Saturday, December 14, 2019

Peter Cetera - Silent Night (1988)

Front cover of Winter Warnerland  CD & vinyl
For years I've owned Peter Cetera's "Silent Night," a song I obtained from someone I used to know who was a member of an old Chicago fan forum. While I like the track quite a bit I knew nothing about it except that it was the product of the former vocalist and bass player for Chicago.

"Silent Night" is an unusual arrangement for Cetera and his voice is not easily recognizable on this fun holiday work of pop art. It's also quite brief, it clocks in at 2:18, and falls squarely into the realm of country music.

Some people consider Cetera's version of this much loved carol to be almost sacrilegious because he quickens the pace of the melody quite a bit, thereby removing much of its spirituality.

Since I've always been the curious type when it comes to music I wanted to find out more about this rarity so I contacted another old forum friend who is a big Cetera fan. He didn't have a whole lot of information but it was enough to find most of what I needed on Google without much effort. (Thank you, sir).

Back cover, click to enlarge
Cetera's "Silent Night" is not on his 2004 Christmas album, You Just Gotta Love Christmas. It only appears on a promotional Christmas CD, Warner Wonderland, a limited edition set that was never made available to the public. It was produced by Warner Brothers Records and less than 2,500 copies were manufactured. It was given to radio stations, record stores, producers, and music journalists as a gift for the 1988 holiday season.

In addition to a host of rare performances, including some unknown and offbeat acts like Pee-Wee Herman, it was loaded with many respected and popular artists like Randy Travis, Los Lobos, R.E.M., Lou Reed, and Nelson Wilbury (a.k.a. George Harrison). The album also included seasonal jingles and holiday greetings radio stations could use on the air from Cetera, Reed, Wilbury, ZZ Top, and others.

The album is available on both CD and red vinyl from various sellers, many at collector's prices, at Discogs and Amazon.

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