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A Very Special Christmas Compilation

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 19 1987)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Compilation
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B000002GFJ
  • Other Editions: Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,885 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - The Pointer Sisters
2. Winter Wonderland - Eurythmics
3. Do You Hear What I Hear? - Whitney Houston
4. Merry Christmas Baby - Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
5. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas -The Pretenders
6. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - John Cougar Mellencamp
7. Gabriel's Message - Sting
8. Christmas In Hollis - Run-D.M.C.
9. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - U2
10. Santa Baby - Madonna
11. The Little Drummer Boy - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
12. Run Rudolph Run - Bryan Adams
13. I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas-Bon Jovi
14. The Coventry Carol - Alison Moyet
15. Silent Night - Stevie Nicks

Product Description


When was the last time you heard collard greens being sung about in a Christmas song? Probably never, unless you're a Run DMC fan, or were wise enough to hop on the Very Special Christmas tip. The rappers' contribution to this benefit collection is probably the highlight, although traditional songs covered by now-traditional artists like the Pretenders ("Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas") provide the majority of the material here. Eurythmics turn in a suitably chilly "Winter Wonderland," Stevie Nicks sings a beautifully haunting "Silent Night," and Whitney Houston proves again that she's every woman with "Do You Hear What I Hear"--that is, every woman with a voice strong enough to do the song justice. "Santa Baby," Madonna's contribution, isn't as sultry as it could be, but there's more fun thanks to hell-on-heels, the Pointer Sisters and Bon Jovi. --Steve Gdula

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Hard to believe that 16 years have gone by since this compilation was first released (1987). It is the first in what is now a five-volume series and perhaps the best of them all. Many of these recording artists featured on this record, I am not particularly a fan of. But they sure sound great doing Christmas music! My only real beef with this album is that there are no original Christmas songs here. All of these songs are covers of well-known and mostly over-recorded Christmas classics. But by and large, they are very well done and in most cases, they are given a new and refreshing twist.
The set kicks off with a frenetic version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" by the Pointer Sisters with a Clarence Clemens like saxophone break in the middle, injecting some new life into this tired classic. This is followed by the Eurythmics eclectic version of "Winter Wonderland" that sounds just as fresh today as it did then. Then we have Whitney Houston, pre-Bobby Brown, doing a powerful version of "Do You Hear What I Hear." Whitney was hottest female vocalist on the planet back in 1987 and this recording reveals her at the top of her game, before her long and sad slide downward.
Speaking of Clarence Clemens, we have Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band up next doing a live version of "Merry Christmas Baby." And the hits keep coming. The Pretenders (Chrissie Hynde) with an awesome version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and then John Mellencamp (still known as John Cougar back in those days) belting out a rocking version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."
But the best of this album is still to come! Sting's otherworldly "Gabriel's Message" is just perfect for the holiday season.
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Format: Audio CD
A Very Special Christmas is the first in an excellent series of Christmas music CDs that no fan of holiday tunes can afford to be without. The quality of the sound is great and the diversity of the artists means that there's practically something for everyone on the CD.

Several highlights on this album come to mind right away. I like The Pointer Sisters doing an awesome job on "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town;" they harmonize well and the percussion along with the arrangement gives this holiday classic just a twist of a more modern, jazzy flavor. The Eurythmics also do a great job on "Winter Wonderland;" the melody moves along very well and they use the percussion well. Moreover, Whitney Houston's "Do You Hear What I Hear" has a great gospel and soul influence I really like.

Run-D.M.C. also makes a contribution with their "Christmas In Hollis." If you like rap or hip hop; this one's for you. It's not my favorite style of music but I actually enjoyed this track anyway. I like the beat of the melody.

Madonna does a excellent job on "Santa Baby," all the while using her voice to convey subtle (and maybe not so subtle) romantic innuendos. Eartha Kitt still rules for "Santa Baby" but Madonna's interpretation is a very close second place winner. Great flute on "Santa Baby," too.

Stevie Nicks does disappoint me somewhat; one reviewer wrote that she sounds "like a goat" but I wouldn't go that far--it's just not her strongest performance. That's a shame, too, because after an album like this there should be a stunning ending that leaves you wanting more. Oops! This one doesn't cut it.

The liner notes give us the song credits and great artwork; and there is a brief commentary by Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
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Format: Audio CD
Released back in 1987 when a pop Christmas album was the exception rather than the rule, this compilation-for-charity set a standard that still is pretty hard to beat today. How many charity albums can you name that had heavyweights like U2, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, etc, while also introducing people to rap's first Christmas song courtesy of Run DMC? To show it's significance compare the album to its sequels; by the time AVSC 5 came out in 2001 the album was filled with the likes of Eve 6, City High, SR-71(?), and so on; not quite the same A-listers. Not to mention AVSC's songs have become classics over the years; U2's Christmas (Please Come Home), Eurythmics' Winter Wonderland, Stevie Nicks' Silent Night, etc. all get regular airplay every Christmas.

In a bit of revisionist history, Bon Jovi's live pop-metal version of Back Door Santa was replaced in later editions by the gentler and more melodic I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas; it's inclusion actually fits in better as the original song was probably the weak point of the album.

The songs have scattered to various collections in the two decades since; if you've bought Christmas compilations over the years chances are you'll own some of this music already. But if you want the first and best Christmas cd from where these songs originated, this is a must for your holiday collection.
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Format: Audio CD
Most of these songs were specially recorded for this charity album and some of the performances are outstanding. It's hard to pick out highlights when there are so many great performances, but here are a few.
I love Madonna's cover of the Eartha Kitt classic, Santa baby. Do you hear what I hear was recorded early in Whitney Houston's career when I enjoyed her music. Santa Claus is coming to town is performed with great enthusiasm by the Pointer sisters.
Christmas (Baby please come home) is a superb cover of Phil Spector's classic song from his famous sixties Christmas album, on which it was performed by Darlene Love.
Although I've heard more different versions of Silent night than of any other song (Christmas or otherwise), I can say that the version included here by ex-Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks is among the best, if not the best, that I've heard.
Indeed, there's only one track that I'm not keen on. I've never been a rap fan so Christmas in Hollis by Run D M C does not appeal to me, but I can live with it.
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