A Bob Dylan tribute album with 76 tracks and a 2012 mind-set
The new Bob Dylan tribute album, “Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International,” which is being released today, salutes both the songwriter and the human rights organization for half a century of their respective work.
But the album itself has been assembled and is being marketed with a very 2012 mind-set.
Veteran record industry executive Jeff Ayeroff, who is leading the charge for the benefit project, with proceeds going to Amnesty International, fully expects that few potential customers will be equally passionate about all 76 tracks by more than 80 artists appearing on the four-CD set.
Artists that participated constitute a diverse aasemblage spanning the pop music spectrum, and a bit beyond it, from young pop hit makers Adele, Miley Cyrus and Kesha to indie rockers the Silversun Pickups and the Belle Brigade to veteran folkies Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, alt-country musicians Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Brett Dennen and the Avett Brothers, mainstream rockers Dave Matthews, Joe Perry and Maroon 5, hard-edged rock band Queens of the Stone Age, world music acts Ziggy Marley, Mariachi El Bronx and Somalian rapper K’naan and punk bands Bad Religion and Rise Against.
"Whatever I’ve learned in the evolution of the album, I know people who pay $20 for this are not going to like every song,” Ayeroff said. “But there are several records inside this album: There’s a country record, there’s an all female record of women interpreting Bob Dylan songs, which is probably the most significant part of the album for me. It shows that Bob speaks with many voices for many people.
“There’s an adult pop record, there’s a peer record, there’s an alternative rock album, and the rock record,” continued Ayeroff, adding that in the iTunes age he anticipates some people who buy the download version will pick and choose which parts of it they pull down.
In addition to the official four-CD version that’s going to all the usual online and physical music retailers, Starbucks has created a two-CD version.
“That was Starbucks’ choosing,” said album co-producer Julie Yannatta. "They wanted to curate a selection of the songs for their version and chose 31 songs from the 76. That was not a decision that Amnesty made, and we went back to all the artists to get their permission…. Had this not been for charity, that might have been a harder request. But there’s an awareness that Starbucks is the most-trafficked retailer in North America, so having your record in there is really great.
“The two important things are that it is raising money for Amnesty and raising awareness for the cause.”
-- Randy Lewis
Cover image of the new Bob Dylan tribute album, "Chimes of Freedom," courtesy of Amnesty International.