The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir have successfully surpassed artists such as Justin Bieber in securing the UK’s Official Christmas No.1 place. The charity single, ‘A Bridge Over You’, won its position with 127,000 sales and downloads, above X-Factor winner Louisa Johnson.
The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir made up of nurses, doctors and other NHS staff from physiotherapists and administrators, performed the cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘A Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ named ‘A Bridge Over You’. This seemed to have emerged as a public favorite in what may be considered a pledge to the dedicated working members of the National Health System.
The music video features many of the workers and patients within the Lewisham and Greenwich hospital, evoking the work illustrated by its staff all year round. This may have the ability to mark the way in which music may function to unite the nation, whilst raising awareness of the value of the NHS to British society.
The choir appeared as runner up’s on Gareth Malones BBC Two show Sing While You Work in 2012, however the song’s reappearance this year may have emerged due to the topical debates surrounding government intervention for NHS funding. The Department for Health recently stated a proposal for a change in the basic salary for junior doctors, as well as implementing changes in allocated funding in research as well as a proposed investment of £1 billion for medical technology. Likewise, The British Medical Association responded alongside NHS staff with a proposal for a change in pay brackets, increased pensions and an extensive change in working hour shifts for doctors, which may have generated debate as well as the arrival of a campaign for the choir’s 2012 song to reappear this Christmas.
The release of the NHS choir’s single may have contributed to a larger sense of unity. The single may see workers, patients and political figures alongside one another with the shared endeavour to maintain standards as well as seek solutions to ensure productive financial management of the NHS. In a statement made by the NHS choir to the Official Charts Company, the choir stated “We are absolutely overwhelmed and be [far from] any happier. It’s a brilliant celebration for the NHS across the country so well done and thank you everyone for downloading and streaming. A massive cheer for the NHS, thank you.”
Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot also added: “What a fantastic result for the NHS choir to claim the 2015 Christmas number one. There will be thousands of NHS staff across the country working throughout Christmas Day, while the rest of the nation is putting its feet up, this success is for them.”
Justin Bieber encouraged his large twitter following to buy the single tweeting “So for one week it’s OK [being unable] to be number one. Let’s do the right thing and help them win. It’s Christmas. NHS Choir good luck.” This may have seen a soar in public interest for the NHS choir record globally, and may have also contributed to the success of it’s YouTube channel ‘Love Your NHS’ whose music video has seen almost 800,000 views so far.
The money generated from the NHS choir single may be set to go to selected health charities, Carers UK and Mind this Christmas and, in turn may have raised awareness for these charities globally this Christmas. Similarly, the single may have had the ability to encourage individuals to confront new questions regarding the nation’s privilege in having the NHS as well as possibly engaging individuals to explore politics and governmental decisions which may in turn affect British healthcare.
How might the Christmas No.1 raise awareness for the value of the NHS?