Pop Culture Savvy: A Very Special Christmas

Savannah Sawyer

With Thanksgiving said and well done, it is finally time to turn our attention to my second favorite holiday, Christmas.

I have to admit, I am one of those people who will listen to Christmas music year-round, no matter the season.

I?mean, what other holiday has its own genre of music? It doesn’t get much better than that.

My all-time favorite Christmas song would have to be Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Merry Christmas Baby,” (my favorite Christmas song is by Springsteen, big surprise there).

The song came from one of the popular christmas albums, “A Very Special Christmas,” which features various artists with each album produced.

Every year, my sister, my mom and I have the tradition of putting up the Christmas decorations around the house while listening to the slew of Christmas albums we own. “A Very Special Christmas” are the ones we gravitate toward first.

Little did I know, the purchase of these albums is going to a great cause.

Co-producers Bobby Shriver, Vicki Iovine, and Paul Marshall got together 25 years ago to put out the first “A Very Special Christmas” album donating all the proceeds to the Special Olympics. The album series is now “the single most successful benefit recording in musical history,” the AVSC website stated.

They were able to get big-named artists such as Madonna, U2, Springsteen and other such musicians along with record labels and producers to donate their time and talent to help put out the album.

“Approximately $109 million in royalties and investment proceeds has been generated by the sale of the AVSC albums to support Special Olympics’ athletes with intellectual disabilities,” the AVSC website stated.

The idea originally came to Jimmy Ivoine, a music producer who has made his career by working with well-known music legends including John Lennon, Springsteen and Tom Petty, after his father passed away. He wanted to give a memorial to him.

His wife, Vicki, volunteers for the Speical Olympics and initially suggested the idea of the money raising Christmas album to her husband.

After receiving approval from Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Founder of the Special Olympics, the Ivoine’s put their plan into action.

One hundred percent of the albums’ proceeds goes directly to the Special Olympics and is disbursed through the Christmas Record Trust Grant Program.

The program distributes the monies made each year through the albums and gives­­ it to the least-advantaged athletes from all over the world who participate in the Special Olympics.

Since the first album dropped in 1987 there have been eight other albums.

This year the 25th Anniversary album was released Oct. 16 and features artists such as Jason Mraz, Train and Christina Aguilera.

Column by Savannah Sawyer, Assistant Features Editor