Ozzy Osbourne and Noddy Holder among stars on new Christmas single
By Naomi Clarke, PA entertainment reporter
Ozzy Osbourne and Slade frontman Noddy Holder are among the stars who have teamed up for a new Christmas single in support of a cancer awareness project.
Recorded at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios, the track This Christmas Time is inspired by letters written by British World War I soldiers to their loved ones over the festive season, with their words echoing similar emotions documented by some cancer patients.
Ozzy Osbourne narrates a moving introduction to open the song, while Noddy Holder ends the song by wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas”.
It also features Duran Duran’s original guitarist Andy Taylor, who recently announced he is undergoing ongoing treatment for stage four metastatic prostate cancer.
Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason has provided the drums, Welsh singer Casi Wyn leads the vocals, composer and son of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Nick joins on piano, Polly Wiltshire accompanies viola, singer Reebz adds vocal harmonies and Matt Bond plays guitar and produced the song .
EastEnders and West End star Samantha Womack, who announced in the summer that she has breast cancer, also provides backing vocals on the track alongside Nina Lopes, an ambassador for the charity.
The song was created to support the Cancer Awareness Trust charity which is creating a platform created by Welsh professor and scientist Sir Chris Evans to provide expert clinical advice and guidance to cancer patients around the world.
It is part of Sir Chris’ Evamore Project, in which the professor researched thousands of letters, diaries and notebooks from the First World War over a number of years and, after being impressed by the powerful stories, used the soldiers’ actual words and phrases to write a collection of original songs.
This Christmas Time is the latest release following the 2018 debut single One More Yard, which features Rolling Stones Ronnie Wood, Sinead O’Connor, esteemed producer Brian Eno, singer Imelda May and Peaky Blinders actor Cillian Murphy.
More singles are planned for the new year, as well as an album that will support The Cancer Platform.
Sir Chris told the PA news agency he was delighted to be working with the musicians and artists on the track to further raise awareness for the cancer awareness project.
He said: “Cancer will affect one in two people on planet Earth, it’s already one in three now and it’s moving towards one in two, but it actually affects everyone because you can have entire families that don’t have cancer , but throughout the immediate family there are cancer implications.
“So a lot of these artists either had cancer or someone very close to them in their family, their partner, had cancer.
“They’ve lost people, their closest friends, mostly musicians and artists who have worked together for decades, and suddenly one of them is gone.
“And then they’re quite fascinated by the letters, the stories and of course the quality of the music and the uniqueness of the lyrics from the words of the people who were (on the front lines).”
Sir Chris, who spends much of his time researching the origins of cancer and speaking to cancer patients through the charity, added that he found a “very similar narrative” to what he found in the letters from the soldiers of the First World War World War I read what he had heard from cancer patients.
He also noted that many of the soldiers who were indiscriminately drafted into combat can parallel how cancer can strike anyone without them “doing anything,” as he explained it’s often “triggered, genetic or environmental.”
Holder, who recorded the holiday classic “Merry Xmas Everybody” with his rock band Slade, said: “I was delighted to join the many artists who lent their voices to Evamore’s album.
“I recorded a full narration telling the story of some incredibly brave World War I soldiers to appear on the album in 2023 and a short Christmas message for This Christmas Time.”
Pink Floyd’s Mason also told PA that he felt being included on a charity track was an opportunity “not to be missed”, but this one was particularly close to his heart as his sister passed away a year ago.
He added, “It’s probably not something you would immediately associate with heavy metal or Slade. But actually the interesting thing is that really good musicians can touch and give a different touch to so many different things depending on where they come from.”
The track is currently available on The Cancer Platform’s website and will be available on streaming and download platforms starting Friday, December 16th.