The Living Years by the London Hospices Choir with Paul Carrack
Just over a year ago, I began to plan for RTH to have a Number 1 record for Christmas 2016. It is that easy. James Hibbert, another one of my trustees, had had a go for another of his charities: Walking with the Wounded in November, 2015 but my sense was that these things needed a much longer lead in time.
For years I had loved Chris Rea's Driving Home for Christmas and hoped we might be able to record it. I tried hard to locate Chris but was unsuccessful by which time James H had suggested talking to another James (Jim), James Hawkins to see if he would be our choir master, song arranger and general washer up. Without Jim we would have been lost. He was simply amazing. We were also helped almost as much by Clare Cook who was a great fixer and held our collective hand(s).
It was Jim who came up with The Living Years a Mike & The Mechanics song from 1998 which was a worldwide best seller. The singer on that was Paul Carrack and in due Jim ripped him in too! Jim's next magical trick was to book Abbey Road for a day or two for our choir - now 300+ strong - to record the song.
It was clear at RTH that we did not have a big enough choir in fact at the start we had no choir at all! So, I asked Dallas Pounds, our CEO, to contact her colleagues at the eighteen London Hospices, to see if they would like to join us.
Some day I will write this all up as there are some quite amusing incidents but for now all you need to know is that our download reached No.1 on 17/01 for a day! And our physical release (a CD to you and me) reached No.1 on 23/12 and 30/12 and this week in No.3. We like that.It has been an amazing experience for all of us.