‘Very Special Christmas’ Gets 2009 Update

‘Very Special Christmas’ Gets 2009 Update

NEW ARTICLE AND VIDEOS. Run-DMC, make way for Miley Cyrus. The world’s biggest music artists have helped make the A Very Special Christmas albums the most successful philanthropic series in history, but today it’s a new generation of stars taking up the mantle in support of the Special Olympics.

Vol. 7, which hits retail racks and online stores this week, features a who’s who of young artists like Miley Cyrus, Ashley Tisdale, Carrie Underwood, High School Musical‘s Vanessa Hudgens and Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester. In fact, more than half of the artists had yet to be born when the original album debuted 22 years ago. It would be impolite to name the oldest artist on Vol. 7, who’s still only 26, but Cyrus is the youngest contributor in the series’ history at age 16. Fittingly, she’ll celebrate her 17th birthday the same day the latest collection is released.

“[Vol. 7] is about the torch being passed to a new generation of artists, who now will be the leaders in sending the message around the world that Special Olympics is a movement of hope, acceptance and inclusion,” says Tim Shriver, CEO and Chairman of the Special Olympics. “It’s about extraordinarily gifted artists taking the torch.”

When the original Christmas disc debuted in ’87, the New York Times called it the “heaviest lineup of big-name rock talent” since “We Are the World.” The album boasted stars like Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Sting, the Pretenders, Stevie Nicks and Joshua Tree-era U2 each recording modern versions of holiday classics.

Remember Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis?” It cracked the Billboard charts in 2000, 13 years after it was released, but the song made its debut on the 1987 album. A Very Special Christmas has sold nearly 5 million copies to date and has since raised over $100 million in direct support for the Special Olympics through the Christmas Record Trust.

The newest album in the series features a younger generation of artists, but a wide variety of music styles are represented. Kellie Pickler sets the barn ablaze with a country version of “Santa Baby,” Sean Kingston gives the holidays an island twist with “Little Drummer Boy” and Kristinia DeBarge spices things up with “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Other contributors include Filipina YouTube sensation Charice and the youthful country band Gloriana, featuring Cheyenne Kimball of MTV reality show fame. Album producers include Greg Lapidus, Brian Phillips, Jay Frank and series co-founder Bobby Shriver.

ColbieCaillat1 75x75 Very Special Christmas Gets 2009 UpdateMalibu-based singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat (pictured at right) opens the disc with ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’ “My mom would always play A Very Special Christmas albums — like, we have all of them,” says Caillat, who was only 2 years old when the first disc came out. “We’d put them all in, we’d switch them out, we’d put them on random in this big disc changer and they’d all be playing. I honestly love them. They are my memories of Christmas.”

“It’s wild, you know what I mean, being a part of something that you grew up listening to and now you’re not just enjoying it but a part of it,” adds “Jingle Bell Rock” contributor Mitchel Musso, better known as Oliver Oken on Hannah Montana.

The album will be released through Universal Music Enterprises, and thanks to the generosity of everyone involved, all monies directly benefit the Special Olympics.

“Everything is donated,” says Shriver, who is the third child of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, J.F.K.’s younger sister and the founder of the Special Olympics. “The artists donate their time, the studios donate their time, the licenses are donated, the producers donate, the record companies donate. It’s an extraordinary testament to the good will of the people throughout the music industry. All of that results in every dollar, every single dollar, going to help Special Olympics athletes, their parents, volunteers come together in the spirit of sport.”

Deep Recording Roots

Though now a world-famous series, A Very Special Christmas began as the brainchild of Jimmy and Vicki Iovine. Jimmy, who’s often name-checked in Eminem songs (and not in a bad way either), broke into music as an engineer for legends like John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen (and later co-founded Interscope Records). His wife was volunteering for the Special Olympics, so when he decided to produce a Christmas benefit album as a memorial to his late father, she suggested the cause.

Herb Albert and Jerry Moss, the names behind A&M Records, provided the record label funding and distribution, while Tim’s older brother Bobby Shriver — an attorney, activist, politician, film producer and co-founder of (Product) Red, DATA and the ONE Campaign — signed on as producer and still serves as the series’ main constant. (For those wondering, Tim and Bobby’s sister is in fact California First Lady Maria Shriver.) These five founders recruited the biggest names in music to contribute songs, while the late Keith Haring designed the cover art that graces all the Christmas covers. The inaugural disc came out in late ’87, and five months later, A&M sent over the first royalty check — for $5 million.

