X Factor judge Gary Barlow's commemorative Diamond Jubilee song was broadcast for the first time yesterday on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show. The song, "Sing", features indigenous Australian guitarist Gurrumul, drums by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Band, vocals from Gareth Malone's Military Wives – and Prince Harry on tambourine. The songwriter was asked whether Harry (who also appears in the video, dancing) demonstrated any innate musical talent. "No," he replied.
Barlow told the Press Association that he'd originally intended to record the single in Britain with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, but was warned by the Prince of Wales that the Queen preferred her iPod playlist to have an international flavour. "He said, 'If you really want the Queen to like this, find people; go and travel and find people.' And it was at that point I had to go back to the BBC and say, we need a bit more money because we've got to get on a plane a few times and go off round the world."
It's testament to Barlow's songwriting that having elicited contributions from Australia, Africa, Jamaica, the South Pacific and the House of Windsor – he has managed to produce something that sounds like a Take That track. The music was co-written with Lord Lloyd-Webber, but Barlow composed the lyrics himself. "Sing it louder, sing it clearer, knowing everyone will hear ya," implores the chorus, though it neglects to suggest what, exactly, the Commonwealth's 2.1 billion citizens ought to sing about. Her Majesty, maybe. "Sing" will be released on 28 May.