Ordinarily when one thinks about Christmas Singles, the first thoughts that spring to mind are of Rage Against the Machine, Jeff Buckley and dodgy X Factor covers. However, 94-year old Lillian John is hoping Radio 1 DJ Greg James will be announcing a very different number one come this year’s Christmas Chart Show.
Lillian, a patient at Hackney’s St Joseph’s Hospice, is part of a multi-generational choir that is hopping make history by topping this year’s festive charts with a cover of Paul Carrick’s “The Living Years”, recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios.
The choir, which is over 300-people strong, includes patients from 18 different hospices all across London, as well as staff and volunteers from St Joseph’s. They’re hoping that their version of the 1991 hit and accompanying music video (directed by top Hollywood film director Annabel Jankel) will overcome the might of Simon Cowell to reach number one in the charts this Christmas.
Lillian, a great-grandmother and lifelong music lover, said being in the choir and recording the single had given her “a new lease of life.”
“St Joseph’s Hospice has been like a family to me,” she continued, “and now I feel like I am part of a huge extended family, with 300 people all wanting to give something back to these wonderful places.”
The single will be released on the 16th December, with all profits from its sale being divided between the 18 hospices involved.
Paul Carrick, who rose to fame in the 1970s as frontman and principal songwriter of British rock band Ace, helped the choir record the track. Speaking about the decision to use his song, he said: “The Living Years has been an important song for me for many years, but this is the version that means the most.”
“Recording it with this incredibly special group of people for such a worthwhile cause has created some kind of magic. It’s a powerful and inspiring track, and I hope that everyone gets behind it this Christmas.”
St. Joseph’s Hospice is one of the oldest and largest hospices in Britain. It was founded in 1905 and relies heavily on donations to help cover its £15m-a-year running costs.