Take Me Back To London
by Ed Sheeran (featuring Stormzy)

Album: No. 6 Collaborations Project (2019)
Charted: 1
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Songfacts®:

  • Ed Sheeran moved from his hometown of Framlingham to London in 2008. He kick-started his music career in England's capital city, playing small venues and sleeping on fans' sofas every night after his gigs. During his time there, Sheeran released a series of EPs, culminating with No. 5 Collaborations Project, which features a collection of London-based grime artists, such as Devlin, Wiley, P Money, Ghetts and JME. "Take Me Back To London," recorded for No. 6 Collaborations Project, finds him performing in unison with another London-based grime rapper, Stormzy.
  • Lyrically, the song finds both Sheeran and Stormzy bigging up their home city, as they fly back to London after being away for a while.

    Jet plane headed up to the sky
    Spread wings in the clouds, getting high
    We ain't hit a rave in a while
    So take me back to London


    The two artists also get involved in some braggadocio as they boast about performing at some of Britain's top venues, such as Wembley and Glastonbury, as well as the BRIT Awards. Sheeran also brags about his riches in detail, recalling how he grossed "half a billi on the Divide Tour." The pair conclude the track with the sentiment "there ain't no place like home."
  • Sheeran and Stormzy go back several years, having previously collaborated on a remix of "Shape Of You." When Sheeran debuted the remix live on stage at The O2 during the 2017 BRIT Awards it was clear that he was giving Stormzy a leg-up.
  • The song was co-produced by:

    Sheeran's longtime friend Skrillex. The pair have performed together before. Back in September 2018, Sheeran and Skrillex made an impromptu appearance at the renowned Five Roses Pub in Chicago. While Skrillex played a 90-minute DJ set, Sheeran acted as his hypeman. The American electronic musician is also credited as a featured artist on another No. 6 Collaborations Project track "Way To Break My Heart."

    Connecticut-born producer Kenny Beats, who broke out in 2018 when he supplied beats for rising acts such as Rico Nasty and Ski Mask the Slump God. He earned his first Billboard Hot 100 hit that year with Ski Mask's "Foot Fungus."

    English producer Fred Gibson, who worked on a dozen of the No. 6 Collaborations Project tracks.
  • "Take Me Back to London (Sir Spyro Remix)" was released on August 23, 2019. The new version adds hard-hitting verses from UK rappers Jaykae and Aitch in addition to Stormzy's contribution.
  • A music video for the Sir Spyro remix was shot between Manchester, Birmingham and London by director KC Locke; it shows Stormzy and Sheeran racing around the countryside in a Rolls Royce. The pair are joined by Jaykae and Aitch; the four engage in some quintessentially British activity, such as drinking tea, and downing pints in a pub.
  • Jay-Z was in the studio when the track was being put together and wanted to jump on the song, but Stormzy thought having the American star on it was a bad fit. "I felt proper bad because I was like, 'You're saying no to Jay-Z!'" he said on ITV's Jonathan Ross Show.

    "Jay-Z was super proud and super shocked and taken aback by the fact that this kid told him," Stormzy added.

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