Sing (Gary Barlow song)

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"Sing"
Single by Gary Barlow & The Commonwealth Band featuring Military Wives[1]
from the album Sing [2][3]
Released 28 May 2012 (2012-05-28)
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2012
Genre Pop
Length 4:35
Label Decca
Writer(s) Gary Barlow (Lyrics & Music)
Andrew Lloyd Webber (Music)
Producer(s) Eliot Kennedy, Gary Barlow, Ryan Carline
Gary Barlow chronology
"Teardrop"
(2011)
"Sing"
(2012)
"Let Me Go"
(2013)

"Sing" is a song written by British singer-songwriter Gary Barlow and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, and performed by a number of artists assembled by Barlow from across The Commonwealth, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. The track was released via digital download and CD single on 28 May 2012, and was performed as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert celebrations on 4 June 2012.[4]

Background[edit]

It was announced in January that six-time Ivor Novello recipient Gary Barlow and world-renowned composer Andrew Lloyd Webber would be working together to write the official Diamond Jubilee single. Barlow and Lloyd Webber aimed to write the music to the song before Barlow would travel The Commonwealth looking for musicians, singers and contributors and begin writing the lyrics and producing the song as he visited remote villages and countries from across the Caribbean, Africa, the Pacific Islands and Australasia to find singers to perform in front of the Queen. Barlow said of the project that "This is probably the biggest challenge I've ever taken on musically. I'm so excited and thrilled to be a part of it." Lloyd Webber echoed these views and stated that "It is a huge honour to be involved in this historic occasion and I am looking forward very much to working with Gary."[4]

Composition[edit]

Barlow revealed that the music of the song was written in January during "an afternoon round at [Lloyd Webber's] house, [with a] couple of pianos and it was really good fun actually." He said that they "did all the melodies in an afternoon and then I waited to do the lyrics until I got to Kenya".[5] Speaking about writing the track with Barlow, Lord Lloyd-Webber said: "We got together with embryonic ideas. Gary had an idea for the chorus, I had the idea for the verse, we both agreed that the message was about the Commonwealth. I was thinking 'anthem', but we had to involve all the people we could, and it had to be something very simple that people could learn. Working with Gary has been one of the great joys, he is such a fantastic songwriter, it was a completely new experience."[6]

The lyrics were written by Barlow whilst visiting villages in Kenya, where Princess Elizabeth had been visiting when she was told that her father King George VI had died and that she had ascended to the throne. Barlow said "She was in Kenya on holiday when she found out her father had died and she found out she was the Queen so I drove to this place called Treetops and I wrote".[7] Barlow went on to say that "She started her reign there and we started our record in that place" and it was fitting that the song would return to those origins.[8] The final version of Sing was completed and mastered during April 2012, and was given its premiere radio play on 18 May 2012 on Chris Evans BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show. The final record features more than two-hundred singers and musicians, including a guest appearance from Prince Harry on tambourine, the African Children's Choir, the Kibera Drummers from Kenya as well as the Military Wives Choir conducted by Gareth Malone, well-known musicians such as reggae duo Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, and ska guitarist Ernest Ranglin. The song was handed over to the Queen at the beginning of May, with Barlow and Lloyd Webber presenting her a framed copy of the sheet music whilst also performing the song to her for the first time. As Prince Charles had predicted, she was most interested in the people on the screen – 'What are they playing and where are they and who are they?’. To this Barlow told her "all the stories about the people and the places and where they lived and who they were and she loved it."

Music video[edit]

The official music video for Sing premiered on 18 May 2012, via Barlow's official YouTube account. It was also premiered in full on the BBC during The One Show. It features Barlow's journey across The Commonwealth creating the song, and adding the vocals and instruments from various countries. It also includes clips of Prince Charles, Prince Harry and of Barlow and Lloyd Webber writing the music to the song as well as the mastering and addition of the orchestra to the track.[9] The video also included excerpts from the recording of the single at Abbey Road Studios with 'The Military Wives' Choir' featuring military wives from 10 different Military Wives Choirs, including ladies from Marham Bluebirds, RAF Marham Military Wives choir.

Critical reception[edit]

Critics reviewed Sing positively, with Ross Lydall of The Evening Standard stating that the song "Titled simply Sing, is required to appeal to the masses across the Commonwealth as well as an 86-year-old monarch. But if anyone can teach the world to sing in perfect harmony it is Barlow, who is well used to writing songs that suit stadiums." He continues by calling the accompanying video "a delight, beginning with Barlow pressing play on a CD in front of Prince Charles – and going on to show him recording singers from Jamaica, Kenya, Australia and the Solomon Islands, as well as our own Military Wives Choir and some Scottish bagpipers. It's so inclusive it even lets Prince Harry have a go, giving a tambourine a bash." He concludes by stating that the song is a refreshingly unstarry work and it's every bit as stirring as you’d expect [and that] there's no doubt even her Majesty will tap a toe.[10] Tim Walker of the The Independent referred to the song as a "testament to Barlow's songwriting that having elicited contributions from Australia, Africa, Jamaica, the South Pacific and the House of Windsor – he has managed to produce something that sounds like a Take That track."[11]

Chart performance[edit]

"Sing" entered the UK Singles Chart at number 11 having sold number 32,460 copies of the single despite having been released on the Monday rather than the Sunday as is the case with most newly released singles.[12] The song debuted at number 16 in Scotland and entered the top 60 in Ireland after 4 days on sale. The following week it rose from 53 to 12 in the Irish Singles Chart[13] and rose to number 2 in Scotland.[14] Sing also entered the Netherlands Top 100 at 69 with it also peaking at 88 in Belgium.

