Ozzy Osbourne and Noddy Holder among stars to join forces on new Christmas single

Ozzy Osbourne and Slade frontman Noddy Holder are among the stars who have joined forces on a new Christmas single in support of a cancer awareness project.

Recorded at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios, the track This Christmas Time is inspired by letters written by World War 1 British soldiers to their loved ones during the festive holidays, with their words paralleling similar emotions documented by some cancer patients.

Osbourne narrates a moving introduction to open the song while Holder ends the song by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

It also features Duran Duran’s original guitarist Andy Taylor, who recently revealed he is receiving ongoing treatment for stage four metastatic prostate cancer.

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason has provided drums, with Welsh singer Casi Wyn leads on vocals, composer and son of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Nick joins on piano, Polly Wiltshire accompanies on viola, singer Reebz adds vocal harmonies and Matt Bond plays guitar and produced the song.

EastEnders and West End star Samantha Womack, who announced in the summer she has breast cancer, also provides backing vocals on the track alongside Nina Lopes, an ambassador for the charity.

The song has been created to support The Cancer Awareness Trust charity, which is creating a platform which will provide expert clinical advice and guidance to cancer patients around the world, created by Welsh professor and scientist Sir Chris Evans.

It forms part of Sir Chris’ Evamore Project which saw the professor research thousands of WW1 letters, diaries and notebooks over several years and, after being struck by the powerful stories, he used the actual words and phrases of the soldiers to write a collection of original songs.

Samantha Womack, Nina Lopes and Reebz recording in the studio (The Evamore Project/PA)
Samantha Womack, Nina Lopes and Reebz recording in the studio (The Evamore Project/PA)

This Christmas Time is the latest release, following on from the first 2018 single One More Yard which featured The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood, Sinead O’Connor, esteemed producer Brian Eno, singer Imelda May and Peaky Blinders actor Cillian Murphy among its contributors.

Further singles are planned to be released in the new year as well as an album which will help support The Cancer Platform.

Sir Chris told the PA news agency he was delighted to collaborate with the musicians and artists on the track to help further raise awareness about the cancer awareness project.

He said: “Cancer is going to impact one in two people on planet Earth, it’s already one in three now and it’s moving towards one in two, but it actually impacts everybody because you can have whole families that have no cancer, but all around the immediate family there is cancer impact.

“So a lot of these artists have either had cancer, or someone very close to them in their family, their partners, have had cancer.

“They’ve lost people, their closest friends, including particularly musicians and artists working together for decades, and suddenly one of them’s not there anymore.

“And then they get quite fascinated by the letters, the stories and of course, by the quality of the music and the uniqueness of the lyrics from the words of the very people that were (on the battlefront).”

Nick Lloyd Webber with Sir Chris Evans in the studio (The Evamore Project/PA)
Nick Lloyd Webber with Sir Chris Evans in the studio (The Evamore Project/PA)

Sir Chris, who spends a great deal of his time working on cancer development and talking to cancer patients through the charity, added that he has found a “very similar narrative” to what he has read in the letters of the WW1 soldiers to what he had heard from those diagnosed with cancer.

He also noted the same way in which many of the soldiers were indiscriminately conscripted to battle can parallel how cancer can affect anyone without them “doing anything” as he explained it is often “triggered, genetic or environmental”.

Holder, who recorded the classic festive hit Merry Xmas Everybody with his rock band Slade, said: “I was delighted to join the many artists adding their voice to the album from Evamore.

“I recorded a full narrative, telling the story of some incredibly brave World War 1 soldiers, to feature on the album in 2023 and a short Christmas message for This Christmas Time.”

Pink Floyd’s Mason also told PA that to record on any charity track he feels is an opportunity that “shouldn’t be missed” but this one was particularly close to him as his sister died a year ago.

He added: “This is probably not something you’d immediately associate with heavy metal or with Slade. But actually, what’s so interesting is that actually good musicians can turn their hand to so many different things and give it a different flavour because of where they were coming from.”

The track is currently available on The Cancer Platform website and will be available on streaming and download platforms from Friday December 16 2022.