USA: Rock band R.E.M reunites to release Lennon song for Amnesty International
Rock band R.E.M will release a cover version of the John Lennon classic #9 Dream for Amnesty International tomorrow. The song is one of more than 20 of the former Beatle’s iconic songs being re-recorded by top artists for a CD later this year in support of the human rights organisation.
R.E.M recorded #9 Dream with their original line-up. With drummer Bill Berry back on drums for this one recording, it marks the first time the four original R.E.M members have been in the studio together since Berry retired from the band in 1997. The song’s release coincides with REM’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and will be available for sale as a digital download from 13 March by visiting www.amnesty.org/noise or other download services.
Meanwhile, on 12 June, Warner Brothers Records, in conjunction with Amnesty International, will release Instant Karma - a CD of classic John Lennon songs recorded by an array of best-selling artists, including Green Day, Christina Aguilera, Jack Johnson, Snow Patrol, Corinne Bailey Rae, Regina Spektor and The Postal Service. Additional singles will be released in the coming weeks.
The Instant Karma collection aims to raise money for Amnesty International and awareness of the organisation’s global campaigning, with a particular focus on the current crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Yoko Ono, who has generously donated all music publishing royalties, said:
"It's wonderful that, through this campaign, music which is so familiar to many people of my era will now be embraced by a whole new generation. John’s music set out to inspire change, and in standing up for human rights, we really can make the world a better place."
Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said:
"We're thrilled to be using John Lennon's songs in our human rights work. We hope this music will bring an awareness of human rights to a new generation. After all, human rights are what make music possible - we wouldn't be able to create music, listen to it or dance to it without freedom of speech, expression, and association."
In the UK, the project comes hot on the heels of last October’s hugely successful revival of The Secret Policeman’s Ball, for which comedians helped raise awareness of Amnesty International’s work. In working with the arts and entertainment industry in this way the organisation aims to encourage a million people in the UK to stand up for human rights and humanity over the next five years.