Wyclef To Host Contest Winners, Launch Sessions For Charity Single

Wyclef Jean will be in New York City's Central Park on Friday to host the official announcement of the Maxell "Song of the Year," which is being awarded as part of the annual John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

The winner, a pop outfit named Dexter Freebish, has already inked a deal with Capitol Records and will receive the $20,000 cash prize for their entry, "Leaving Town."

The Central Park event will also mark the beginning of an all-star benefit recording of a song penned by David Cassidy, "Message to the World," with the eventual proceeds from the single earmarked for the non-profit charity organization Warchild and its fund to aid the children of war-torn Kosovo.

Wyclef, Duncan Sheik, Pras, Alice Cooper, and Keanu Reeves' band Dogstar have all tentatively agreed to participate in the project, and additional artists have been approached about lending their voices to the single.

Plans call for the song to be recorded using the equipment of the John Lennon Songwriting

Contest's mobile recording studio, which will allow artists and members of the public to tape portions of the song that will be pieced together after traveling around the country for the next month.

The Central Park press conference will also be broadcast via the Internet at woodstock.com.

In related John Lennon news, Buddha Records is preparing to reissue Harry Nilsson's 1974 album, "Pussy Cats," which Lennon produced. The long-out-of-print album was recorded during the period of Lennon's "Lost Weekend," his 18-month period of separation from Yoko Ono in which the late Beatle partied it up with friends in Los Angeles.

Guest artists such as Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Danny Kortchmar, Bobby Keys, Jim Horn, and Klaus Voormann contributed to the album, a mixture of Nilsson originals and a grab bag of eclectic covers, including Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and Jimmy Cliff's

"Many Rivers to Cross." [RealAudio]

The re-release of "Pussy Cats" will also feature four bonus tracks, including a demo version of "Save the Last Dance for Me." "Pussy Cats" is due in stores on June 15.