Red Hot Marks 30th Anniversary of Fighting HIV/AIDS Through Popular Culture

On September 25th, 1990, Red Hot released its debut compilation album and trailblazing, multimedia HIV/AIDS benefit, Red Hot + Blue. Featuring music, art, fashion and film from David Byrne, Neneh Cherry, Erasure, Jean Paul Gaultier, Keith Haring, Debbie Harry & Iggy Pop, Jim Jarmusch, Annie Lennox, k.d. lang, U2, Tom Waits and dozens more paying tribute to the songs of Cole Porter, the project set the precedent for cultural activism as it raised awareness, reduced stigma, changed public behavior and benefited the LGBTQ community and other affected groups like never before. Red Hot + Blue sold over a million copies, led to a radical TV special seen around the world, launched a BBC documentary, and since then, both the non-profit and its co-founder John Carlin have spent the past three decades continuing to fight the global HIV/AIDS pandemic through the power of pop culture, rallying the most influential artists of – or ahead of – the current moment.

Today, after more than 500 collaborations, 20 groundbreaking albums, and tens of millions of dollars raised for hundreds of vital organizations, Red Hot announces that it will celebrate their 30th Anniversary throughout the fall, beginning with a series of five seminal reissues out digitally on October 23rd.

Alongside a twenty-track anniversary version of Red Hot + Blue, Red Hot will release its indie rock anthology Red Hot + Bothered on streaming services for the first time ever, following the 1995 physical edition distributed with fanzines that promoted safe sex. Red Hot will also share digital reissues of 1996’s Offbeat – A Red Hot Sound Trip, a companion album to The Beat Experience – an innovational CD produced with The Whitney Museum of American Art – with ambient, spoken word and post-rock contributions from Amiri Baraka, David Byrne, Moby, My Bloody Valentine, Skylab, Tortoise and more; 1997’s Silencio=Muerte: Red Hot + Latin, which focused on fighting HIV/AIDS in Latinx communities and showcased special collaborations between Los Lobos & Money Mark, Cafe Tacuba & David Byrne, Melissa Etheridge and many others; 2001’s Red Hot + Indigo, a tribute to Duke Ellington from the likes of The Roots, D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, and Black Star & Ron Carter.

To accompany the news, Red Hot has unveiled a new package of six vintage remixes created for Neneh Cherry’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” distributed physically in 1990 but never released on DSPs until now. As the Red Hot + Blue lead single and album opener, originally paired with an iconic music video directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Neneh Cherry’s take on the song marked one of the first times AIDS was described directly in pop culture.

Listen to “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” remixed by Blacksmith, Afrika Baby Bam & Booga Bear, David Z and more here:

As the world is faced with yet another pandemic, Red Hot’s decades of work are more pertinent and influential than ever. Co-founder and, along with Leigh Blake, Red Hot + Blue producer/director John Carlin explains to Rolling Stone:

“For those of us living in New York 30 years ago, HIV/AIDS was as devastating as COVID-19 is today. But what made Red Hot + Blue so impactful and different was that it celebrated life and the power of music and art to lift people up during dark times. Leigh Blake and I wanted to invent something different than a live event charity benefit, so we created a multimedia project that combined music, film, fashion and art. I think that’s why it still looks and sounds great as an emblem of the time in which it was made, with some timeless sublime creative elements that we can enjoy and learn from today. This is also because Red Hot pioneered using pop culture for social change – good propaganda – to fight for LGBTQ rights and to promote safer sex. 30 years ago it was condoms, today it’s masks. And we raised millions of dollars through album sales and gave it away in ways that no one else was doing at the time; such as almost a million dollars to ACT UP, which was the only significant outside donation they received and helped them and the affiliated group, TAG (Treatment Action Group), bring the drugs to market that have let people with HIV live normal lives ever since.”

Between now and World AIDS Day on December 1, Red Hot will have more archival materials and even new music to share. From George Michael, Madonna and Nirvana to Wu-Tang Clan and De La Soul, to Bon Iver, The National, Sharon Jones, John Legend, Chance the Rapper and Robyn, Red Hot’s curatorial instincts have consistently captured the spirit of the times for the past 30 years and counting. In addition to Red Hot + Blueand the forthcoming reissues, their discography includes such titles as No Alternative, Red Hot + Rio, America Is Dying Slowly, Fela Kuti tribute Red Hot + Riot, Dark Was The Night, Day Of The Dead and many more you can find here.

Neneh Cherry – “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” Remixes
I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Blacksmith “Brixton Bass Mix”)
I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Original Afrika Baby Bam & Booga Bear Mix)
I’ve Got You Under My Skin (David Z Remix)
I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Ronin “Skin Deep”)
I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Blacksmith “UPSO”)
I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Ronin “In Deep”)

Red Hot + Blue Tracklist
I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Neneh Cherry
In the Still of the Night – The Neville Brothers
You Do Something To Me – Sinéad O’Connor
Begin the Beguine – Salif Keita
Love for Sale – Fine Young Cannibals
Well Did You Evah! – Debbie Harry & Iggy Pop
Miss Otis Regrets/Just One of Those Things – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl
Don’t Fence Me In – David Byrne
It’s All Right with Me – Tom Waits
Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye – Annie Lennox
Night and Day – U2
I Love Paris – Les Negresses Vertes
So in Love – k.d. Lang
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? – Thompson Twins
Too Darn Hot – Erasure
I Get a Kick Out of You – Jungle Brothers
Down In The Depths – Lisa Stansfield
From This Moment On – Jimmy Somerville
After You, Who? – Jody Watley
Do I Love You? – Aztec Camera