Various Artists

No Nukes

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The No Nukes protest concert in 1979 was one of the defining '70s events for aging '60s hippies, a way to prove that they held political and social power. In many ways, the concert worked -- by the end of the '80s, nuclear weapons and power eventually faded away -- but that doesn't mean that the double-disc memento of the concert has aged gracefully. The concert was top-loaded with folk-rockers and laid-back California pop stars just past their prime. By this point, Crosby, Stills & Nash, James Taylor, Poco, Nicolette Larson and Jesse Colin Young had all reached their peak, while the Doobie Brothers and Jackson Browne were still at the crest of their popularity. Out of all the performers, only Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen were young, fresh and vital; not coincidentally, their tracks are the ones that rock the hardest and have aged the best. The remainder of No Nukes functions as an artifact, complete with dated music (the smooth folk-rock sounds slick and self-satisfied), forgotten names (the name John Hall will be unfamiliar to anyone who didn't live through this, and "Plutonium Is Forever" won't make anyone want to learn about his past), and a certain self-satisfied smugness that was the signature of the narcissistic late '70s. On that level, No Nukes is fascinating, but the music on the record fails to stand the test of time.

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