Watch: Blake Shelton, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, and Matt Sorum Cover Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”

In 2022, Blake Shelton, the Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh, and Matt Sorum released their cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” to help support Miraculous Love Kids, a nonprofit music school launched in 2015 to protect and educate impoverished young women living in conflict zones and facing gender discrimination and violence in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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The foursome has now released a video for their cover, featuring some of the young women impacted in the regions singing along. “For the girls and women of Afghanistan, ‘We won’t back down’ until you are free,” reads a message opening the video, premiered by GoodNoise.io, which was launched by Sorum as an NFT label under the umbrella company Sthorm, to bring fans and artists together to support various charities.

“May music always bring you girls the inspiration and connection to a higher power that delivers you strength and joy,” said Walsh in a statement. “I’m grateful to have shared this moment with you all. Peace and love.”

On their rendition of Petty’s 1989 hit, Shelton takes on vocals with Walsh on guitar, Schmit on bass, and Sorum on drums. Shelton previously covered the song with former Voice contestant Dia Frampton.

The four artists join Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, who covered Eurythmics‘ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” and Sammy Hagar, Kathy Valentine and Wayne Kramer’s rendition of the Steve Miller Band‘s “Fly Like an Eagle,” along with more contributions by members of Foo Fighters, Beth Hart, and Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, who have all recorded covers to help support Miraculous Love Kids.

Founded by musician Lanny Cordola, Miraculous Love Kids started after he staged Peace Jam 2014 to help aid a family he befriended in Afghanistan, who lost three family members to a suicide bombing.

“Lanny is a saint for being a part of these girls’ lives by helping them move forward through music,” said Schmit. “Even after all they’ve experienced in their young lives, you can see and feel their beautiful life forces shining through.”

In 2015, Cordola went to Kabul, Afghanistan to inaugurate his Girl with a Guitar, where he taught a group of girls who survived various hardships due to war and poverty, to play the instrument. By February of 2016, Cordola moved to Kabul, where he taught guitar, English, and other life skills to hundreds of children, mostly girls, at The Miraculous Love Kids Studio through August of 2021. 

“When I was working to get the girls out of Afghanistan, ‘I Won’t Back Down’ became our anthem to never give up no matter what the circumstances or odds in our pursuit of freedom, justice, equality, and peace,” said Cordola in a statement. “It’s not only for the girls and women of Afghanistan but for all oppressed people of the world.”

Cordola added, “As Tom Petty so powerfully wrote” ‘You can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won’t back down…’”

Photo: Maarten de Boer/NBCUniversal

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