The following week Sing rose from 11 to number 1 in the UK Singles Chart selling 142,470 copies, the highest weekly sales for a number one in 2012 until Cheryl Cole's "Call My Name" sold over 153,000 copies a week later. The song became Barlow's first number 1 single in the UK since his 1997 hit "Love Won't Wait".[15] Sing's sales week-on-week rose by 338.91% in its second week and were the highest weekly sale for a number one for 25 weeks.[16] The song has sold 327,000 copies as of December 2012, becoming the 49th best-selling single of the year[17] and has spent 30 weeks in the UK Singles Chart.[18]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[19] 88
Europe (Euro Digital Songs)[20] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[21] 12
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[22] 69
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[23] 2
UK Download (Official Charts Company)[24] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[25] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[18] 60

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United Kingdom (BPI)[26] Silver 327,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Worldwide 28 May 2012 Digital download Decca Records

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gary Barlow & The Commonwealth Band featuring Military Wives". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-06-09. 
  2. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/gary-barlow-set-for-official-charts-diamond-double-1435/ 06/06/12. Official Charts Company – Gary Barlow set for Official Charts Diamond double!6 June 2012
  3. ^ http://www.metro.co.uk/music/901253-gary-barlow-on-course-for-double-no-1-with-sing-album-and-single The Metro 06/06/12
  4. ^ a b The Diamond Jubilee Official. Thediamondjubilee.org.
  5. ^ Fox, Emily. (18 May 2012) Prince Harry Makes Musical Debut On Gary Barlow'S Jubilee Single. Daily Express.
  6. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/music/news/a382297/gary-barlow-andrew-lloyd-webber-unveil-jubilee-track-sing-video.html Digital Spy Gary Barlow, Andrew Lloyd Webber unveil Jubilee track 'Sing' – video Published Friday 18 May 2012, 10:57 BST | By Tom Eames
  7. ^ Fox, Emily. (18 May 2012) Daily Express PRINCE HARRY MAKES MUSICAL DEBUT ON GARY BARLOW'S JUBILEE SINGLE Emily Fox 18 May 2012. Daily Express.
  8. ^ Telegraph 18 May 2012. The Daily Telegraph.
  9. ^ Jubilee Song Unveiled Digital Spy May 18.2012. Digitalspy.co.uk (18 May 2012).
  10. ^ Harry the pop star prince is crowning glory on Queen's Jubilee record 17 May 2012, Ross Lydall Evening Standard. London Evening Standard (17 May 2012).
  11. ^ Tim Walker – Gary Barlow and The Commonwealth Band. The Independent. (19 May 2012).
  12. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0087C4KFY/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=polydorcouk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B0087C4KFY Official Charts Analysis: Gary Barlow LP sells 40k 21:21 | Sunday 3 June 2012 By Alan Jones
  13. ^ June 8, 2012. IRMA Top 100 Singles Week ending 7th June 2012. Irma.ie.
  14. ^ OCC Scottish Singles Chart 16th June 2012. Officialcharts.com.
  15. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/gary-barlow-tops-the-official-singles-and-official-albums-chart-with-sing-1438/ OCC Gary Barlow tops the Official Singles AND Official Albums Chart with Sing 10/06/2012
  16. ^ http://www.musicweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=1049854&c=1 Official Charts Analysis: Gary Barlow tops Album and Singles lists 10:02 | Monday 11 June, 2012By Alan Jones
  17. ^ Dan Lane (14 December 2012). "Official Charts Advent Calendar 2012: Day 14". The Official Chart Company. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  18. ^ a b "Top 100 Singles of 2012". BBC. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gary Barlow & The Commonwealth Band – Sing" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  20. ^ "Chart Search Results – Euro Digital Songs 2012-06-23". Billboard. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  21. ^ "Chart Track: Week 23, 2012". Irish Singles Chart.
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Gary Barlow & The Commonwealth Band – Sing" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  23. ^ "Archive Chart: 16 June 2012". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  24. ^ "June 2012/ Archive Chart: 16 June 2012" UK Download Chart.
  25. ^ "June 2012/ Archive Chart: 16 June 2012" UK Singles Chart.
  26. ^ "British single certifications – Gary Barlow". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 20 December 2012.  Enter Gary Barlow in the field Search. Select Artist in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search