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Eclectic Singers Pay Tribute to '12 Years a Slave' - Album Premiere

Check out a full stream of 'Music From and Inspired by '12 Years a Slave''

October 28, 2013 9:00 AM ET
12 Years A Slave
12 Years A Slave
Bill Gerdts

With its gripping depiction of American slavery, 12 Years a Slave is being praised as the year's best film by many critics, including Rolling Stone's own Peter Travers. It's an eye-opening true story that follows Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man who is abducted and sold to work on a cotton plantation.

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Northup's story has also inspired an eclectic group of songwriters who paid tribute to the film on its musical companion, Music From and Inspired by 12 Years a Slave. Curated by R&B singer John Legend and featuring a score from composer Hans Zimmer, the album includes original tracks and covers from artists like Alicia Keys, Gary Clark Jr., Alabama Shakes and Cody Chesnutt. The full LP is available below as an exclusive stream.

Chris Cornell, solo artist and frontman of Soundgarden, contributed a new song called "Misery Chain" with Civil Wars vocalist Joy Williams. In a press release, Cornell talked about the inspiration for the track.

“I was moved by this film and the story in a way that transcends any film experience I have ever had," he said. "I was inspired to write a hundred different songs, but finally landed on one based on what I believe is an extremely important message I took from this man's journey. Compassion, basic human rights and love must be our priorities above race, religion or commerce. Every generation needs a reminder of that simple idea.”

Music From and Inspired by 12 Years a Slave will be released on November 5th in digital format, with a physical release to follow on November 19th. The album is available for pre-order at iTunes and Amazon.

 

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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