit