(New York) — George Harrison’s 69th birthday is being celebrated today with the release of a new music video of Evan Rachel Wood’s jazzy recording of “I’d Have You Anytime,” her contribution to the new benefit CD set, “Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International” exclusively on EW.com.
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The song is a rare collaboration between Harrison and Dylan written when Harrison spent Thanksgiving 1968 with Dylan at his Woodstock, N.Y. home. The pair became friends when Dylan and the Beatles first met in 1964 and their friendship continued for nearly four decades until Harrison’s death in 2001.
“I loved recording the song and I’m thrilled with how the finished track sounds,” Wood said. “Knowing that George Harrison’s work as a humanitarian helped inspire some of the fund-raising work for Amnesty International and that this track therefore honors George Harrison as well as Bob Dylan and Amnesty makes this really special for me.”
Wood recorded “I’d Have You Anytime” in the style of the 1930s and 1940s Hoagy Carmichael tunes that Harrison enjoyed in his childhood (Harrison recorded two Carmichael songs for his 1981 album “Somewhere In England”).
Harrison donated generously to Amnesty International over his lifetime. His pioneering 1971 charity event, the “Concert For Bangladesh” was one of the inspirations in 1976 for his pals in Monty Python when they helped organize the first show in Amnesty International’s iconic “Secret Policeman’s Ball” series. Harrison attended the first show.
The latest incarnation of “The Secret Policeman’s Ball” takes place at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on Sunday March 4 – an event that Wood plans to attend in support of Amnesty.
Wood’s recording was blessed by Harrison’s widow Olivia Harrison, along with many of his Monty Python pals including Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Neil Innes. Also voicing her support for the recording is Harrison’s first wife, Pattie Boyd, who accompanied Harrison on his trip to Woodstock in 1968 and who witnessed (and photographed) Harrison and Dylan writing the song.
“I think it is marvelous that George has been saluted in this way,” Boyd said. “Especially as the new track has been dedicated to George in honor of his support for human rights and the inspiration he gave to Amnesty.”
“Chimes Of Freedom” features 76 Dylan songs performed by multiple stars including Adele, Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Seal & Jeff Beck, Sting, Pete Townshend, among others.
The album is available in retail stores and at: www.amnestyusa.org/chimes
The album is executive-produced by Jeff Ayeroff and Julie Yannatta. Executive Producers for Amnesty International are Helen Garrett and Karen Scott – with Martin Lewis as contributing producer.
“We are thrilled that this wonderful recording and music video by Evan Rachel Wood allows us at Amnesty to salute two music icons at the same time,” said Helen Garrett and Karen Scott in a joint statement. “Bob Dylan’s music has been an inspiration to supporters of human rights for 50 years. George Harrison was a pioneer in harnessing entertainment to help humanitarian causes and his work inspired Amnesty.”
Wood’s recording features a tenor saxophone solo by Harrison’s close friend Tom Scott. Other musicians on the track include former Paul McCartney/Wings guitarist Laurence Juber – who worked with Harrison in 1986 on the swing-era music Harrison wrote and recorded for the “Shanghai Surprise” soundtrack; and acclaimed jazz musicians Patrice Rushen (piano), Edwin Livingstone (bass) and Clayton Cameron (brushes).
The song was arranged by Emmy-award winning film composer John Altman – who was musical director for Amnesty’s 1981 “Secret Policeman’s Other Ball”. The audio recording and music video were produced by Martin Lewis, co-creator/producer of the original “Secret Policeman’s Ball” shows.
This isn’t Wood’s first recording of a Beatles-related song – she was acclaimed for her singing of Beatles compositions in Julie Taymor’s 2007 film “Across The Universe.”
A short mini-documentary “The Story Behind I’d Have You Anytime” – will also be available on Amnesty USA’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/AmnestyUSA
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom and dignity are denied.
For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org.