Bob Dylan, who turned 70 in May, will get a belated birthday present early next year: an all-star tribute album organized by Amnesty International. Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International will feature Dylan covers by everyone from My Morning Jacket ("You're a Big Girl Now") and Adele ("Make You Feel My Love") to Sting, Dave Matthews Band and many more. All proceeds will benefit the human-rights group. Says Helen Garrett, Amnesty International USA's director of special projects, "We hope the music will inspire ordinary people everywhere to chime in on humankind's noble quest for freedom."
"I wanted to do something I'd never attempted," says Patti Smith, who sings 1967's "Drifter's Escape" on the LP. "We had just completed our new album, and instead of drinking champagne we decided to cut the song."
The most unexpected cover is Ke$ha's subdued take on 1963's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." "When you think of me, you wouldn't think of Bob Dylan," says the pop star, whose favorite album ever is Dylan's country-rock classic Nashville Skyline. "My music is more about going crazy than politics. But he's a huge influence — he writes his own music and means what he says. I write my own music and I fucking mean every word I sing." The lyrics moved her so deeply that she broke into tears during recording. Adds Ke$ha, "You can hear the snot running down my face."
This is story is from the October 27th, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone.