Christmas with Universal Music Enterprises

Giving the gift of music this holiday season just became a lot more joyful with a series of intriguing new releases from Universal Music Enterprises. Spotlighted under this Christmas tree are a collection of seasonal Classic Rock favorites, two-CD packages that pair an artist's holiday album with their "best of" album, a three-CD set of music from one of the best-selling benefit projects in history, the latest Christmas album in the phenomenally successful NOW That's What I Call Music! franchise, a Motown Christmas disc, and more.

Classic Rock Christmas brings together traditional and contemporary holiday songs sung by the biggest names in rock, from Elton John, Styx, Bryan Adams, and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Pat Benatar, Joey Ramone, and the Moody Blues, as well as artists such as Joan Osborne, Richie Sambora, Elvin Bishop, and Southern Culture On The Skids who contribute hard-to-find tracks.

The Christmas & Hits Duos series offers double-disc sets with an album of Christmas songs and an album of hits from each artist. The Best Of Louis Armstrong & Friends - The Christmas Collection is paired with the venerable jazz giant's Definitive Collection. The Best Of Boyz Ii Men - The Christmas Collection is teamed with the modern vocal masters' Legacy - The Greatest Hits Collection. Parrotheads can rejoice with Jimmy Buffett's Christmas Island and his Songs You Know By Heart retrospective. The Best Of Burl Ives is heard with both the folksinger's Christmas Collection and Millennium Collection.

Legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald offers A Swinging Christmas with her Pure Ella. Country star Toby Keith adds his Christmas To Christmas to his Greatest Hits 2. The Very Best Of Diana Krall accompanies the jazz stylist's Christmas Songs. Smooth Jazz instrumentalist Brian Culbertson includes A Soulful Christmas with his newest studio album, Bringing Back The Funk.

Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd present Christmas Time Again with their All Time Greatest Hits. The Best Of Reba Entire - The Christmas Collection joins the country queen's Greatest Hits Volume Iii - I'm A Survivor. With The Best Of The Moody Blues you'll find these progressive rockers' holiday disc December. The Best Of Aaron Neville - The Christmas Collection is matched with the soulful crooner's Ultimate Collection.

From Motown, The Best Of The Supremes - The Christmas Collection bookends Number 1's from the greatest girl group of all time as well as solo Diana Ross. Stevie Wonder's Number 1's is paired With The Best Of Stevie Wonder - The Christmas Collection. The greatest male vocal group of all time, the Temptations, unwraps Give Love At Christmas and The Ultimate Collection.

A Very Special Christmas, which has benefited the Special Olympics since 1987, experiences a different repackaging. The Playlist Plus+ collection combines three of the six CDs released in the series: A Very Special Christmas 2 with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Jon Bon Jovi, Vanessa Williams, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt and more; A Very Special Christmas 3 with Sting, the Smashing Pumpkins, Sheryl Crow, Enya, No Doubt, Mary J. Blige and others; and the country-leaning A Very Special Acoustic Christmas with Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Patty Loveless, Wynonna, Reba McEntire, etc., in an eco-friendly package.

So, too, is Motown Christmas in the Playlist Your Way series, which features a digital download card offering access to a free podcast and special music offers online. The album stars the Temptations with a previously unreleased "Jingle Bells, " Marvin Gaye, the Miracles, Diana Ross, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, the Funk Brothers, the Four Tops and Kim Weston.

The 25 most popular holiday songs from 1957 to 2007 can be heard on The Essential Now That's What I Call Christmas!, the latest Christmas-themed release from the hugely successful NOW That's What I Call Music! series of compilation albums that has collectively scanned over 70 million units in the U.S. in the last 10 years. The three previously released volumes of NOW That's What I Call Christmas! have scanned more than 5 million units combined. Along with "Mistletoe" from Colbie Caillat (making its CD debut), and tracks from two other newer artists, Carrie Underwood and Ledisi, are vintage gems from legends Elvis Presley and John Lennon (with Yoko Ono); traditionalists Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis, Gene Autry, the Harry Simeone Chorale, and Burl Ives; pop greats Elton John, the Beach Boys, and the Jackson 5; R&B's the Temptations and Donny Hathaway; and kids' faves the Chipmunks and Elmo & Patsy, plus Chuck Berry, Paul McCartney, Amy Grant and more.

A Holly Jolly Kids Christmas, which comes from the Universal Music Family series released earlier this year, takes its title from Burl Ives' "A Holly Jolly Christmas, " and also includes his "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, " plus Bobby Helms with the classic "Jingle Bell Rock, " the Jackson 5 singing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, " Brenda Lee with her perennial favorite "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, " plus the humorous novelty tunes "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" and "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer."

New to the 20th Century Masters -The Christmas Collection series this year is The Best Of 38 Special - The Christmas Collection from the Southern rock stalwarts. Various hits include "Jingle Bell Rock, " "Little Drummer Boy, " "Santa Claus is Back in Town, " and "O' Holy Night."

Also available once again are dozens of albums in the 20th Century Masters - The Christmas Collection series. The artists spreading their musical holiday cheer with "best of" Christmas albums are Louis Armstrong & Friends, Boyz II Men, James Brown, Bing Crosby, Four Tops, Hanson, Engelbert Humperdinck, Burl Ives, the Jackson 5, B.B. King, Patti LaBelle, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Michael McDonald, Reba McEntire, Aaron Neville, New Edition, Olivia Newton-John, 98 Degrees, the Oak Ridge Boys, the Platters, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Ringo Starr, the Statler Brothers, George Strait, Donna Summer, the Supremes, the Temptations, Vanessa Williams, and Stevie Wonder. Some of the biggest selling "best of" albums in the non-holiday 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection are on the shelves as well, including those from the Temptations, Four Tops, the Jackson 5, and Stevie Wonder.

Offering something for everyone, 20th Century Masters - The Christmas Collection also features genre albums with various artists, such as A Country Christmas, A Smooth Jazz Christmas, Americana Christmas, Blues Christmas, the operatic Great Voices Of Christmas, and two volumes each of Motown Christmas and Christmas Jazz. For an overall "best of Christmas, " there is Santa's Greatest Hits.

This year, when it comes to Christmas music, UMe will be Santa's helper stuffing the stockings.

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