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4.5 out of 5 stars
Now That's What I Call Christmas!
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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This CD is one of the best Christmas compilations I have found, as it collects an assortment of older and contemporary Christmas tunes, separated into two discs.
The song selection and disc split is pretty good. If you're entertaining the grandparents, put on the first disc; if you're trying to be hip and cool, put on the second disc. The first disc is primarily older classic Christmas songs, many of which are found on other compilations. The second disc contains contemporary Christmas songs, including instant classics.
Nearly all of the 36 songs have been previously released and are available elsewhere, but some of the songs are rather hard to find on CD. For instance, the Band Aid "Do They Know It's Christmas?" is on Midge Ure's Greatest Hits and an Import Christmas CD. It is otherwise difficult to obtain, as is Springsteen's classic version of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town."
The main style of music missing from these CDs, however, is the classic Motown sound - Christmas songs by Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, the Temptations, etc. (There are also some 80's Christmas classics not inlcuded, such as Bryan Adams' "Christmastime" and Hall & Oates version of "Jingle Bell Rock" - it would be difficult to have everything included, and those songs can be found elsewhere.)
The liner notes provide a brief explanation of each song, which is somewhat interesting but not always accurate. (For instance, the notes indicate that the Beach Boys have never recorded a Christmas album in their 40 year career - a search at Amazon reveals the 1964 Christmas Album, which has been repackaged and rereleased with extra tracks.)
Notwithstanding missing the classic Motown tracks, for the price of this CD (dollar amount), it can't be beat - there's a little something for everyone, young and old alike. If you're going to buy only one Christmas compilation, this is highly recommended.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Now where else can you find all this talent on just 36 tracks and 2-CD-Set that covers five decades of "Christmas Music"...from the popular "NOW" series from Universal Music, a decision was made to release some lesser known selections from top talent from the past and present...and you know what, it works!
To clarify my above statement, many artist/musicians have released Christmas albums, but no one has ever heard as many of them on one CD..."NOW" gives you this and more...36 artists from 36 different genres such as Country, R&B, Alternative Rock, New Age, Folk, Jazz, Comedy, Reggae, Easy Listening and of course "Classic Christmas" standards.
Must make mention of the stand outs ~ "MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING"(Carpenters)..."LITTLE DRUMMER BOY/PEACE ON EARTH"(Bing Crosby/David Bowie)..."HAPPY CHRISTMAS(WAR IS OVER)"(John&Yoko)..."IT MUST HAVE BEEN OL' SANTA CLAUS"(Harry Connick Jr.)..."JINGLE BELLS"(Diana Krall)...and my personal favorite "AWAY IN THE MANAGER"(Mannheim Steamroller), you'll never come up with a better compilation for this time of the year.
Entire album will make your Holiday's a time to cherish...excellent opportunity to introduce the youngsters to some of the standard Christmas classics, and never a better time to familarize the older generation with the NOW generation!
Total 2-CD-Set ~ Universal Music 314-585-620-2 ~ (2001)
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
A remarkably low-priced two CD-set chock full of Christmas classics, "Now That's What I Call Christmas" is simply too good to pass up. The names read like a Who's Who of 20th Century Pop: Sinatra, Ella, Bing Crosby, Elvis, Lennon, Springsteen, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, the Beach Boys, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett and a host of others. The songs run the gamut from classic (Crosby's "White Christmas") to novelty (Elmo & Patsy's "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer") to flat-out fun (Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"). Disc One, loaded with classics, is the stronger of the two. However Disc Two, filled with more modern material, has its moments as well. Most notable are Springsteen's wonderfully gruff "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and Lennon's 1970 classic "Happy Christmas(War is Over)". Overall, you'd be hard pressed to find a better selection of Christmas music anywhere. It's all here -- from the crooners to the rockers. Truly a perfect stocking stuffer, I only wish this collection had been available years ago.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon November 7, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Now That's What I Call Christmas! offers a little bit of something for every musical tastes. The two disk set runs the gamut from Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald to Shaggy and Britney Spears. The set offers classic Christmas songs like the all-time standard "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song", Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree", Gene Autrey's "Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer" and "Let It Snow" by Dean Martin. Other well known songs include Bruce Springsteen's classic take on "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", the song that started the benefit song trend in the 80's, Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" which is still a powerful and beautiful song, the odd pairing of Bing Crosby and David Bowie on the beautiful "Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth", John Lennon's "Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)", The Beach Boys' rollicking "Little St. Nick" and Paul McCartney's bright and cheery "Wonderful Christmas". Some lesser known songs standout like Diana Krall's sultry "Jungle Bells" and The Isley Brothers' "Special Gift". You can skip over such weak songs like the overplayed and inane "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer", Gloria Estefan's "Love On Layaway" and Michael Bolton's "Love Is A Holiday". As far as Christmas collections go, this one ranks right up near the top.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This CD set is really quite interesting. I bought this because of the first CD, which is full of clear, great recordings of all the Christmas classics. (like Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," and Nat King Cole's must-have "The Christmas Song.")The second CD had some nice surprises too, though.
I felt the second CD was only there so that younger people would buy the set--what teenager, for instance, cares about Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, or Tony Bennett? So, they added Britney Spears, N'Sync, Joe, and other "modern" artists to appeal to everyone. While some of the songs, like Britney's, just sound like the same ol' pop songs with the words Christmas and Santa in the same-ol'-stupid-sounding lyrics, there are some jewels on this CD (like Boyz II Men's "Silent Night," John & Yoko's "Happy X-Mas," and Manheim Steamroller's (THE Christmas band) "Away in a Manger.")
