Walking in the Air

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"Walking in the Air"
Walking In The Air Single.jpg
Single by Steve Hollis & Peter Auty
B-side"Dance of the Snowmen"
Released1982 (1982)
Songwriter(s)Howard Blake
Producer(s)Howard Blake

“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.[1] 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,[2] and reissued in 1985 (on Stiff Records) and 1987.[3]

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.[4]

Nightwish version[edit]

"Walking in the Air"
Nightwish - Walking in the Air.jpg
Single by Nightwish
from the album Oceanborn
  • "Nightquest"
  • "Tutankhamen"
Released31 January 1999 (1999-01-31)
StudioCaverock, Kitee, Finland
GenreSymphonic metal
  • 3:41 (radio edit)
  • 5:28 (album version)
Songwriter(s)Howard Blake
Producer(s)Tero Kinnunen
Nightwish singles chronology
"Sacrament of Wilderness"
"Walking in the Air"
"Sleeping Sun"

In 1998, Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish covered the song for their second studio album, Oceanborn. It was released on 31 January 1999 as the second single from the album.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Walking in the Air" (radio edit) – 3:41
  2. "Nightquest" (Tuomas Holopainen) – 4:15
  3. "Tutankhamen" (Nightwish, Holopainen) – 5:30

Recorded versions[edit]

Uses in other media[edit]

  • A parody version of it was used in a British television commercial in 2006, for an Irn-Bru advert.[11] It was reused in the adverts sequel in 2018.
  • It was used in a 2013 World Wide Fund for Nature commercial showing on YouTube, performed by Vajèn van den Bosch [nl].[12]
  • The main tune of the song was used by the Taiwanese music group S.H.E in their song "Goodbye my love".[13]


  1. ^ "Tämä ohjelma on katsojien joulusuosikki" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  2. ^ "Snowman singer finds voice at last". BBC News. 2002-12-09. Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  3. ^ "Singles", Sounds, 14 December 1985, p. 22
  4. ^ "The Nation's Favourite Christmas Song". ITV. 22 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Ronan Tynan | I'll Be Home For Christmas".
  6. ^ George Lam's version on YouTube
  7. ^ [1] Archived December 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "The Entire Population Of Hackney Setlist at Marquee Club, London". setlist.fm. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  9. ^ "Dubstep Snowman". YouTube. 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  10. ^ "Walking in the air Howard Blake, Snowman by EUTERNITY". YouTube.
  11. ^ "IRN-BRU snowman - YouTube". www.youtube.com.
  12. ^ "- YouTube". www.youtube.com.
  13. ^ "S.H.E [ Goodbye my love ] Official Music Video - YouTube". www.youtube.com.

External links[edit]