Universal Music Group and Starbuck’s Hear Music have partnered for the release and distribution of “Elton John’s Christmas Party” (Billboard Sept. 10). Beginning Nov. 10, the collection will be available exclusively at Starbucks Company-operated stores in the United States and Canada.
The 21-song collection spotlights the artist’s favorite holiday party songs, including the Ronettes’ “Frosty the Snowman,” the Pretenders’ “2000 Miles,” U2’s “New Year’s Day” and the Flaming Lips’ “A Change at Christmas (Say It Isn’t So).” The set also features a new duet by John and Joss Stone, “Calling It Christmas,” which was penned by John and writing partner Bernie Taupin.
Starbucks and UMG will donate $2 from each CD sold to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
In related news, Sir Elton has become an ambassador to the Gay Games. The seventh installment of the quadrennial Gay Games—a mix of athletic competitions and cultural performances aimed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community—is scheduled for July 15-22, 2006, in Chicago. Joining John as Gay Games Ambassadors are Olympic medalists Petra Rössner and Judith Arndt, tennis player Billie Jean King, rocker Melissa Etheridge and others.
Gay Games VII are expected to showcase more than 12,000 athletes from over 100 countries, competing in 30 sports. The July 15 opening ceremony is slated for Soldier Field, while the July 22 closing ceremony will take place at Wrigley Field.