Contact Us

That Time Western Rockers Played the Moscow Music Peace Festival

Subscribe to Ultimate Classic Rock on

On Aug. 12, 1989, a remarkable lineup boasting some of the world’s most popular hard-rock and heavy-metal bands performed at the Moscow Music Peace Festival. Artists included Bon JoviOzzy OsbourneMotley Crue, the ScorpionsSkid Row and Cinderella.

For hundreds of thousands of ecstatic Russian youths, the two-day event (which also featured homegrown rock bands like Gorky Park, Brigada-S and Nuance) was a lifelong dream come true: the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll manifestation of Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev’s Glasnost policies, which slowly opened the Soviet Union to the outside world and thawed the decades-old Cold War.

For the rockers slated to perform, the Moscow Music Peace Festival offered a singular opportunity to swoop into a colossal and largely untapped market. They were there to expose their music to thousands of prospective fans who were eager to absorb every bit of rock ‘n’ roll they could get their hands on.

For manager Doc McGhee, who oversaw the business concerns for every band that made the trip, the mega-event conceived and orchestrated by his Make a Difference Foundation doubled as … community service? Yep. McGhee had been found guilty of drug trafficking the previous year and, as part of his plea bargain to avoid jail time, launched the foundation to help promote anti-drug messages through events like the Moscow Music Peace Festival.

In the end, the event rewarded thousands of oppressed Soviet youths with a well-deserved couple of days of loud, colorful musical entertainment. But it also produced a mountain of headaches for McGhee due to the clashing egos on display. When it was all over, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi both fired him. Maybe they should have left the “peace” out of the title.

See the Top 100 Albums of the ’80s

Next: Top 10 Live Aid Videos

Recommended For You

Around the Web

Best of Ultimate Classic Rock

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!