‘A Very Special Christmas’ Album Series Celebrates 25th Anniversary with the Release of Two Albums Benefitting Special Olympics

August 06, 2012

The ‘A Very Special Christmas’ holiday music series, benefitting Special Olympics, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this holiday season with the first ever release of two new albums on October 16, each on a different label. 

Two New Albums

The titles of the albums, as unveiled today, are: A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS 25TH ANNIVERSARY on Big Machine Records and A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS: BRINGING PEACE ON EARTH on Word Records.

Timothy P. Shriver (Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics), Scott Borchetta (President and CEO of Big Machine Label Group), Rod Riley (President and CEO of Word Entertainment), Jimmy Clark (Special Olympics athlete and Global Messenger), the Honorable Karl Dean (Mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County), Francesca Battistelli (chart-topping Christian crossover artist, Dove Award winner) and members of Train were on hand in Nashville at Blackbird Studios, where Train is recording “Joy to the World,” to make the announcement.  The artists unveiled the artwork for the new projects, which incorporates the legendary Keith Haring Madonna & Child artwork used historically on the series.

A Remarkable Gift

“This album series has been a remarkable gift to our Special Olympics athletes,” said Shriver.  “Thanks to the generosity of countless incredible people across the music industry, the legacy from the ‘A Very Special Christmas’ album series continues to support and sustain our work to bring the joy of sport to people with intellectual disabilities which in turn fosters a global community of acceptance and inclusion.”

Special Olympics changes lives through the power of sport, as the world’s largest organization dedicated to year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people with intellectual disabilities.

Since 1987, the biggest and brightest voices in the recording industry have generously lent their time and talents to Special Olympics to create the holiday album series ‘A Very Special Christmas,’the single most successful benefit recording series in musical history generating more than $100 million in royalties to benefit Special Olympics.  

First Ever Simultaneous Releases

The talent was so abundant this year, it called for the release of two full albums, the first time in the history of the series that two albums will be released simultaneously:

A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS 25TH ANNIVERSARY - Christina Aguilera, Francesca Battistelli, Michael Bublé, Cheap Trick, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz, One Republic, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Train, and Wonder Girls.


A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS: BRINGING PEACE ON EARTH - Meredith Andrews, Chris August, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Jason Castro, Group 1 Crew, for KING & COUNTRY, Dara Maclean, Jamie Grace, Natalie Grant, and Sidewalk Prophets.

Created by Jimmy and Vicki Iovine and Bobby Shriver, along with Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, the ‘AVery Special Christmas’ series has brought together top musical talent who donated their time and talent, and publishers and record labels who gave consent and waived royalties. Twenty-five years and seven albums later, the series has generated over $100 million in royalties and become the largest single source of funding for Special Olympics and its athletes.


Vital Work Made Possible

Grants from the Christmas Record Trust have enabled Special Olympics to implement programs worldwide, from the United States to Timor Leste, China to Uganda, Cambodia to Haiti and more. In more than 100 of the Special Olympics Programs that have received Christmas Record grants, nearly 25 percent were classified by the United Nations as operating in Least Developed Countries.  In these countries the need to support people with intellectual disabilities is critical.  In the United States, these funds have also supported Special Olympics programs in urban areas such as New York City, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

The Christmas Record Trust has also directly impacted the lives of Special Olympics athletes.  For example, Cindy Bentleyin Wisconsin was born with an intellectual disability, abandoned as a baby and shuffled through foster care. Thanks to the Christmas Record grants her local Special Olympics program received, she got involved in sports competitions, gained confidence and today she holds a full-time job and is an active advocate for people with intellectual disabilities.  Najila Aghais a Special Olympics athlete from Afghanistan - a local Special Olympics program started through funds raised from ‘A Very Special Christmas’ albums went from living in an orphanage in Kabul to competing in Special Olympics World Games.

Each successive album of the series has honored the quality of its predecessors with timeless recordings of holiday music by some of the most influential and talented artists of their time.  U2, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Madonna, Sting, Bon Jovi, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Wyclef Jean, Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Vanessa Williams and Bryan Adams are among the stars who contributed tracks to previous albums and whose songs for ‘A Very Special Christmas’ have become perennial favorites on the radio and at holiday celebrations over the years. Learn more about ‘A Very Special Christmas’ at www.averyspecialchristmas.org

About Big Machine Label Group

At the helm of the independent Big Machine Label Group is industry veteran Scott Borchetta, who serves as President and CEO. The conglomerate encompasses Big Machine Records (founded in 2005), The Valory Music Co. (founded in 2007) and Republic Nashville (a partnership with Universal Republic founded in 2009 with Jimmy Harnen serving as President) as well as Big Machine Music Publishing. The Big Machine Label Group’s current artist roster includes Multi-Platinum superstars Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Reba and Martina McBride; Platinum sensations The Band Perry; legendary group The Mavericks; Breakout Gold-selling artist Brantley Gilbert; Chart-topping acts Eli Young Band Justin Moore as well as Hot newcomers Sunny Sweeney, Edens Edge, Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line, Greg Bates, RaeLynn and Ella Mae Bowen. BMLG artists have received multiple GRAMMY, CMA, ACM, American Music Awards, CMT Music Awards, Teen Choice Awards, MTV Video Music Award and People’s Choice Award accolades as well as Brit Award and JUNO Award nominations. The label group has also forayed into the racing world, sponsoring the Brickyard 400 as well as back-to-back Indy500 drivers.

About Word Entertainment

A leader in the music industry for over 60 years, Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb company, is a unique, comprehensive entertainment company comprised of multi-faceted artist service departments including publishing, merchandising, booking, and online initiatives. Word Entertainment represents some of the top names and brands in music, including Meredith Andrews, Chris August, BarlowGirl, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Jason Castro, Patrick Ryan Clark, Everfound, for KING & COUNTRY, Group 1 Crew, Dara Maclean, Point Of Grace and Sidewalk Prophets and is home to 25 Entertainment, Word Distribution (representing Curb Records and Big Idea/VeggieTales among others), Word Print, Word Music Publishing and Word Label Group’s Word Records and Fervent Records.

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