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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sunday Jukebox - A Very Special Christmas


I'm sure most of you are probably busy opening up your Christmas presents, cooking the Christmas ham, and singing Christmas carols, so I won't keep you from your celebrations any further. In fact, this blog entry will probably be one of the shortest ones that I'll ever do.

Today is Christmas, but it also happens to be Sunday, which means that it's time for the Sunday Jukebox feature. Since I began the Sunday Jukebox, I've posted a song that was up for discussion.

For today's blog posting, I think that a whole album is going to be featured. After all, today is Christmas, and this will be the last Christmas blog entry for 2011. I wanted to make it a memorable one.

There is a story behind this album too.

Certainly growing up, we all had our own holiday soundtracks that we all listened to during our childhood. My sisters and I were no exception.

For one sister, I believe the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer soundtrack was a part of her childhood holiday soundtrack. My other sister owned an album by the Peppermint Kandy Kids (at least I think that's what it was called).

And in my case, I had this album.

'A Very Special Christmas', released in 1987.

Would you believe that this was the first of SEVEN Very Special Christmas albums released? It's true. A Very Special Christmas was one of those albums that had classic and non-traditional Christmas carols recorded by popular artists at the time the album was released.

Now, I know what you're saying. Most pop artists tend to murder Christmas carols instead of making them better. Yeah, well, I tend not to agree. If a song is done well, I can overlook it.

You know something, I can even tolerate that Justin Bieber Christmas song that's out right now. Of course, back when 'A Very Special Christmas' was released, Justin Bieber wasn't even born yet, which makes me suddenly feel really old.

But really, the proceeds of 'A Very Special Christmas' went towards a fantastic cause. All the money raised from the sales of the album went towards the Special Olympics.

Keith Haring, who died from AIDS in 1990, designed the cover art for this album, as well as the six follow-up albums of the same series (basically the same picture, just with different background colours).

By 1998, the album was certified quadruple platinum (selling over four million copies over a ten-year-period.

That's a lot of money raised for the Special Olympics.

And really, that's all I have to say about this album. The reason why I wanted to talk about it is because every Christmas deserves a holiday soundtrack, and I thought...why not post the songs from the album in links on this blog so that you can enjoy the sounds of the season as well?

Here are the fifteen songs on the original pressing of the album in 1987. I say original because there's a substitution in later pressings of this album.

Here they are, in order.

Now, on some later releases, track #13 was replaced by a different Bon Jovi song (I Wish Every Day Could Be Like Christmas), but for the most part the track listing remains unchanged.

As far as my favourites, #5 is probably my all-time favourite...something about the way Chrissie Hynde delivers those lyrics sends chills down my spine. #2 is quite well done as well. I liked #8, just as a novelty hit. #12 and #13 are fairly decent songs as well.

Still, there are a few misses as well. I liked Madonna back then, but I find Santa Baby to be one of the worst Christmas songs ever written, so I call that a miss. I'm also normally a fan of Stevie Nicks, but felt she could have done a better job with a different carol.

But still, the album is worth checking out.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope it's filled with everything you hoped it would be and more.

See you Boxing Day!

(waves goodbye!)

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