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Music: Amnesty International’s Instant Karma — The Campaign to Save Darfur

May 9th, 2007 · 2 Comments · Activism, Culture, Human Rights, iTunes, Music, New Wave, News

Green Day’s Working Class HeroGreen Day’s cover version of “Working Class Hero” by John Lennon was released May 1 as the third single from Instant Karma: the Campaign to Save Darfur, Amnesty International’s album of Lennon covers by various artists to raise awareness about the human rights catastrophe in the Sudan. All proceeds from the album will go to support Amnesty’s human rights work.

The album was made possible by Yoko Ono’s offer to donate all music publishing royalties from the Lennon songbook towards the project.

Green Day’s tempestuous take on “Working Class Hero” uses a sample of Lennon’s own vocals toward the end of the track, and their sound really suits the song, taking it in a completely different direction from Marianne Faithfull’s famous minimalistic cover.

Quote from Billie Joe Armstrong:

“We wanted to do “Working Class Hero” because its themes of alienation, class, and social status really resonated with us. It’s such a raw, aggressive song, just that line: “you’re still ****ing peasants as far as I can see”, we felt we could really sink our teeth into it. I hope we’ve done him justice. ”

The first single from the album, R.E.M.’s cover of “#9 Dream,” was previously released in March. That recording was notable for being the first time all four original members of R.E.M. had been in the studio together since drummer Bill Berry’s 1997 retirement from the band. The second single was Los Lonely Boys’ roots-rock version of “Whatever Gets You Through the Night.”

The full album will be released on June 12. Besides Green Day and R.E.M., artists will include The Postal Service, Jack Johnson, Corinne Bailey Rae, Regina Spektor, Christina Aguilera, Snow Patrol, and more.

There’s also a selection of artists and tracks you can preview and buy in the “Store” section of Amnesty’s “Make Some Noise” site, including The Postal Service’s cover of “Grow Old Along with Me” and The Cure’s version of “Love.” (I’m not sure if all of those will be part of the album or not.)

The three already-released singles are available for easy purchase and download from the iTunes music store:


2 Comments so far ↓

  • Aaron

    This sounds really cool…I think Marianne Faithfull’s cover of “Working Class Hero,” off of “Broken English,” is the one that will always stick with me. I love Lennon covers–as long as it’s not “In My Life.” I never want to hear that one again…:-)

  • Ocelopotamus

    Yes, Marianne’s cover is really memorable, and possibly the most striking that will ever be done. But Green Day’s is nice too. And I actually liked Tin Machine’s version of the song, from the first TM album–it was actually the only thing Tin Machine ever did that I liked.