Aled Jones looks back on the unusual origins of 'Walking In The Air'

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  • Aled Jones
    Welsh singer and TV presenter
British Singer Aled Jones.   (Photo by Avalon/Getty Images)
British singer Aled Jones in the 1980s (Avalon/Getty Images)

Walking in the Air singer Aled Jones says royalties from his festive song helped smooth over financial difficulties when he transitioned from child to adult star.

"There was a period in my life when I wasn't really doing anything," the Welsh singer and presenter explained to Kate Thornton on the White Wine Question Time podcast. "And the royalties from Walking In The Air helped me. The transition from boy soprano over to adult isn't overnight.

"And so that would keep me sort of in the public eye I suppose."

His version was intended for a Toys R Us advert, when the US store was launching in the UK. 

Jones explained that Peter Auty, the singer who had performed the song on the soundtrack to The Snowman, was not able to sing it because his voice had broken.

WATCH: Aled Jones on his rise to fame, how he hears music in bathwater and the moment he was invited to sing for Charles and Diana

Jones turned up to the studio to record part of the song for an advert featuring a boy flying around the store, but because there was time left to run on the studio booking he ended up recording the whole song.

Jones said: "By then I had released I think 12 albums. So, I was the boy on the block if you like. And I went to the studio, and it's a studio that I do voiceovers in now for Song of Praise called Sound Company. 

Listen to the full show to hear about Aled following around Spandau Ballet at Bob Geldof and Paula Yates's wedding, and how his big break came along in the first place

"I'd only learned 30 seconds [of the song] for the ad. I went into Advision and the orchestra had just finished and they happened to record the whole thing. 

"And John Altman, who was the producer said: 'Well, we've done the session in quarter of an hour, we've got another three hours and three quarters left. Let's record the song.'

"And I went: 'I haven't learnt it!' And so he and I learnt it on the piano and I recorded it."

Released as a single in 1985, Jones' cover version peaked at number five in the UK charts, and has become a perennial hit for the Songs of Praise presenter.

WATCH: Aled Jones remembers turning down Johnny Carson to play in his school football match

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