Bridge Over Troubled Water

Album: Single release only (2017)
Charted: 1
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Grenfell Tower is a 24-storey 220-foot (70 m) high tower block of public housing flats in North Kensington on the western edge of Inner London. A fire that started on June 14, 2017 took the lives of 79 residents, making it the deadliest fire in mainland Britain in more than 100 years.

    Simon Cowell, who lives close to the tower block assembled some of Britain's biggest musical artists for a charity cover of the 1970 Simon & Garfunkel classic, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to help the victims of the tragedy. The song was recorded at Sarm Studios, half a mile from the fire-ravaged building.
  • Grime rapper Stormzy kicks off the single with a powerful verse over a minor-key piano intro.

    I don't know where to begin so I'll start by saying I refuse to forget you
    I refuse to be silenced
    I refuse to neglect you
    That's for every last soul up in Grenfell
    Even though I've never even met you
    .

    Cowell recalled on BBC Breakfast: "Stormzy turned up and was really emotional. He wrote this incredibly heartfelt rap section."
  • The singers, in order of vocal appearance are Stormzy, Robbie Williams, James Blunt, Rita Ora, Craig David, Dan Smith (of Bastille), Liam Payne, Emeli Sandé, Kelly Jones (of Stereophonics), Paloma Faith, Louis Tomlinson, Labrinth, Jorja Smith, Louis Rei (of WSTRN), Leona Lewis, Jessie J, James Arthur, Roger Daltrey (of The Who), Ella Eyre, Anne-Marie, Ella Henderson and Louisa Johnson.

    As well as contributing to the second verse, Rita Ora who grew up in the neighborhood near Grenfell Tower, sings the song's closing line, "I will lay me down."

    The artists were joined by a 300 strong choir of local people - some of them lost their homes to the blaze - conducted by Gareth Malone.
  • Over 50 acts in total were involved with many other contributing additional vocals. Brian May (of Queen), Nile Rodgers and Pete Townshend (of The Who) are among the artists making musical contributions.
  • The all-star recording shifted 120,000 across downloads and streaming equivalent sales in its first 24 hours. This was the biggest first-day sales total of any UK single in the 2010s.
  • Proceeds from the single are being distributed by the London Community Foundation. The UK government has waived VAT on the release too.
  • The black-and-white video intersperses shots of a number of the stars cutting their parts for the single with moving photos from the Grenfell relief operation.
  • Originally released in 1970, Simon and Garfukel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" held the #1 spot on both the UK and US charts.

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