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"Walking in the Air" is a song written by Howard Blake for the 1982 animated film of Raymond Briggs' 1978 children's book The Snowman. In the film the song was performed by St Paul's Cathedral choirboy Peter Auty and this version was released as a single on CBS in 1982, and reissued in 1985 (on Stiff Records) and 1987. For a subsequent single release, which reached number five in the UK pop charts in 1985, the vocals were sung by Welsh chorister Aled Jones, who became a popular celebrity on the strength of his performance. Jones's version was not an official The Snowman tie-in though it was authorised by Howard Blake. "Walking in the Air" has subsequently been covered by several different artists, in a variety of styles.
The song forms the centrepiece of The Snowman, which has become a seasonal perennial on British television. The story relates the fleeting adventures of a young boy and a snowman who has come to life. In the second part of the story, the boy and the snowman fly to the North Pole. "Walking in the Air" is the theme for the journey. They attend a party of snowmen, at which the boy is the only human. They meet Father Christmas and his reindeer, and the boy is given a scarf with a snowman pattern.
Howard Blake developed the melody of "Walking in the Air" from a theme in his 'Lullaby - A Christmas Narrative,' an a cappella choral work commissioned by The Scholars (Vocal Group) in 1975 and first performed by them at St John's Smith Square, London, on 21 December that year.
Recorded versions 
- Aled Jones (Treble) and Aled Jones (Adult Baritone) as part of his 2007 Album You Raise Me Up-The Best of Aled Jones
- Andrew Johnston performs a duet of the song with Faryl Smith on his 2008 album One Voice
- Angelis 2006
- Bill Thompson did 6 versions of "Walking in the Air," including a duet version with Peter Auty.
- Breakcore musician Shitmat uses samples from "Walking in the Air" on his song "Dis Dancehall Ting Is Better Than That T.V. Ting Tony."
- Chloë Agnew from Celtic Woman, on her title album, in the song "Last Rose of Summer/Walking in the Air"
- Christine Guldbrandsen used part of the lyrics from "Walking in The Air" on her song "Surfing in the Air" found in the album with the same name.
- Cliff Richard on his 2003 album "Cliff at Christmas"
- Connie Talbot 2007: Over the Rainbow
- Declan Galbraith 2001
- Elaine Paige on her 1986 album "Christmas"
- Foxy Shazam recorded a cover version which was released in 2009.
- George Lam Waiting for a Night (Traditional Chinese: 在等一個晚上) 1989
- George Winston (The Snowman, Walking in the Air) 1992; (Forest with two other selections from The Snowman: "Building the Snowman" and "The Snowman's Music Box Dance") 1994
- Grand Belial's Key play an organ version of Walking in the Air on "At the Blessed Grotto" in their 1997 album, Mocking the Philanthropist.
- Hayley Westenra on her second album "Hayley Westenra" (2001)
- Jackie Evancho on her album Heavenly Christmas (Columbia/Sony) 2011
- Joseph McManners (In Dreams (Joseph McManners album)) 2005
- Joshua Redman 2007: Back East first instrumental version of the song
- Kenneth Smith 1992
- Kenny Loggins on his 1998 album "December"
- King's Singers (Kid's Stuff, EMI) 1988
- Kurt Nilsen, the 2003 World Idol winner, performed a version together with Kringkastingsorkesteret (the Norwegian broadcasting company orchestra) on his 2010 album "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
- The Maccabees for a Live Lounge session
- Michael Chertock (Christmas At the Movies) 1998
- Nightwish on their 1999 album Oceanborn
- Oceansize played it live twice during their Effloresce tours, recorded a studio version in December 2007, and released it on their Myspace as a 1st Xmas Single.
- Plácido Domingo and Riccardo Cocciante in A Gala Christmas in Vienna
- Rainbow "Snowman" (Bent Out of Shape) 1983
- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Tring Music School (Hybrid) 1995
- Ryan Sheridan - Walking in the Air ( Christmas 2011)
- Siobhan Owen recorded this in its original English and in Japanese (Sora Wo Aruku) on her album "Storybook Journey" (2012).
- St. Philips Boy's Choir on their 1997 album Angel Voices 3, Soloist Liam O'Kane
- Danish musician Ste van Holm released an ambient version sung by Edith Tvede in December 2010.
- Tangerine Dream, used as the end music in the 1983 film The Keep
- Tarja Turunen (Henkäys Ikuisuudesta) 2006/2010
- The Shadows (Simply Shadows) 1987
- The Swingle Singers (Walking in the Air) 2006
- Westlife with Mary Black sang this song live.
- Woods of Infinity interpreted the song on their 2011 album Förlåt* The two guitarists of Iron Maiden, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray, played an altered version during their tour to support Somewhere in Time, first half containing a solo duel between the two guitarists, the second half of which Murray played the vocal melody while Smith played supporting rhythm. This combination is known as "Walking On Glass."
- Independent dubstep musician Hereldeduke recorded a remix entitled "The Snowman," which has over 1 million views on Youtube as of December 12, 2011.
- This song was featured in Ernie and his Rubber Ducky with the song divided into two halves and Bear in his New Car with the whole song.
- Euternity October 2008: first electronic cover version. Created by Ukrainian music project, it mixes in the sound elements of electronic, pop-rock with opera vocals.
- The Eastern Sea recorded a cover on the band's third album, "First Christmas," (2012) produced by Louie Lino.
Uses in other media 
- It was used in December 1993 in a Pizza Hut advert, featuring a choir whose voices break and one of the singers asks 'What now?' when his high voice changes to a low voice, followed by the voice-over singing 'HARDY HARDY HARDY HARDY!' (another ad from the same period featured a couple, with the man asking 'Now we, the Pizza Hut?', again followed by the voice-over singing 'HARDY HARDY HARDY HARDY!')
- A parody version of it was used in a British television commercial in 2006, for an Irn-Bru advert.
External links