Avril Lavigne, Black Eyed Peas, Sum 41, the Deftones and Duran Duran are among the artists recording John Lennon songs to raise funds for human rights organization Amnesty International. The recordings, which will be released as downloads through amnesty.org, will be part of Amnesty’s new youth-oriented music campaign that begins in January.
Three years ago, Yoko Ono donated the rights to her late husband’s solo tracks to Amnesty for use in its Imagine campaign, which asked children around the world to sing the 1971 peace anthem. (December 8th is the twenty-fifth anniversary of Lennon’s death.)
For the new campaign, Lavigne recorded “Imagine,” with accompaniment by pianist Chantal Kreviazuk and production by Butch Walker. Lavigne stayed faithful to the original. “I did a mellow version,” she says.
On the other side of the spectrum, Warped Tour vets Billy Talent turned up the volume on “Cold Turkey,” which they recorded at Bryan Adams’ Warehouse Studios in Vancouver. “They asked us what song we wanted to do, and that was the first one that came to my mind,” says guitarist Ian D’Sa. “It’s an awesome song. But we sped it up a bit because it’s kind of slow.”
Black Eyed Peas are recording “Power to the People” for the project, while singer/rapper K-os and the Deftones are both tackling “Jealous Guy.” According to an Amnesty spokeswoman in Ireland, more details will be announced in the coming weeks.