Christmas came early for the U.K. music biz as Annie Lennox made an impromptu performance at the launch of her new holiday album.
Lennox launched her "Christmas Cornucopia" album -- her first for Universal after spending most of her career with Sony -- with a festive-themed playback at MusicRoom in London last night (Sept. 28). The room was decked with Christmas trees and candy canes, and mince pies were served as industry and media got a first listen to Lennox's interpretations of Yuletide standards including "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "The First Noel," "The Holly and the Ivy" and "Silent Night."
But Lennox ditched the Christmas theme when BBC Radio 2 DJ Ken Bruce introduced her live set, which included Eurythmics hits "There Must Be an Angel (Playing With My Heart)," "Here Comes the Rain Again" and "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" as well as her solo songs "No More 'I Love You's" and "Little Bird."
"I know it's surreal listening to Christmas songs in September," she said. "But I've been feeling surreal all year, because I've been singing these songs since October last year."
"The old woman rarely sings live these days," quipped Lennox, "But tonight is like an intimate evening in my living room."
The album, her first since 2007's "Songs of Mass Destruction" - which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 and No. 7 in the U.K. - is due Nov. 15 in the United Kingdom on Island Records and a day later in the United States on Decca. As well as 11 Christmas standards, the album contains a new Lennox composition, "Universal Child," which will be the lead single from the album. The star is donating all her royalties from the track to her HIV/AIDS charity the Annie Lennox Foundation.
The record features contributions from South Africa's African Children's Choir on several tracks, with a strong African feel to some of the Christmas songs.