Amnesty’s ‘Chimes’ ring on Dylan’s 50th

Music for Screens: Winter 2012

To mark its 50th anniversary, Amnesty International is releasing a 75-song compilation featuring a slew of renowned artists covering Bob Dylan, who also celebrates 50 years as a performer this year.

Sting, Pete Townshend, Tom Morello and Pete Seeger line up on “Chimes of Freedom” alongside some surprising contributors such as Miley Cyrus, Adele and Ke$ha (a self-professed Dylan fanatic) to cover the one-time politically charged troubadour, with all proceeds supporting the human rights organization.

Executive producer Jeff Ayeroff wanted to top the ambitious John Lennon tribute “Instant Karma” he helped orchestrate for Amnesty in 2007. “I said the only way I’d do it was to get Bob Dylan to donate his publishing,” Ayeroff says. “Lo and behold, Jeff Rosen, who manages Bob Dylan, facilitated that happening.”

Ayeroff, co-producer Julie Yannatta and the folks at Amnesty broke out their enormous Rolodexes and called in some favors. “There was no recording or A&R budget,” Yannatta explains. “Every artist donated their art, skill, time and craft.”

“The analogy could be to a rent party,” adds Ayeroff. “We said, ‘Hey, come over to the house and bring a beer, bring your friends and contribute something.’ And instead of 15 people showing up, 76 did.”

Most of the participating musicians have a strong affinity for both Amnesty and Dylan. Lucinda Williams, who covers “Trying to Get to Heaven,” says she couldn’t say no when Amnesty came calling. “First of all, it’s for Amnesty — a great cause,” she says. “Also, I love Bob Dylan’s music. Those are both great reasons … so I jumped on board right away.”

Ziggy Marley, who offers up a moving, acoustic rendition of “Blowin’ in the Wind,” points out there’s a natural affinity between the work of Dylan and Amnesty. “Dylan did a lot of protest songs against war that stand up for the rights of human beings. He’s an icon for that so it’s appropriate to do Dylan songs because of what he has done.”

A handful of behind-the-scenes videos have surfaced online, including Ke$ha’s emotive, mostly a cappella rendition of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” (showing a more fragile side of the brazen pop star) and Townshend discussing Dylan’s enduring influence. What’s more, Starbucks will release an abbreviated, two-disc version of the compilation (down from the original four) the same day as its U.S. release Jan. 24 through Fontana Distribution.

As for a “Chimes of Freedom” concert, Karen Scott, Amnesty International’s manager of music relations, is hopeful:

“We would love for there to be a tour or concert behind this album,” she says, pointing out that Amnesty’s incredibly successful Human Rights Concerts in the ’80s and ’90s featuring the likes of U2, the Police and Bruce Springsteen were led by the artists themselves. “We’ve found that the most successful concerts happen when the artists stand up and say they want to do this for Amnesty.”


More Biz

  • David Lubliner Moves to UTA From

    Veteran WME Agent David Lubliner to Join UTA

    William Morris Endeavor agent David Lubliner is departing the company for a post at United Talent Agency, individuals familiar with the move told Variety. The parting of ways was amicable, the insiders added. Lubliner was a veteran in WME’s motion picture literary department. Rumors of his exit had been floating since Hollywood reopened for the new [...]

  • Bruce Tufeld Dead: Hollywood Agent and

    Hollywood Agent and Manager Bruce Tufeld Dies at 66

    Bruce Tufeld, a Hollywood agent and manager who once repped stars like Rob Lowe, Laura Dern, and Kelsey Grammer, died Tuesday in Los Angeles as a result of complications from liver cancer. He was 66. The son of respected television announcer Richard “Dick” Tufeld and Adrienne Tufeld, Bruce began his career as an assistant at ICM [...]

  • R Kelly protest

    Protesters Rally Outside Sony Music Headquarters, Demand the Company Drop R. Kelly

    Standing in the cold with megaphones outside of Sony Music’s New York headquarters, a group of activists delivered the company, parent of Kelly’s longtime label RCA, a petition signed by over 217,000 people demanding that the singer be dropped from the label. The rally comes less than a week after a plane carrying a banner [...]

  • Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at DuArt

    Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at New York's DuArt Film Labs, Dies at 88

    Robert Smith, a longtime executive with New York’s DuArt Film Labs, died Jan. 11 in Montvale, N.J. He was 88. Smith spent some 62 years with DuArt, the film processing and post-production facility founded in 1922 in the penthouse of an automobile garage in Midtown. Smith rose to president of DuArt before retiring in 2015. [...]

  • Fake Washington Post

    Fake Editions of Washington Post Distributed in D.C.

    The Washington Post was forced to issue a statement on Wednesday morning after commuters were handed fake print copies of the newspaper with a headline claiming President Donald Trump had fled the White House. “There are fake print editions of The Washington Post being distributed around downtown DC, and we are aware of a website [...]

  • Stock market Stock buyback

    Stock Buybacks Leave Firms Without Funds to Invest in Future (Column)

    Corporate giants on the S&P 500 have spent more than $720 billion during the past year on stock buybacks. Media and entertainment firms account for only a fraction of that spending, but even $1 million spent on share repurchases seems a foolhardy expenditure at this transformational moment for the industry. The record level of spending [...]

  • Sinclair Enters Streaming Arena With Local

    Sinclair Enters Streaming Arena With Entertainment Bundle and Local Channels

    Sinclair Broadcast Group is diving into the increasingly crowded streaming platform arena with the launch today of Stirr, a free OTT entertainment bundle offering local news and general entertainment, sports and lifestyle channels. Sinclair aims to leverage the near-national reach of its sprawling station group with its strong local presence in markets across the country [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content