Overall, I would say to anyone ("...kids from one to ninety-two...") buy this.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I really loved "Now Christmas"! Almost every song puts me right into the spirit (even after hearing them all day at work!). There is a certian magic about Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, et. al. at Christmastime, and the first CD of this set does not fail to deliver! (I would also definitely recommend Bing Crosby's White Christmas album - I grew up on it, and just having White Christmas on this cd is not enough! You've gotta hear the rest of his xmas songs!)
Hearing Burl Ives' "Holly Jolly Christmas" brings a tear to my eye, remembering how the Rudolph TV show used to (and I bet it still would) make me cry! And I love the classic rock n roll songs like Jingle Bell Rock - the cd wouldn't have been complete without them!
And the second cd provides a more modern collection, some of the songs I like, some of them I love, and some of them I could do without. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is, of course, a main reason why I bought the CD, and it doesn't fail to shine brightly among the others! I really enjoy the Band Aid xmas song, The Carpenters' Merry Christmas Darling, Diana Krall's Jingle Bells, and even (dare I say it!) Britney Spears' "My Only Wish"! It's a really cute song, if you ask me!
Really, the only ones I would leave off this cd are: Grandma Got Run over By a Reindeer (I know it's essential, but I HATE THAT SONG!!!!!), Our Love is Like a Holiday, Love on Layaway, This Christmas (nothing against the song, but I don't like Joe), Don't Save it all For Christmas Day (I LOVE Celine Dion's xmas music, but I would have picked a different song) and You Don't Have to Be Alone (I would perfer a different NSYNC song, like maybe "Under My Tree" or "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays"). Oh, and I would have added Feliz Navidad and something by Jewel - maybe if she was lucky, even Christina Aguilera could have a song on it (just promise you won't shout too loud! Wouldn't want to blow the speaker now!:)).
I really do love this CD, though! Buy it! :)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
I've been compiling my own Christmas anthologies from my personal collection of more than 200 holiday albums for the past several years. But if you want to save time and money and get a terrific collection in the process, this is a nearly perfect collection!
Sure, this anthology is all over the map stylistically, but that's what I love about it. You don't get caught in a rut. You get old standards like Nat "King" Cole's definitive version of "The Christmas Song" along with Bing Crosby's classic "White Christmas." You also get John Lennon's poignant "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)." The Beach Boys' "Little St. Nick" is one of the best rock 'n' roll Christmas songs ever. You get a touch of new age with Mannheim Steamroller's "Away In a Manger." And whose childhood doesn't include memories of hearing Burl Ives sing "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas"? And to my knowledge, this is the first appearance of Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas." The only real clunker in the whole collection is the Elmo & Patsy number, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." [If you HAVE to include a novelty song, I'd rather have "The Chipmunk Song" by the Chipmunks.]
Song for song, this is one of the best Christmas collections available that will appeal to kids from one to ninety-two. So throw another yule log on the fire, pop this in the CD player, pour yourself an egg nog and enjoy! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD
When I first saw this CD was coming out, I knew I had to buy it. It contains music for everyone, from young children to elderly people. I have grown up listening to Bing Crosby on Christmas Day so I knew this CD would be good. The first CD has some of the best older songs and is definitely well-worth your money. The second CD is very good as well because if you are in the younger generation, you will greatly enjoy this CD. Overall, I like both CDs and think they would make your Christmas festivities more cheerful. If you have any doubts, BUY IT!!! Believe me, you won't regret it!!!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I have a huge Christmas library and have most of the songs on this cd on other collections. The only reason I got it was for the songs "Happy Xmas", "Do They Know It's Christmas?", "Wonderful Christmastime" and "Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer". None of which I had on any of the numerous Christmas cd's I already had. For them I'm completely happy with my purchase.
If you're like me and have most of these songs aldeady, there is something else besides the rare songs listed above to entice you. In the booklet, they include a paragraph about each song telling you the songs history, how high it charted, when it was recorded and other such info. It's a small thing, but added to my enjoyment as I learned things I hadn't known before.
For the rest of you, the entire set is a mixed bag. There are terrific standards (Ella's Sleigh Ride) and awful new recordings (Michale Bolton's Our Love Is A Holiday) mixed in with a few that fall somewhere inbetween (Diana Krall's Jingle Bells). Thankfully the strength of the great songs far outweighs the weakness of the newer, weaker songs. I can easily imagine this becoming one of the few Christmas cd's someone ownes because of the number of great classic songs it contains.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This new collection of holiday tunes really is a great collection with just about every Christmas classic you could want. Disc one covers the older hits that we've all come to know and sing year after year. In fact you'll probably find that there isn't a track to skip on the first disc, on the second disc however you get the newer artists doing newer tunes that don't seem to have the same punch as the classics. The first four tracks on disc two are great, after that it becomes more hit or miss. I bought this collection mainly for the Kathy Mattea track which was recorded for this collection. It's a medley of carols that Mattea pulls off very well. The only track that is missing that should have been included is Bing Crosby's "Do You Hear What I Hear". I suppose it's ommission is understandable in that he already has two tracks included, but it is missed. The only other complaint is the liner notes which tend to be a bit misleading. First off the notes claim that "Blue Christmas" by Elvis is making a rare CD appearence, this track is on every repackaged Elvis Christmas album in print! The notes claim that there has never been a Beach Boys Christmas album, again, this is not true. Finally the notes state that Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" wasn't issued to the public until 1985. This track was originally part of the "In Harmony" album from the late 70's. Aside from all this, this collection is sure to add some holiday cheer to your home this and every season to follow.
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