Watch Michael Stipe Sing Ringo Starr and Velvet Underground Songs
Former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe joined Flea, Joan Baez, Talib Kweli and others last night at New York's Carnegie Hall to benefit Pathway to Paris. You can watch his performance above.
No longer sporting the ZZ Top-esque beard he had been seen with in recent years, Stipe's four-song set was comprised entirely of covers. He began with "Nature Boy," a 1948 hit for Nat "King" Cole that Big Star recorded. From there he went into Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy," but stopped it during the second chorus in favor of another Starr hit, "Photograph." He closed with the Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning." Paste found the video, saying that he was backed by Andy LeMaster of Now It's Overhead on guitar and Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Patti Smith, on keyboards.
Pathway to Paris, which was founded by Jesse Paris Smith, is working with the United Nations Development Programme and 350.org to help put the 2016 Paris Agreement designed to combat climate change into action. Last night, they launched 1000 Cities, a new initiative that hopes to have all the world's cities move off of fossil fuels and onto 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. You can learn more about it at their website.
Last week, Stipe admitted that he was "personally insulted" by the backwards steps that have been taken on environmental issues in recent years. "I’m a hippie," he said. "My generation was going to solve the problems of energy efficiency and the environment. And look where we find ourselves. We're at the brink of absolute collapse. My generation has done the exact opposite of what I thought it would do."