Elvis Costello, Joe Ely, Graham Parker, Pete Yorn, and Billy Bragg are among the artists who have contributed tracks to “Light of Day: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen.” The two-disc covers collection was released this week in Spain; a U.S. version with extra tracks will be issued in August. Proceeds will benefit the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation and the Kristen Ann Carr Fund, which raises money for research and treatment of sarcoma.
While several cuts have been previously released — Costello’s “Brilliant Disguise,” Yorn’s “New York City Serenade,” and Bragg’s “Mansion on the Hill,” among them — many artists have contributed new recordings. Joe Grushecky and his band the Houserockers added a new version of “Light of Day,” Elliot Murphy offered a take on “Better Days,” and Joe Ely has covered “Workin’ on the Highway.”
Others who have offered tracks include Cowboy Mouth, Patty Griffin, E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren, Willie Nile, Dion, Steve Wynn, and Rosie Flores.
Spanish Springsteen fanzine editor Sal Trepat and Grushecky manager Bob Benjamin organized the collection. Benjamin, a Parkinson’s sufferer and former Billboard employee, tells Billboard.com that the set is “a labor of love. It’s helping out two of my favorite causes, and the music is my favorite.”
Benjamin is also the organizer of the Light of Day benefit concerts held annually in New Jersey. Grushecky has traditionally headlined the shows, which have been graced yearly by unannounced Springsteen appearances. He’s been working with the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation “since a couple months after being diagnosed,” and staged the first benefit concert in 1998.
Springsteen’s co-manager Barbara Carr and her husband, music journalist Dave Marsh, founded the Kristin Ann Carr Fund as part of the TJ Martell Foundation in memory of their daughter, who died a decade ago from sarcoma, a little understood form of cancer. Springsteen has often donated his time and memorabilia to the organization’s fundraising efforts.
Benjamin says that since word got out about the “Light of Day” project, he’s fielded offers from more artists than can be included. Although the U.S. version will add bonus cuts, “we want to keep it to two discs,” he stresses.
One song on the Spanish release, Cracker’s cover of “Sinaloa Cowboys” from Springsteen’s 1995 “The Ghost of Tom Joad” album, will not be on the U.S. version of “Light of Day,” but is due to appear on the band’s next studio album. In its place, Cracker guitarist Johnny Hickman recorded “Candy’s Room” under the name Crazysloth, and keyboardist/accordionist Kenny Margolis covered “Valentine’s Day” as Lucky 7 for the compilation.
Although he hasn’t yet spoken with Springsteen about the project, Benjamin believes it’s something to which the Boss would give his blessing. He’ll find out for sure when he catches up with Springsteen next month on his ongoing European tour with the E Street Band during a planned trip to Italy.
Here is the tentative list of artists and songs for the U.S. release of “Light of Day: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen”:
Dan Bern, “Thunder Road”
Billy Bragg and the Blokes, “Mansion on the Hill”
Marc Broussard, “Back in Your Arms Again”
Cindy Bullens, “If I Should Fall Behind”
John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, “E Street Shuffle”
The Clarks, TBD
Elvis Costello, “Brilliant Disguise”
Cowboy Mouth, TBD
Crazysloth, “Candy’s Room”
Dion, “Book of Dreams”
Joe D’Urso and Stone Caravan, “Badlands”
Joe Ely, “Workin’ on the Highway”
Rosie Flores, “Lucky Town”
Patty Griffin, “Stolen Car”
Sid Griffin, “Highway Patrolman”
Joe Grushecky, “Light of Day”
Garland Jeffreys, “Streets of Philadelphia”
Kirk Kelly, “Downbound Train”
Nils Lofgren, “Man at the Top”
Gary Lucas’ Gods and Monsters, “Ain’t Got You”
Lucky 7, “Valentine’s Day”
Elliott Murphy, “Better Days”
The Mystic Knights of the Sea, “Johnny 99”
Willie Nile, “I’m on Fire”
Paradise Brothers, “Souls of the Departed”
Graham Parker, “Pink Cadillac”
Mike Rimbaud, “Atlantic City”
Jason Ringenberg, “My Hometown”
Graziano Romani, “The Promise”
Matthew Ryan, “Something in the Night”
Mark Wright, “Two Hearts”
Steve Wynn, “State Trooper”
Pete Yorn, “New York City Serenade”