Sting, Sheryl Crow, U2, John Mellencamp, Jon Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder are among the superstars featured on the first-ever DVD collection from the "A Very Special Christmas" series of holiday music, sales of which benefit Special Olympics. "A Very Special Christmas - 20th Anniversary Music Video Collection" will be released today through Hipp-O/Universal Music, and features rarely seen Christmas videos from No Doubt, U2, Bon Jovi, John Mellencamp, Sting, Vanessa Williams and Run DMC, and live performances from Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, Wyclef Jean and Tracy Chapman from the 1998 and 2000 "Christmas at the White House" specials.
"A Very Special Christmas is a fitting way to spread holiday cheer," said Timothy Shriver, Special Olympics Chairman, "but, more importantly, this gift will help bring the joy of Special Olympics to many more children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing them the chance of a new life - a life of participation, pride, friendship and joy."
"I am full of admiration for the many artists who have helped us. It's a great tribute that these men and women say to themselves, 'I'll use my talent to help others,'" said Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the inaugural release of the A Very Special Christmas series of holiday albums. The project was launched in 1987 when record executive/producer Jimmy Iovine decided that a Christmas album would be a beautiful memorial to his father. His wife, Vicki, suggested that the album benefit Special Olympics, for which she was working as a volunteer. Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss (the "A" and "M" of A&M Records) helped make the first A Very Special Christmas album possible with an advance and a commitment to handle the record without taking any royalties, and Bobby Shriver (son of Special Olympics Founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver) signed on as a producer. Keith Haring, one of the great artists of the 20th century, created the Madonna and child artwork that has appeared on the cover of every CD in the series.
Special Olympics is a year-round sports organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Numbering more than 190 million worldwide, people with intellectual disabilities make up the largest disability population in the world. Currently, Special Olympics is over 2.5 million athletes strong in more than 165 nations around the world. Sales of the A Very Special Christmas series have raised more than US0 million, which is disbursed through grants to Special Olympics programs around the world.
Special Olympics recently held the 2007 World Summer Games in Shanghai, the largest Special Olympics World Games ever, in which 7,500 athletes from 164 nations around the world competed in 25 different Olympic-type and demonstration sports. The Opening Ceremony, produced for television by Don Mischer, was the most watched television program in the history of Special Olympics, reaching over 1 billion people in 80 countries.
"A Very Special Christmas - 20th Anniversary Music Video Collection" will be available at Best Buy, Walmart, K-Mart, Buy.com, Overstock.com and Amazon.com. The series of albums released over the years includes "A Very Special Christmas," "A Very Special Christmas 2," "A Very Special Christmas 3," "A Very Special Christmas Live," "A Very Special Christmas 5," "Jazz to the World," "World Christmas," "A Very Special Acoustic Christmas" and "Una Noche de Paz Muy Especial." Some of the most important recording artists in the world have donated songs to the A Very Special Christmas albums including Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Smashing Pumpkins, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Enrique Iglesias, Cesaria Evora, Gipsy Kings, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, and Aretha Franklin. "Una Noche de Paz Muy Especial - A Very Special Latin Christmas" features top Latin talent such as Enrique Iglesias, Don Omar, Jose Feliciano and Los Tucanes de Tijuana.
A Very Special Christmas - 20th Anniversary Music Video Collection" Video Listing:
Run DMC - Christmas in Hollis
U2- Christmas (Baby Please Come Here)
No Doubt - Oi To The World
John Mellencamp - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Sting - Gabriel's Message
Jon Bon Jovi - Please Come Home For Christmas
Vanessa Williams - What Child Is This
Eric Clapton -Christmas Tears
Tracy Chapman -Oh Holy Night
Sheryl Crow - Run Rudolph Run
Wyclef Jean - Little Drummer Boy / Hot Hot Hot
Stevie Wonder (with Wyclef Jean) - Merry Christmas Baby