Fifteen years have passed and yet the horror of the 9/11 attacks can still be felt — or at least, relevant — until today.
On that tragic Tuesday morning, the crashing of hijacked planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and rural Pennsylvania killed nearly 3,000 people and injured over 6,000 others.
As a way to cope up with the maelstrom of emotions brought about by the attacks, many have turned to and sought refuge in music. Tribute performances were held and songs were crafted to pacify the grieving and to honor the heroes whose lives were taken.
In this list, we’ve compiled nine songs that were inspired by the unfortunate event.
Believe – Yellowcard
The song was written from the perspective of someone being rescued from one of the towers of the World Trade Center.
Freedom – Paul McCartney
Having witnessed the crashing of the towers while sitting in a plane parked at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport., Paul McCartney wrote this song that compellingly calls for everyone’s right to have freedom.
Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning) – Alan Jackson
In a form of questions, country star Alan Jackson tries to capture the emotions brought about by the tragic attacks in this Grammy award-winning track.
I Can’t See New York – Tori Amos
Taken from her critically acclaimed Scarlet’s Walk album, this Tori Amos tune is about a girl riding a plane who can’t seem to see New York from above because it has turned to a “hunting ground.” Though the song was written months before the attacks, Tori admitted that her composition became more poignant after the attacks.
“I really didn’t understand it until that day. I didn’t understand some of the visuals I was getting when I was writing it. And then it started to really become 3-D as I was walking around Fifth Avenue, smelling all that burning. The burning that never goes away in your head,” she said in an interview.
My Blue Manhattan – Ryan Adams
This melancholic Adams ballad is a love letter to Manhattan, where the World Trade Center complex is located.
The Rising – Bruce Springsteen
The revolutionary rock song is the title track of the Springsteen effort dedicated to the victims of the 9/11 attacks. “The Rising” was described by The New York Times as a piece in which “one man’s afterlife is an endless longing for the physical touch of those left behind, and the music climbs toward jubilation as an act of will
Let’s Roll – Neil Young
This Neil Young track is an ode created to immortalize the gallantry of Flight 93 heroes. The hijacked plane was supposed to hit Washington, DC, but as the passengers took action to go against the terrorists, it crashed into rural Pennsylvania instead. The incident took the lives of all those who were on board.
Based on reports, the phrase “Let’s roll” was part of the last audible words (“Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”) remarked by Todd Beamer, one of the passengers who led the heroic act.
An Open Letter to NYC – The Beastie Boys
This urban jam is basically a song that speaks of the American hip-hop group’s fondness for NYC, their home place. It also alludes to the tragic September attacks, especially in the line Since 911 we’re still livin’/ And lovin’ life we’ve been given.”
My Last Breath – Evanescence
Inspired by the unfortunate plane hijacking incidents, this powerful Evanescence anthem is written from the point of view of someone trapped inside the tower, literally taking his last breath.