Music

Occupy Wall Street plans benefit album for itself

Michael Moore is planning to sing on the album.

NEW YORK: Occupy Wall Street has a benefit album planned with Jackson Browne, Third Eye Blind, Crosby & Nash, Devo, Lucinda Williams and even some of those drummers who kept an incessant beat at Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.

Participants in the protest movement said this week that “Occupy This Album,” which will be available sometime this winter, will also feature D.J. Logic, Ladytron, Warren Haynes, Toots and the Maytals, Mike Limbaud, Aeroplane Pageant, Yo La Tengo and others.

Activist filmmaker Michael Moore is also planning to sing.

Jason Samel, a musician who is putting together the disc, said the goal is to raise between $1 million and $2 million to help fuel the movement that is protesting income disparity.

“It’s really going to be an amazing help for years to come,” Samel said.

Money raised will go through the nonprofit Alliance for Global Justice. The initial plan is that half of the proceeds will go to the New York movement that was based in Zuccotti Park until being kicked out last week, and the other half to offshoots across the world who apply for specific projects, he said.

There’s a long history of benefit albums, from George Harrison’s “Concert for Bangla Desh” that raised millions for flood victims through UNICEF in 1971, and the “We Are the World” single in the 1980s, which raised over $60 million for famine relief in Africa.

Amnesty International has announced that in January it will put on sale a 75-song set of Bob Dylan covers by various artists to benefit the human rights organization.

The Occupy Wall Street album will be available in digital form first, with plans for a physical CD still unclear.

The music will generally be a mixture of live cuts and new songs. Third Eye Blind, for example, has already posted its song, called “If There Ever Was a Time,” which specifically addresses the protest movement.

Haynes has offered a live version of “Rivers Gonna Rise,” a song from his last disc. Some little-known artists who have participated in the protest will also be included, such as Kaneska Carter and Matt Pless, who wrote “Something’s Got to Give.”

“The lyrics convey a universal feeling of compassion and a hope for a better existence that I believe are the common threads that wind through everyone,” Pless said. “The positive spirit behind this song is a reflection of what birthed the movement and still exists at its core.”

One song will feature the loosely-formed group of people that would beat on drums at the entrance to Zuccotti Park, much to the consternation of neighbors and even some demonstrators as they tried to get some sleep.

Musicians like Tom Morello, David Crosby and Graham Nash had impromptu concerts for some protesters.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on November 26, 2011, on page 15.

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