After subsequent volumes in ’92 and ’97 with artists like Aretha Franklin and No Doubt, the series decided to mix things up with a live album. The Clintons threw a 30th anniversary party for the Special Olympics in ’99, and highlights of the concert became the basis for Vol. 4. Jon Bon Jovi, a former Christmas Record Trustee, played a major role in the live album and helped produce Vol. 5, while Lost Highway Records — fresh off its Grammy wins for the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack — crafted a star-studded acoustic country disc for Vol. 6.

But that was six years ago. In the years since, there were specialized releases like 2006′s A Very Special Latin Christmas: Noche de Paz and 2007′s 20th Anniversary Music Video Collection DVD, but the new youth-led disc closes the longest gap between the main album series installments. Naturally, this skyrockets the anticipation for Vol. 7.

Hudgens, who recorded “Winter Wonderland” for the album, remarks, “It’s such an honor to be on the first A Very Special Christmas album since 2003 and I think it’s so great and so much fun; and who doesn’t love coming in and singing Christmas songs?”

Kingston adds, “I feel like it’s big, I’m happy to be a part of it. I can’t wait to see the end results.”

Special Olympics, Special Funding

The Special Olympics features over 3 million athletes in over 180 countries, and the Christmas series plays a major part in keeping that second number growing. Through the Christmas Record Trust, album sales help fund Special Olympics programs in countries like Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Uganda, Russia and China where there’s limited government support for the disabled. The proceeds also provide seed funding for programs in locations like Timor Leste, Cambodia, Laos and Lesotho. In fact, the UN designates a quarter of the places supported by the Trust as Least Developed Countries.

“Athletes in Rwanda who are running for the first time, athletes in Afghanistan, girls who are able to compete for the first time,” says Shriver of the Trust’s accomplishments. “Athletes in China who are getting the message that everyone counts for the first time. Athletes in the United States in cities like New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles who otherwise would be on the sidelines are on the field of play because of the extraordinary gifts and contributions of the leaders of the Very Special Christmas series.”

The Special Olympics website provides information on local programs where athletes can sign up and others can make donations. Even for those who can’t donate time or money, the site features something everyone can do: take the R-word pledge to stop “the hurtful and disparaging use of the word ‘retard.’” (I’m looking at you, Black Eyed Peas!)

Shriver explains, “Going to the website, getting involved personally, taking the R-word pledge by going to specialolympics.org or going to r-word.org, helping us eradicate hateful language from our lexicon, from our schools, from our workplaces, from our television and film studios.”

The Christmas series is special for so many reasons, but Vol. 7 is all the more special with a dedication to Eunice Shriver. The organization’s founder passed away in August, but her feelings toward all the series’ contributors is well known.

“I am full of admiration for the many artists who have helped us,” she said many years back. “It’s a great tribute that these men and women say to themselves, ‘I’ll use my talent to help others.’ It’s not easy because they’ve got so many demands on them and every charity wants them, but they’ve helped us and I’m very grateful.”

Now is your chance to contribute as well. Sure, you could dust off that Bing Crosby Christmas album, but not even naughty kids deserve that. Give A Very Special Christmas a spin instead. It won’t just make your kids happy; it’ll also help bring joy to special needs children around the world.

By David Jenison | Monday, November 23, 2009, www.tonic.com

Charice – The Christmas Song

Video Courtesy of TheJannie5

O Holy Night – another holiday favorite
(this song is not in the album)

Video Courtesy of archiemr4

Promo video brought to you by SpecialOlympicsHQ

Vanessa Hudgens – Winter Wonderland
Miley Cyrus – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
Sean Kingston – Little Drummer Boy
The Carter Twins – Let It Snow
Leighton Meester – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Kellie Pickler – Santa Baby
Ashley Tisdale – Last Christmas

To buy your copy now and listen to album song samples, click HERE

Posted by Eve

35 Responses to “‘Very Special Christmas’ Gets 2009 Update”

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. luvkcha09 says:

    Hi jimfan and tmorris,

    welcome to the club. I am seriously addicted to Charice since I saw her on Starking…. I can’t help myself – I play her at work (created a youtube plylist and play it all day at work) and then I come home and open the playlist of Charice again until I go to sleep at midnight. She is my therapy, and comfort and joy and she makes me happy. I cannot believe it is possible for one person to be endowed with such talent and gift, and charisma and personality and heart and character and fearlessness and all the things she does… and she is all of 17 years old…I am truly amazed by her and inspired. Charice is truly a BLESSING to me and I am sure to a lot of people out there. I have never joined in youtube discussions or comments until Charice.. I just have to say what is in my mind. “Love hidden is worst than open hatred.” so here I am expressing my love to Charice:)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. Granny in vegas says:
    You can help Charice w/ her sales by gifting it to as many friends as you have. I used her christmas songs as a way of greeting my relatives and friends this thanksgiving holiday. You can all do this during this christmas holidays. Cheaper too !

