With less than six weeks until Christmas, the question on many music lovers’ lips is who will win the coveted title of Christmas Number One 2018?
Last year, Ed Sheeran reigned supreme with his single ‘Perfect’, which included collaborative versions with Beyoncé and Andrea Bocelli. With the likes of Sir Elton John, Lady Gaga, the forthcoming X Factor winner and The Kingdom Choir being touted as potential candidates for 2018’s Christmas Number One, it’s safe to say that there is an interesting battle ahead.
However, also entering this year’s race are a team of fire service personnel who are hoping to top the charts with their version of a Christmas classic. The Fire Tones, comprising over 40 personnel from all over the UK, will be releasing their version of Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ on November 30, in aid of the Firefighters Charity and the Band Aid Charity Trust.
But how did The Fire Tones come about? The concept stemmed from a pipe dream over a few pints in a Welshpool pub around a year ago. Organiser and Welshpool firefighter Chris Birdsell-Jones said: “It started when we were in a bar in Welshpool around this time last year – the first song that came on was ‘Do They know It’s Christmas?”
“As we sat there everyone in the bar was singing along or tapping the bar and it got me wondering if we could do something for charity. I said it out loud and everyone told me I was dreaming! But a couple of days later there was a film on called ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ and the song is on the soundtrack so I took it as a sign and got to work.”
After gaining the necessary permissions to use the song, Chris and the group soon reached out to personnel from across the service to get involved with the single. The group includes a few famous faces such as The X Factor contestants Marc Higgins from Southampton and Richard Ryan, an on-call firefighter from Worcestershire, as well as Andy Quinn, star of BBC’s Michael McIntyre’s Big Show and a firefighter with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.
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Members of Welshpool Fire Crew getting their X-factor moment with Marc Higgins from Southampton Airport Fire Service and RichardRyan – award winning vocalist Richard Ryan from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service at the BIMM Birmingham raising money for the The Fire Fighters Charity and The Band Aid Charity Trust. #thefiretones #dotheyknowitschristmas #firefighter #firefighterlife #femalefirefighter #firefighters #emergencyservices #christmas #christmasmusic #christmas2018 #christmasnumber1 #firefighterscharity #bandaid
The Fire Tones recorded the single at the newly built recording studio in BIMM Music College, Birmingham, with the session time kindly donated by the principle Anthony Greaves.
The 12-hour recording session, masterminded by producer Steve Osborne and expert vocal arranger Louise Warren, was a chaotic yet successful experience, with firefighters from across the country travelling to Birmingham to lay down their vocals. Due to the size of the group, the chorus parts were recorded outside of the studio and on a stage, with White Dot Media filming the final recording session.
“We wanted to honour the spirit of the original recording so we wanted to get it all done in one day, just as they did with the original Live Aid single,” said Chris. “I must admit I was nervous on the day because you’ve put all this work in and you’re wondering things like ‘is that person going to turn up?’ and ‘is this actually going to work?’ But on the day it was just incredible, they played it back to us in the studio and it was ‘Wow, this isn’t just a bit of fun, they can really sing.’”
With the single now edited, polished and fully produced, the Fire Tones’ version of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ is ready to be unveiled to the world on November 30. The single will be available via iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music, whilst the group will also be selling physical CD copies.
With a huge buzz around them, we cannot wait to hear the Fire Tones’ Christmas single and have our fingers crossed that they will be able to claim the coveted number one spot. Spread a smile of joy and throw your arms around the world this Christmas time by supporting the Fire Tones and their charity single.
‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ will be released on November 30th. The track is available to pre-order now, where you can also hear a snippet of the song.