“Walking in the Air" is a song written by Howard Blake for the 1982 animated film The Snowman based on Raymond Briggs' 1978 children's book of the same name. The song forms the centrepiece of The Snowman, which has become a seasonal favourite on British and Finnish 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 seems to be the only human until they meet Father Christmas with his reindeer, and the boy is given a scarf with a snowman pattern. In the film, the song was performed by St Paul's Cathedral choirboy Peter Auty, and reissued in 1985 (on Stiff Records) and 1987.
In 1985, an altered version was recorded for use in a TV advertising campaign for Toys "R" Us. As Auty's voice had then broken, Blake recommended the then 15 year old Welsh chorister Aled Jones, whose recording reached number five in the UK singles chart, and who became a popular celebrity on the strength of his performance. The association of the song with Jones, combined with the fact that Auty was not credited on The Snowman, would lead to a common misbelief that Jones performed the song in the film. "Walking in the Air" has subsequently been covered by over forty artists, in a variety of styles. In a UK poll in 2012, the Aled Jones version was voted 13th on the ITV television special The Nation's Favourite Christmas Song.
Iron Maiden: the two guitarists 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". Adrian Smith used to play a guitar solo which included excerpts from the same melody during the two shows by the side project The Entire Population of Hackney in December 1985, before "Silver and Gold".
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."
Liz Callaway covered the song together with Jann Klose on her 2020 album "Comfort and Joy (An Acoustic Christmas)"