Amnesty International is marking its 50th anniversary with a massive, four-disc tribute to Bob Dylan. In 1961, Dylan embarked on a career that would earn him the moniker “poet laureate of rock ‘n roll,” carrying Woody Guthrie’s torch as voice of the marginalized. In the same year, attorney Peter Benenson started what would become Amnesty International when he began lobbying on behalf of prisoners of conscience.
It was a coincidence. Yet from the start, Dylan’s artistic work and Amnesty’s political work drew on a common sensibility that ultimately changed the world.
For half a century, Amnesty has pressed to secure the fundamental human rights of the persecuted and imprisoned across the globe. Over that same half century, Dylan’s art has explored and expressed the anguish and hope of the modern human condition.
Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International is a sprawling and ecclectic collaboration of 80 artists covering 75 songs. From Carly Simon, Johnny Cash, Bad Religion, Dave Matthews, Lucinda WIlliams, Cage the Elephant, Pete Townsend, Diana Krall,…well, here:
$24.99 for the CDs, $19.99 for the download, individual tracks for $1.29. All proceeds go to AI.
Looking for other cause-worthy tributes? In 2007, Amnesty released Instant Karma: Save Darfur, a 23-track tribute to John Lennon. Highlights include Regina Spektor’s “Real Love”, REM’s “#9 Dream” and Ben Harper’s “Beautiful Boy”.
And while you’re in the mood…
The women of Atenco Mexico. In 2005 more than 45 women were arrested without explanation, and were subjected to physical, psycholigical and sexual violence by officers who arrested them. No one has been held accountable and in all the years since, no progress has been made toward justice.
Chinese journalist Shi Tao has been in prison since 2005 for sending a Yahoo email to a pro-democracy website.
Student leader Majid Tavakkoli of Iran has been in jail since 2009 because he criticized the government in a speech he delivered to celebrate Students Day.