Triple Played: As a humanitarian, Bob Dylan is the real deal
“Come in she said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”
— Bob Dylan, “Shelter from the Storm” from “Blood on the Tracks” (1975)
Many musicians are charitable people. Most of them give of themselves anonymously.
Some, however, can’t give a dime or a minute of their time without alerting every kind of media known to man. They like to see themselves on television, Facebook or You Tube and read about themselves in any form of print media, legitimate or not.
You certainly do not have to look very far or very hard to find them. Most don’t have a lot of depth and aren’t very interesting to me because they always put themselves first.
On the opposite end of that spectrum is Bob Dylan, who for the most part contributes as much or more to charity organizations than any other musician I could find. Dylan was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom earlier this year at a ceremony at the White House that included former senator and astronaut John Glenn.
Dylan’s concert tickets are some of the most affordable in the industry. Much less expensive than those of his contemporaries including Neil Young, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, who are all among my favorite musicians.
Dylan supports charities that include Amnesty International, Music Rising, End Hunger Network, Feeding America, K-9 Connection and two organizations in Britain that feed hungry people. He also supports causes relating to disadvantaged youth, animals at risk, disaster relief, creative arts and human rights, among others.
Dylan was a big part of the human rights movement in the 1960s, appearing at protest and civil rights events. He performed with George Harrison, Ringo Star, Leon Russell, Billy Preston and Ravi Shankar at the Concert for Bangladesh in New York in 1971, making it the first ever major rock concert designated for a specific cause.
At Dylan’s insistence, the royalties from his 2009 release “Christmas in the Heart” are being donated to organizations that feed hungry people in America and Britain in perpetuity. Proceeds from this year’s release, “Chimes of Freedom: the Songs of Bob Dylan,” a four-CD set of 72 different musicians covering Dylan tunes, will go to Amnesty International with the following statement on the back of the disc: “This album is dedicated to people worldwide who are unjustly imprisoned or threatened for the peaceful expression of their beliefs. To take action on their behalf and to learn more about this album visit: amnestyusa.org/chimes.”
In June of 2007, as a result of Yoko Ono donating John Lennon’s songs and music publishing royalties to Amnesty International there was the released of “Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur”, a tribute album of various artists covering Lennon’s songs was made in an effort to help alleviate the crisis in Darfur. The album and campaign are part of Amnesty International’s global “Make Some Noise” project.
Putumayo World Records from New York specializes in presenting world music recorded where it originates and currently has 99 CDs on the market. It donates a portion of its proceeds to Action Against Hunger, an international relief and development organization committed to saving the lives of malnourished children and families while providing sustainable access to safe water and long term solutions to hunger.
This Christmas you might consider giving the gift of music that keeps on giving and giving. Merry Christmas everyone!