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Musicians pay tribute to Bob Dylan for Amnesty International

posted 28 Jan 2012, 05:12 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 28 Jan 2012, 05:13 ]

Tom Morello, Joe Perry and Ziggy Marley discuss their homage to Bob Dylan for Amnesty International's 50th anniversary compilation album.

REUTERS / AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL - Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and reggae singer Ziggy Marley talked about their contribution to Amnesty International's four-disc compilation, "Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International." The compilation includes 76 Bob Dylan tracks covered by 80 artists ranging from Ke$ha to Adele to Elvis Costello.

Morello could not think of a more fitting person to choose as the focus for the human rights organization's album.

"I came to Dylan late, I grew up on hard rock music and then hip hop, and then realized that that record was as heavy as anything in the NWA or Metallica catalogue in its lyrical themes and in the gravity of the performance," said Morello. "I chose the song, 'Blind Willie McTell,' to cover for the Amnesty record. The original is a very haunting treatise on how racism is inextricably mixed up in the DNA of America."

Dylan waived the rights to his catalogue for the album's release, and the musicians donated their time and voices to the project. 

Proceeds from the album will go to Amnesty International's charitable efforts.

Joe Perry remembered that his first performance at age 14 was a Bob Dylan song, and Ziggy Marley wanted his contribution to be "raw and true."

"Chimes of Freedom" follows "Instant Karma," a 2007 tribute to John Lennon, also produced by Amnesty International. It raised more than $4 million (USD) for Darfur relief.

"Every progressive, successful, radical movement in the United States, from the women's rights movement, to the anti-Vietnam war movement, to the Civil Rights movement, has had a soundtrack," Morello said. "I think it's a crucial component to all social justice struggles that want a hope of success."

The compilation will be available internationally on February 6. Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization advocating for human rights worldwide.