NEW YORK -- Without picking up his guitar, Bruce Springsteen sounded a chord for charity.
A double-CD of Springsteen songs, featuring cover versions from 37 artists spanning his 30-year career, was released this month to raise money for two charities close to the Boss' heart.
All of the net proceeds and the artists' royalties from "Light of Day: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen" will be evenly divided between the Parkinson's Disease Foundation and the Kristen Ann Carr Fund.
"It's really a terrific record," said Springsteen pal Garland Jeffreys, who contributed a moving version of the Boss' Oscar-winning "Philadelphia." "It's nice to be a part of something like this - a good thing."
Jeffreys brought something personal to his track: a close friend suffers from Parkinson's.
But personal connections were an integral part of this project.
The Kristen Ann Carr Fund was started in 1993 by Carr's parents: Barbara Carr, Springsteen's co-manager, and Dave Marsh, Springsteen's biographer.
Springsteen visited 21-year-old Kristen in the hospital before she died of sarcoma, a rare and deadly kind of cancer; the fund began with a Springsteen benefit show at Madison Square Garden and has since raised more than $3.5 million.
"Kristen knew Bruce from early childhood," Marsh writes in the "Light of Day" liner notes. "She loved his music intensely."
The Parkinson's Foundation is tied to Bob Benjamin, a New Jersey shore music scene fixture who first met Springsteen in Buffalo before a 1978 concert.
Seven years ago, the 44-year-old Benjamin was diagnosed with Parkinson's, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. This year, he became one of the driving forces behind the tribute CD.
When the disc was finished this summer, Benjamin managed to slip a copy to Springsteen. The two later crossed paths before Springsteen's September shows at Fenway Park in Boston.
"I saw him a couple of weeks ago, and he said that he liked it a lot," Benjamin said. "He knew that I'd been working on it for a year."
Springsteen put his musical imprimatur on the project in May. After hearing Elliott Murphy's version of "Better Days," a track from 1992's "Lucky Town," Springsteen invited Murphy - a friend of 30 years - onstage to play the song in Madrid.
The contributing artists include an assortment of Springsteen's prominent friends: Elvis Costello does a countrified version of "Brilliant Disguise," Dion DiMucci provides a doo-wop "Book of Dreams" and Nils Lofgren contributes the rarity "Man at the Top."
Several of the artists involved in the album will play Nov. 1 at the fourth annual "Light of Day" fund-raising concert at the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J.
Springsteen has yet to miss one.
On the Net:
Kristin Ann Carr Fund: www.sarcoma.com
Parkinson's Disease Foundation: www.pdf.org
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