• SHARE

Yoko Ono has helped make an Amnesty International fundraiser CD featuring work by her late husband, Beatles legend John Lennon, by donating all music publishing royalties to the cause.

The album, released Tuesday through iTunes, includes 38 recordings of Lennon songs, including three versions of the renowned “Imagine,” performed by an array of international stars, including U2, R.E.M., Christina Aguilera and Jack Johnson.

Titled “Make Some Noise: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur,” the project is designed to raise money for Amnesty’s humanitarian campaigns, particularly in the Darfur region of Sudan, with 97 percent of the proceeds going directly to the organization.

“We’re thrilled to be using John Lennon’s songs in our human rights work. We hope this music will bring an awareness of human rights to a new generation,” Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said ahead of the release.

“After all, human rights are what make music possible — we wouldn’t be able to create music, listen to it or dance to it without freedom of speech, expression and association,” she added.

Ono — without whom the recordings would not have taken place — was equally positive about the collaboration with Amnesty, stating, “Music speaks the language of freedom, revolution and solidarity.

“It’s wonderful that, through this campaign, music which is so familiar to many people of my era will now be embraced by a whole new generation,” Ono said.

A lifelong peace campaigner herself, she added, “John’s music set out to inspire change, and in standing up for human rights, we really can make the world a better place.”

Vanessa Moss from Art for Amnesty, an internal initiative of the wider organization responsible for coordinating arts-related fundraising events, said Ono and Amnesty have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship.

In fact, the present “Make Some Noise” campaign mushroomed from an educational project between Ono and Amnesty in the United States around four years ago involving a video of children from around the world singing the lyrics to “Imagine.”

“It was so well-received both inside and outside of the States that we had the impetus to go back to Yoko Ono and say, ‘Look, we had such an amazing response to this — we’d love to do something a bit bigger,’ ” Moss explained.

“We were just going to focus on the song “Imagine,” but again the project grew and, in an extremely generous gift, Yoko said she’d donate the rights to all of John Lennon’s solo back catalog, and that’s when things really took off,” she said.

As well as the downloadable digital album, a 24-track double CD hard copy on Warner Bros. Records will be available to purchase in stores worldwide toward the end of the month — and on June 27 in Japan — with the purpose of raising both awareness and money for Darfur and beyond.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW