Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram yesterday announced plans for a new single to be recorded as a tribute to the victims and survivors of Hillsborough, with proceeds to go to helping the Hillsborough groups in their quest for the justice that must now follow the truth. Names are still to be added to the list of those taking part but the group already includes names like Robbie Williams and Paul Heaton, along with members of bands like Cast, The Farm, The Clash and Oasis.
The song chosen for the tribute is the The Hollies classic ’He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ and will be released on December 17th with the aim of it making it to the Christmas No 1 spot. In recent years that spot has almost always been taken by the winner of ITV’s X Factor but the organisers of this effort are hoping to make a change.
Names already confirmed include, in no particular order (as they say on X Factor), Robbie Williams, Mick Jones (The Clash), Peter Hooton (The Farm), Pete Wylie, (The Justice Tonight band), Richard Hawley, Chris Sharrock (Oasis), Ren Harvieu, Dave McCabe (The Zutons), Paul Heaton (Beautiful South), Hollie Cook, Jon McClure (Reverend & The Makers), John Power (Cast), Shane McGowan (The Pogues), Beverley Knight and Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers).
The producer will be the world renowned Guy Chambers, who said: “I am deeply honoured to be asked to produce this record for the 96. If we can help to raise money to support the families’ legal battle so that they finally get their time in court then our job will be done. I spent my teenage years in Liverpool and feel a deep affection for both its musical heritage and the unique solidarity of its people.”
Steve Rotheram MP said: “Today, I am proud to announce that a group of some of the biggest UK recording artists are coming together to record ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ to support the Hillsborough Families fight for justice and to raise funds for any future legal costs. Whilst we are confident that the campaign for truth and justice is nearing a conclusion, for 23 years the bereaved Hillsborough families have carried the eternal flame of hope that we would one day see those responsible brought to justice. All profits from this CD will go towards assisting with any legal costs incurred in that fight. The families have suffered enough.”
All artists involved are giving their time for free.
Kenny Dalglish, Anfield legend, said: “The families of the 96 should never have been in the position they are now in, of having to fight to get the accidental verdicts from the 1989 inquests overturned. I will continue to support their dignified campaign every step of the way.”
The song was chosen after it made such an impact when played by Everton FC at Goodison before their first game following the release of the HIP report.
Recording begins at the end of the month at Triple Ivor Novello winning songwriter Guy Chambers’ North London Studio, with further sessions taking place at London’s Metropolis Studios.
Pledge Music will also be offering a host of exclusive items via their website (www.pledgemusic.com) to aid the campaign.