Musicians donate songs to CD for U.S. troops

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NEW YORK -- Five For Fighting is taking care of the troops, music-wise.

John Ondrasik, the singer-songwriter who goes by the stage name Five For Fighting, called upon celeb pals including Billy Joel and Josh Groban to donate songs to an album dedicated to the U.S. Armed Services.

The result -- "CD For The Troops," a free compilation of 13 songs produced especially, and exclusively, for active duty members and military veterans around the world. Those with valid military ID numbers can download the disc on the Army & Air Force Exchange Service Web site at www.aafes.com.

"I have a passion for the troops and their families -- and veterans," Ondrasik said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press. "As a songwriter, freedom of speech allows me to practice my craft. As a father, these people secure the freedom and liberty for my kids. It may sound scripted or cliche, but it's true."

The 42-year-old, best known for the hits "Superman" and "100 Years," contributed the latter tune to the CD because the troops "understand living in the moment better than any of us." Other tracks include Joel's "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant"; Groban's "February Song"; Sarah McLachlan's "Wintersong" and The Fray's "How To Save A Life."

"If you would have told me before I started this that I'd have this lineup at the end, I'd say 'You're crazy.' ... Not only did they give me songs, but some of them gave me their biggest hits," said Ondrasik, who called the donations "a powerful statement."

Ondrasik said 200,000 hard copies will be distributed to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; in addition, the entertainer and father of two has been handing out copies as he performs on a USO tour of Japan, Guam and Hawaii.

"They can't believe it, you know," he said. "First of all, they say, 'Is it really those artists singing?' ... A couple of 'em want a little more rock, a couple of 'em want a little more country -- but I think overall, they are taken aback."

He said demand is high.

"There are (no CDS) left by the end of the night," he said. "They all go, and they're wanting more."
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