Churchill set to music in military chart attack

Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:35am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Classical music label Decca has signed up with the Royal Air Force to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, a key phase of World War Two, in a bid to top the pop charts.

The label, part of Universal Music, hopes to replicate the surprise success of Vera Lynn last year, when the singer, who kept up the spirits of millions of soldiers during the war, topped the album charts at the age of 92.

"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," said Decca's managing director Mark Wilkinson in a statement.

The deal was signed on Wednesday in London and the album hits the shelves on September 27.

The highlight of "Reach for the Skies" will be wartime leader Winston Churchill's famous speech "The Few" set to music.

Churchill delivered the speech in 1940 but it was re-recorded after the war for posterity. His tribute to the air force included the famous line: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Churchill's "The Finest Hour" speech, another homage to the RAF, is also on the album.

Reach for the Skies will be an official album of the Battle of Britain, marking the 70th anniversary of the crucial air campaign fought between British and German forces in 1940. It also celebrates the 90th anniversary of the RAF's Central Band.

The record 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 sound of Spitfire aircraft flying overhead.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison)