Welshpool is in for a big treat Friday night after it was confirmed this morning that one of the favourites for the Christmas No 1 slot will have its premiere in the town when the Lights are switched on.
‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ by The Fire Tones is a remake of the Band Aid classic featuring over 40 firefighters from across the UK, with the proceeds being split between The Band Aid Trust and The Firefighters Charity.
It is the brainchild of Welshpool firefighter, Chris Birdsell-Jones, who cooked up the idea when the classic came on the Pheasant jukebox during the local station’s Christmas night out last year.
“It’s been an incredible time since,” said Chris. “It is getting some tremendous momentum now so we are delighted that we are able to give Welshpool recognition by playing it on Friday night on two big television screens being set up by the Town Council.”
MyWelshpool has had the privilege of being one of the first to hear the song and watch the video in its entirety and we have to say it is impressive (see our review below).
“It has all come together so quickly over the last couple of weeks but it has been a massive team effort,” said Chris.
“We needed to have the CDs at Sony in London for 7pm on Friday but they were still in Austria where they were being produced on Thursday night,” said Chris, who feared they would miss their window of opportunity for the initial batch to reach Amazon and HMV ready for this weekend’s launch. “We managed to have them delivered by 6.50pm!”
The CD will be available to buy this weekend in town but pre-orders can also be made through Amazon where there is a snippet of the song as a taster. It will also be available through the usual channels including iTunes and Spotify.
Messages of support have come in from original Band Aid creators Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, while stars have also been queuing up to provide their backing. These messages will start appearing on The Fire Tones social media over the coming days and weeks.
When initial news of the single was broken last month, The Fire Tones were installed as favourites for the coveted Christmas No 1 slot, but they have been knocked off that perch by Elton John, thanks to his £7 million advert push from John Lewis.
While attention seems to be on the top spot, Chris is realistic and remains focussed on the charitable side of the project.
“We are doing this to raise money for two fantastic causes,” he said. “I’m over the moon to have worked with such a talented group of people, and I feel proud and honoured to have been involved with such a fantastic project, whatever we manage to raise.”
Welshpool’s Christmas Lights are due to be switched on Friday at 7pm at The Town Hall, with the premiere expected to be played some time after that. Firefighters will be present on Friday night and throughout Saturday selling hard copies of the CD for £5.
OUR REVIEW: You could be forgiven for initially thinking that this is just a fun get-together for a bunch of firefighters doing their collective ‘karaoke’ version of a Christmas classic. But a couple of chords in, and on hearing the first line, you realise that you are in for something special. It may have been done on a shoe string budget, but there is nothing cheap about the end product with no corners cut to produce a sensational version of an original that set the bar high for charity tracks. It is seamless as the song passes from voice to voice and it showcases extraordinary talent that has given their time for free to record. As the song reaches its sing-along climax, it is hard to believe that such talent actually spends their days saving lives and not touring as full time singers and musicians (yes, they have recorded their own fabulous original score too!). Classics are rarely reproduced well, and many have failed with ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’. But in typical firefighter fashion, they have grasped this challenge, got on with it and delivered. They’ve done their bit, now we have to do ours. But it has left us wanting more… a future show at the Albert Hall anyone?
The Fire Tones would like to thank the CD sponsors for making it possible: Mike Harris, The New Saints FC and VCW Security as well as RoQ Recruitment.