He’s made political history and been recognised as the Greatest Briton ever. But Winston Churchill today made pop music history when he became the first ever British Prime Minister to enter the pop charts. Born 136 years ago, Churchill is also the oldest ever chart contender. ‘Reach for the Skies’, released to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, is flying high in the pop charts at No.4.
‘Reach for the Skies’, the Official Album of the Battle of Britain, teams up the modern-day Central Band of the RAF with some of Churchill’s most rousing speeches from 1940. The RAF and Churchill combined previously to become the greatest fighting force in British history, defending the nation’s shores during Britain’s darkest hour 70 years ago.
This album is also the highest chart position ever achieved by a military band. The key highlights are brand new versions of Churchill’s history-changing speeches ‘The Few’ and ‘Their Finest Hour’, brought together for the first time with music by the Central Band of the RAF. It includes RAF-inspired classics such as the Dambusters March, Battle of Britain March and 633 Squadron. It is dedicated to ‘The Few’, bearing the inscription:
Dedicated to all the men and women who fought in the Battle of Britain.Remembering “The Few”
Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot says, “It is great that to a long list of Official Chart stars including Elvis, Madonna, Cliff and The Beatles, we can now add Winston Churchill. It is also a tribute to the amazing sacrifices of our Servicemen that the British public have bought this RAF album in such large numbers.”
Dickon Stainer, President of Decca, added: ‘Churchill’s speeches are as potent today as they were 70 years ago when they motivated the RAF to one of the greatest defeats in British history’.
Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs, director of the Central Band of the RAF, said of the chart victory, “If through our music we can help keep the tradition and spirit of the Battle of Britain alive, then we have done a good job.”
Tony Blair famously played the guitar and Bill Clinton the saxophone. But neither has experienced chart success as Churchill now has, having overtaken pop and rock legends Eric Clapton, David Bowie and Neil Young who all released rival new albums this week.
The album is also a showcase for several British composers who would never have dreamt of pop success. Elgar, Walton, Coates and Walford Davies all contribute patriotic tunes to this album. The album is released in the 90th anniversary of the band itself.
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