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. grumpq says:
    They are playing the songs on the album on Sirius Satellite radio channel 3. I still haven’t heard Charice but I’ve heard the others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. kingkong98270 says:
    Jimfan155, I think we have alot in common, especially when it comes to Charice. I thought I was her biggest fan, but you out do me I think. Your about my age, maybe a little older than me,,but it would be nice to have a friend to talk to about Charice. Anyway to get an e-mail address? Mine is kingkong98270@yahoo.com. Would enjoy hearing from you!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. jimfan155 says:
    I must admit I like hearing the complete songs of Charice asap, but I worry about her record sales. I would be content to hear a teaser or partial version to whet my appetite and make me want to purchase the entire album.

    I will probably buy the entire album, eventually, but now I am not in aa a rush to get it as I would be if I hadn’t heard the full version of the song. But that’s the way things are now a days. If one persson doesn’t do it another one will. There’s really no way to prevent it. But if we love Charice we will make the purchase to show our support of her.

    Some say this will not hurt sales and I hope not, but I can’t see how everyone will still buy it, if they can get it for free. Just remember we are helping Charice by purchasing an original copy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    • manang babes says:
      I bought the song 5 times on itunes. Same thing with her duet with DA. Real honest-to-goodness fans wouldn’t do anything to hurt Charice’s climb to being a record-breaking artist.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  7. trevoroswald says:
    am a silent fan of her, masculine guy like me never felt tremendous hairstanding effect and almost cryng effect in my whole body when i heard her sing…what unexplained situation. It hits me that bull’s eye. Aaaaahhh…. so hard to explain…had the collections of her videos in my 160GB external HD… God works in mysterious ways….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

    • t. morris says:
      she has the ability to remind us that life and beautiful things like her voice are things to cherish.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

    • jimfan155 says:
      Hi trevoroswald.

      I imagine many of us started exactly like you, silent. I’d been like that for 57 years until that glorious night 2 years ago.

      That’s when I first heard about Charice and it’s been an unbelievable ride that I don’t want to get off. When and how did you hear about Charice?

      And please don’t remain silent. Let this be your first of many postings. I can’t keep quiet about this young talent. Don’t know much about politics, economics, history or current events (very sad, I know) so you will never hear me in a debate, but one thing that has captured my attention is Charice and I can go on and on about her. I have never been vocal or literal about much at all, but Charice has had a major effect on me that I have somewhat come out of my shell. And I will not stop commenting or speaking about her until she is known worldwide. I have to “stick it’ to my friends who are non believers when she wins her first Grammy Award.

      With many using “auto tune” to enhance their performances, I firmly believe she is one of the greatest “live” singers around.
      Anyway, continue to support her and promote her in any way you can. Collectively, we can make it happen.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  8. EBjohns11 says:

    I went to Target yesterday and God they dont have it yet…. Grrrr…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. MZ says:
    I’m not sure if AVSC vol. 7 would be released outside North America. It was produced by A&M records which is under Universal Music Group and UMG has a local counterpart here in the Philippines which is Universal Music Philippines but I checked their facebook site and there was no mention of AVSC vol. 7, I’m gonna check local Record stores here. For those who can’t wait, you can buy on ITunes U.S. store by creating an account with a valid U.S. address and loading it with an Itunes gift card, lowest value is $25. If you have a relative in the U.S. maybe they can gift you with an ITunes gift card, if not you can buy the U.S. Itunes gift card via MEDIAWOB (payment thru Paypal). If you buy a $25 gift card in MediaWob there is an additional $6 charge as commission but even if the total cost is $31, the cost per song would be about 58 pesos or about 583 pesos per album, based on the prevailing exchange rate of $1=P47. I bought mine in ITunes via MediaWob. Here is a step-by-step article in Charicemania on how to create an account in U.S. Itunes store and load it with gift card, even if you are residing outside the U.S. mainland.


    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  10. compassion says:
    When Charice sings she sings from the depths of her whole being. The lyrics of any given song is not just words anymore, it becomes “Charice”. So when her voice is carried through the air waves you not only hear her beautiful voice, you also feel her. That’s what separate Charice from the others. She is not only entertaining or performing before us all, she wants us to really feel the song the way it is written. It’s like “3D”, you are enveloped inside the song and not just hearing the song, you’re in it. Charice has that power and energy that is not to be found in many artist. And, she’s only seventeen! Can you even imagine Charice in the future?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 1

    • M. McCormick says:
      Very well said. And I can’t wait ’till radio stations (especially here in NY) play her music. I already emailed some of the radio stations, requesting them to play her duet with DA and her own version of The Christmas Song. Imagine hearing Charice’s voice through the air waves on Holiday Season…….can’t wait.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  11. malfon says:

    Is this album gonna be available in the Philippines?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. jimfan155 says:
    Charice sounds so angelic. I don’t like telling anyone what to do, but Charice, you absolutely have to come out with your own Christmas album, at least by next year. I will be putting this in my dream journal.

