Midnight Oil, circa 1997

Midnight Oil’s classic 1987 hit “Beds are Burning” — originally about Aboriginal land rights in Australia — is being turned into an all-star, new-millennium anthem designed to rally support for the fight against global climate change.

A new version of the song — featuring vocals by, among others, Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon, ex-Boomtown Rat and rock ‘n’ roll do-gooder Bob Geldof, French actress Marion Cotillard, Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour and tennis ace Yannick Noah — will be released by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Tck Tck Tck campaign as a free download on Oct. 1 (and can be heard now on MySpace or in the video clip below).

Although the Oils reunited earlier this year to play the Sound Relief concert to benefit the victims of Australia’s devastating bushfires, the band didn’t participate in the re-recording of its song. But frontman Peter Garrett, who currently serves as Australia’s environmental minister, did tweak the lyrics to fit the occasion.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald:

“Where Mr. Garrett once writhed to this opener: ‘Out where the river broke/The blood wood and the desert oak/Holden wrecks and boiling diesels/Steam in 45 degrees,’ the remake will feature a chorus of well-meaning celebrities singing: ‘Down at the river bed/The earth is cracked and dry instead/Farms a failing, cities baking/Steam in 45 degrees.’

“Climate change skeptics may ask why the temperature has not risen from 45 degrees in the intervening decades. But such quibbles are swept away in the tweaked refrain: ‘The time has come/A fact’s a fact/The heat is on/No turning back.’”

The song is part of Annan’s efforts to convince world leaders to agree on a plan to battle global warming at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, set for Dec. 7-18 in Copenhagen.

UPDATE 10/1/09: The new version of “Beds are Burning” is now available as a free download.

See video of the new “Beds are Burning” after the jump…

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