The Royal Air Force today signed a record contract that will – by the magic of technology – team them up with Winston Churchill, 70 years after proving themselves to be the greatest fighting force in British history. Having defended the nation’s shores during arguably Britain’s darkest hour, they will be taking on a 21st Century battle of a different kind as they launch an attack on the UK pop charts with the aim of getting their Official Album of the Battle of Britain to number one.
The Central Band of the RAF signed their contract on the wing of an original Battle of Britain Spitfire in the presence of Battle of Britain veterans at the RAF Museum in London. The central focus of their debut Decca album, ‘Reach for the Skies’, will be a brand new version of Churchill’s history-changing speech ‘The Few’. For the first time this will be enriched by music from the Central Band of the RAF. Churchill’s ‘The Finest Hour’ speech is also on the album, another great homage to the RAF.
With a bold plan to target this autumn’s charts, Decca sought the help of Britain’s historic victors to ensure that the true grit and determination of the British people returned once more to the British music scene. Already home to the Churchill speeches, Decca’s aim is to restore the great British military tradition to the music industry (and no, the band doesn’t use auto-tune!). Decca already has a track record in bringing the best of British tradition to the pop charts after getting Dame Vera Lynn’s album to number one last year.
‘Reach for the Skies’ will be the Official Album of the Battle of Britain, released this autumn to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the 90th anniversary of the band itself. It will include RAF-related classics such as the Dambusters March, Spitfire Prelude, 633 Squadron, the Battle of Britain March and Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines as well as the ambient sound of Spitfires flying overhead.
The album is dedicated to all those who took part in the Battle of Britain and fought for their country, from the pilots to the radar operators and from the engineers to the plotters. It bears the inscription:
Dedicated to all the men and women who fought in the Battle of Britain. And Remembering “The Few”
Principal Director of Music for RAF Music Services Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs and Decca’s Managing Director Mark Wilkinson were at the RAF Museum to seal the deal. Mr Wilkinson said of the contract:
“The album features music dedicated to the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, and we expect the RAF to be propelled right to the top of the charts.”
Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs, added that the morale that military music gave not only the airmen in the Battle of Britain but the British public too, remains relevant to today’s modern RAF and a continuing inspiration to those serving in Afghanistan:
“Just like all the men and women of the commonwealth nations and our allies did during the Battle of Britain, today’s men and women of the Royal Air Force show the same bravery and sacrifice throughout the world to ensure the freedom of others. If through our music we can help keep the tradition and spirit of the Battle of Britain alive, then we will have done a good job.”
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