Sometimes I’m in the mood, I’m gonna change the world around

Tomorrow will mark the release of the Amnesty International’s benefit 4-CD collection, Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan:

When Amnesty International enlisted Jeff Ayeroff and Julie Yannatta to oversee a benefit album celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary this year, the plan was for something on the scale of its 2007 benefit album, “Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.” “Instant Karma,” which Mr. Ayeroff and Ms. Yannatta also produced, is a two-CD, 23-song collection of artists like U2, Green Day and R.E.M. performing John Lennon’s songs. It raised more than $4 million. So how did the organization’s latest project, “Chimes of Freedom” — which features Bob Dylan songs played by a genre-busting, cross-generational cast — become a sprawling 4-CD, 73-track (76 online) behemoth?

“This was like a rent party,” Ms. Yannatta said of making “Chimes of Freedom,” which is be released on Jan. 24. “We said: ‘Like other nonprofits in this economy Amnesty needs money. Would you help?’ Just about everyone said yes. You send out invitations, and when everybody shows up — and people start calling, saying, ‘We’d like to do a track too’ — it grows.”


The artists, producers and engineers donated their work, and Mr. Dylan donated his publishing royalties, enabling an appealing pricing scheme: The four-CD set retails for $24.99, or $19.99 digitally. Starbucks will sell a two-CD version for $14.95. Each song will also be available individually from iTunes and other digital retailers.

The artist/track list (below the fold) is pretty extraordinary:


01 Raphael Saadiq – “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat”
02 Patti Smith – “Drifter’s Escape”
03 Rise Against – “Ballad of Hollis Brown”
04 Tom Morello/The Nightwatchman – “Blind Willie McTell”
05 Pete Townshend – “Corrina, Corrina”
06 Bettye LaVette – “Most Of The Time”
07 Charlie Winston – “This Wheel’s On Fire”
08 Diana Krall – “Simple Twist of Fate”
09 Brett Dennen – “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”
10 Mariachi El Bronx – “Love Sick”
11 Ziggy Marley – “Blowin’ In The Wind”
12 The Gaslight Anthem – “Changing of the Guards”
13 Silversun Pickups – “Not Dark Yet”
14 My Morning Jacket – “You’re A Big Girl Now”
15 The Airborne Toxic Event – “Boots of Spanish Leather”
16 Sting – “Girl from the North Country”
17 Mark Knopfler – “Restless Farewell”


01 Queens Of The Stone Age – “Outlaw Blues”
02 Lenny Kravitz – “Rainy Day Woman # 12 & 35?
03 Steve Earle & Lucia Micarelli – “One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below)”
04 Blake Mills – “Heart Of Mine”
05 Miley Cyrus – “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”
06 Billy Bragg – “Lay Down Your Weary Tune”
07 Elvis Costello – “License To Kill”
08 Angelique Kidjo – “Lay, Lady, Lay”
09 Natasha Bedingfield – “Ring Them Bells”
10 Jackson Browne – “Love Minus Zero/No Limit”
11 Joan Baez – “Seven Curses (Live)”
12 The Belle Brigade – “No Time To Think”
13 Sugarland – “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You (Live)”
14 Jack’s Mannequin – “Mr. Tambourine Man”
15 Oren Lavie – “4th Time Around”
16 Sussan Deyhim – “All I Really Want To Do”
17 Adele – “Make You Feel My Love (Recorded Live at WXPN)”


01 K’NAAN – “With God On Our Side”
02 Ximena Sariñana – “I Want You”
03 Neil Finn with Pajama Club – “She Belongs to Me”
04 Bryan Ferry – “Bob Dylan’s Dream”
05 Zee Avi – “Tomorrow Is A Long Time”
06 Carly Simon – “Just Like a Woman”
07 Flogging Molly – “The Times They Are A-Changin’”
08 Fistful Of Mercy – “Buckets Of Rain”
09 Joe Perry – “Man Of Peace”
10 Bad Religion – “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”
11 My Chemical Romance – “Desolation Row (Live)”
12 RedOne featuring Nabil Khayat – “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”
13 Paul Rodgers & Nils Lofgren – “Abandoned Love”
14 Darren Criss featuring Chuck Criss and Freelance Whales – “New Morning”
15 Cage the Elephant – “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”
16 Band of Skulls – “It Ain’t Me, Babe”
17 Sinéad O’Connor – “Property Of Jesus”
18 Ed Roland and The Sweet Tea Project – “Shelter From The Storm”
19 Ke$ha – “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”
20 Kronos Quartet – “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”


01 Maroon 5 – “I Shall Be Released”
02 Carolina Chocolate Drops – “Political World”
03 Seal & Jeff Beck – “Like A Rolling Stone”
04 Taj Mahal – “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream”
05 Dierks Bentley – “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) (Live)”
06 Mick Hucknall – “One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)”
07 Thea Gilmore – “I’ll Remember You”
08 State Radio – “John Brown”
09 Dave Matthews Band – “All Along the Watchtower (Live)”
10 Michael Franti – “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
11 We Are Augustines – “Mama, You Been On My Mind”
12 Lucinda Williams – “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven”
13 Kris Kristofferson – “Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)”
14 Eric Burdon – “Gotta Serve Somebody”
15 Evan Rachel Wood – “I’d Have You Anytime”
16 Marianne Faithfull – “Baby Let Me Follow You Down (Live)”
17 Pete Seeger – “Forever Young”
18 Bob Dylan – “Chimes Of Freedom”

(Note: no Tangled Up In Blue? Weird. Also, Ke$ha? Weirder.)

It’s not as if there aren’t already a ton of Dylan covers that have been available since the beginning of time (my personal favorite is Tracy Chapman’s cover of The Times They Are A-Changin’ from the 30th anniversary concert, least favorite is Guns ‘n Roses Knockin’ On Heavens Door, although I am sure there are more execrable covers than that … but not by much) but this looks intriguing; I already ordered my copy, and it’s for a good cause – Amnesty International

Feel free to discuss your favorite Dylan covers below in comments before it gets cluttered up with O-haters pointing out that it’s a shame that Amnesty International has to waste valuable resources battling the World’s Greatest Monster: Barack Obama …. because you know that is inevitable around here lately…

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