Ringo Starr and The Band‘s Robbie Robertson are among a variety of musicians from around the world who have contributed to a new version of the band tune “The Weight,” and also are featured in a video for the track that premiered Wednesday.
The recording and video are the latest in a series of covers of famous songs created by musicians from across the globe and put together by the Playing for Change organization, which seeks to connect people around the world through music.
The new version of “The Weight,” recorded in celebration of the song’s 50th anniversary, also features Americana singer/guitarists Marcus King and Lukas Nelson, folk duo Larkin Poe, and other musicians and singers from Italy, Japan, The Congo, Bahrain, Spain, Nepal, Jamaica and Argentina.
The video begins with a humorous segment showing Ringo talking on a cellphone and asking, “What key is it in, Robbie? F-demented.” The various musicians are seen performing their parts in their own home countries. The track was co-produced by Robertson’s son Sebastian and Playing for Change co-founder Mark Johnson.
Johnson, a Grammy-winning producer and engineer, tells Rolling Stone that the track came together “brick by brick,” starting with a demo recorded by Robertson, then gathering the other musicians’ parts where they were using a mobile studio.
“We could never have never assembled this group in the studio,” Johnson notes. “You need to go there, and then when you go there, you’re where they feel comfortable. You hear that in the music.”
Johnson tells Rolling Stone that having Starr take part in the recording was “a dream come true.”
“He and Robbie really are a spark of what this whole project is about,” he notes. “You can do something in your life that can inspire millions of people.”
Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.