    Can’t think of a better Christmas than listening to a full cd of you singing my favorite Christmas Carols. What are my favorite Christmas songs? The ones you sing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  13. ArrVee says:
    aaahhh, her rendition of “O Holy Night” …

    here you have her singing about something Divine with her soul-piercing voice, which we instinctively know can only come from Above …

    here you have an angelic voice singing “O hear the angel voices” …

    combine that with your childhood memories the song brings …

    and the song’s messages of God’s great love for us, joy, hope and peace …

    you are so overwhelmed, that when she sings “Fall on your knees”, it feels like a command …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  14. Luckyseven777 says:
    Just got hold of my copy of A Very Special Christmas Album 7 CD today! I just love replaying Charice’s A Christmas Song for the umpteenth time. No doubt Charice has the purest and sweetest voice of them all. Great mix of songs from young singers. Perfect Christmas gift!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  15. MINDORO33 says:
    I just downloaded her song on amazon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  16. Anthony Rivera says:
    I bought the music on Amazon few minutes ago! I am so happy! Her rendition of this song is soooh cool. Her voice is so versatile and very powerful! I can’t wait for her upcoming CD! Way to go Charice! I wish I can meet you in person but there’s only a few Filipinos here in Utah where I live. I met David Archuleta in person now I can’t wait to meet you as well. Only time can tell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  17. CBToronto says:
    I got/purchased my CD today from HMV, Yonge & Dundas in Downtown Toronto. I got it for only $19.20 Cad. dollars including taxes. Hurry get your copy now. You will be supporting Charice and with a good cause. Thanks!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. t. morris says:
    Downloaded the christmas song from amazon. Her voice is beautiful as allways but i thought he music was a little weak at times. still; it’s more Charice so i’m happy. can’t wait for her cd.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  19. Alex says:
    I got my copy of charice’s song this morning off itunes at 12:30am WOOHOO. Charice is one of the very few who can give me goosebumps and chills singing a Christmas song.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  20. justin says:
    Dang. I love the way she sang Holy Night.. it’s also kool that she sang the Christmas Song very jazzy and smooth. She has versatility
    and I love that about her. I look forward to hearing her new album..

    Once again, Charice’ Holy Night was awesome! No doubt about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  21. kababayan01 says:
    I loved the way Charice sing this song. It’s mellow and relaxing. Downloaded the song at Itunes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  22. justcharrie says:
    Pre-ordered it already and excited for the package. My CHARICE CD pile is getting higher, hehe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  23. CBToronto says:
    I am off today. I will check it out at HMV, Downtown, Toronto, if it is available.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. jazzy says:
    guys! just bought it at amazon! wow! charice is so amazing! download a copy!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  25. Mikey says:
    Just bought at ITunes. The xmas song by Charice is on replay mode, awesome version! Buy now in Itunes or amazon mp3, buy the CD. It’s for a good cause. Don’t forget to rate and review.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  26. MZ says:
    Just bought at ITunes! The Xmas Song by Charice is on replay mode, awesome arrangement, homerun again by Charice. Buy in ITunes or amazon mp3, buy the CD! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002X1G1NE/ref=dm_sp_alb?ie=UTF8&qid=1258955344&sr=8-1

    Great xmas CD feat. today’s rising young stars. It’s for a good cause too. Buy now and don’t forget to rate and review!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    • max says:

      MZ, thanks for the link. I just bought my copy and listened to it. What a great version. Charicve’s silky smooth voice carries this song to new heights.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  27. Fly N Dance says:
    have found this..
    charice and celine for the “o holy night”

    wanna share..just in case u haven’t seen it yet..perfectly awesome!


    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  28. max says:
    I just got home from a trip and I listen to “Sirius” radio when traveling. One channel was playing Christmas music all day. I heard Charice singing her duet of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with David Archuleta going last Friday and twice again coming home Sunday.

    It would be great if songs from this album were played on “Sirius” when it debuts on the 23rd. Charice sings Christmas songs the way they were meant to be sung, in my opinion, traditionally. “The Christmas Song” has been sung by many artists since Johnnie Mathis made it popular years ago. I’m looking forward to Charice’s full version. It should be great.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  29. zeidrich says:
    good luck charice, hope this album be #1

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  30. lou says:
    Will buy it definitely

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0


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