Hear SCOTT WEILAND's Previously Unreleased Cover Of JOHN LENNON And YOKO ONO's 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)'
September 30, 2022
Inspired by celebrated crooners like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and VELVET REVOLVER singer Scott Weiland recorded a deeply personal album of holiday standards in 2011 titled "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year". The original 10-song collection will be expanded with four unreleased recordings for its vinyl debut this holiday season, marking the first posthumous music to be released from the Weiland vault.
Due October 21, "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year: Deluxe Edition" will be released as two vinyl versions, one red and one green. One of the previously unreleased tracks featured on the "Deluxe Edition" is Weiland's stirring cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's anti-war anthem "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". Sadly, the song's message is as relevant today as it was when it was released in 1971. Weiland's version is available today on all digital download and streaming services along with a new animated video for the track.
The other unreleased tracks debuting on the upcoming "Deluxe Edition" were recorded at Weiland's Lavish Studio during rehearsals for "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year". They offer alternate versions of three album tracks: "White Christmas", "Winter Wonderland" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". In addition to the bonus tracks, the "Deluxe Edition" also features newly updated album artwork.
Initially, the idea to record a holiday album grew out of Weiland's 2009 performance of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno". The singer said Sinatra's legendary 1957 recording of the song, which featured an orchestra conducted by Gordon Jenkins, inspired his take on this sentimental favorite.
Likewise, many of the songs on "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" share similarly lush orchestrations, including horn and string arrangements by Michael Birnbryer and Jessica Catron, respectively. Weiland adds his honeyed baritone into the mix on timeless classics like "The Christmas Song", "I'll Be Home For Christmas", "White Christmas" and the title track.
Elsewhere on the album, Weiland delivers some surprising reinterpretations of holiday standards with his reggae version of "O Holy Night" complete with steel drums, "Silent Night" propelled by a spritely bossa nova beat, and a jazzy "What Child Is This?" The collection also features the original "Happy Christmas And Many More", a song Weiland co-wrote with Doug Grean, who also co-produced the album with him.
"The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year: Deluxe Edition" LP track listing:
01. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) * 02. The Christmas Song 03. I'll Be Home For Christmas 04. White Christmas 05. Silent Night 06. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year 07. What Child Is This?
01. Winter Wonderland 02. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 03. Happy Christmas And Many More 04. O Holy Night 05. White Christmas - Lavish Studio Rehearsal * 06. Winter Wonderland - Lavish Studio Rehearsal* 07. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Lavish Studio Rehearsal *
* previously unreleased
Weiland was found dead on his tour bus in December 2015 at the age of 48 from a toxic mix of drugs and alcohol. The vocalist, who was on the road with his solo band THE WILDABOUTS, was also dealing with self-medication, estrangement from his children, financial difficulties and a steadily increasing drinking problem.
A January 2016 report from Billboard revealed that Scott was dealing with hepatitis C, mental illness and the knowledge that both his parents had cancer in the final months of his life. The article featured interviews with Scott's widow Jamie, his mother Sharon, his WILDABOUTS bandmates Tommy Black and Nick Maybury, tour manager Aaron Mohler and others.
Jamie said that Scott had been experiencing episodes of paranoia and mania caused by bipolar disorder. She explained: "At one point, it was so bad I had to move out because he was unstable." Eventually they found a medication that leveled him out, with Jamie adding "For the last couple of years, he was doing pretty great."
In addition to STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, Scott fronted VELVET REVOLVER from 2004 through 2008. He rejoined STP in 2008 after a six-year hiatus, but was dismissed from the group in 2013 due to his erratic behavior.
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