Pope on track to become Christmas No 1

 Pope Benedict XVI

Geffen Records, whose roster of stars has included Guns n' Roses, Elton John, Donna Summer and Snoop Dogg, yesterday announced that it had signed a new artist: Pope Benedict XVI. The album features the Pope singing one prayer and reciting seven in Latin, Italian, Portuguese, French and German.

The pope is accompanied by the Choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome, conducted by Monsignor Pablo Colino. Backing music by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was recorded at Abbey Road studios, London.

The Geffen Record label will release the album in November, the proceeds of which will be used to provide music education for underprivileged children.

Colin Barlow, president of Geffen UK, said the music was beautiful: "The great thing about the Pope is that he’s got a fantastic tone, very soothing but commanding.”

"It's a beautiful a piece of music as the soundtrack to the film The Mission. The Pope has got almost a lullaby tone to the way he sings," Barlow was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph today. He thought the album would make "a great Christmas present".

If it connects to even a small percentage of the world’s billion Roman Catholics it should dominate end-of-year sales.

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