Paul McCartney, Avril Lavigne, David Bowie, and Celine Dion are among the performers contributing material to a new album, “Peace Songs,” that will benefit a Canadian charity for children who are victims of war. The album will be released April 15 as a joint initiative between BMG Music Canada and Sony Music Canada. On it, Lavigne covers Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” while Bowie has offered a remix of the song “Everyone Says Hi” from his 2002 ISO/Columbia set, “Heathen.”
Others contributing tracks include Canadians Bryan Adams, Jann Arden, Bruce Cockburn, Leonard Cohen, Our Lady Peace, Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, Garou, K-OS, Chantal Kreviazuk, Kyprios, and David Usher. Also on board are Moby, Michelle Branch, and Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), who has contributed a newly recorded version of his song “Peace Train.”
Proceeds from sales of the album will go to War Child Canada, a charity dedicated to providing humanitarian support to war-affected children around the world.
A full tracklist is not yet finalized, but Billboard.com has learned that McCartney has re-recorded his 1997 song “Calico Skies” for the album. “Whatever the politics, whatever the rights and wrongs of war, children are always the innocent victims,” he said in a statement. “I am delighted to be able to make this small contribution to a magnificent project.”
An alternative version of the set, “War Child: Hope,” will be released April 22 in the U.K. with a tracklist skewed more toward English artists. Some tracks are repeated, including Lavigne’s Dylan cover, the Bowie and McCartney cuts, and a new Moby song, “Nearer.”
Among other songs set for the U.K. edition are the new Travis song “The Beautiful Occupation,” George Michael’s cover of Don McLean’s “The Grave,” a new collaboration between Basement Jaxx and Yellowman, New Order’s cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “Vietnam,” a new Spiritualized song titled “Hold On,” and the Charlatans’ cover of Curtis Mayfields’s “We Got To Have Peace.”