Tim Walker: Gary and Harry and a tambourine

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XFactor 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 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 would prefer a more 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 and go off round the world."

It's testament to Barlow's songwriting that – having travelled to every corner of the Commonwealth, eliciting contributions from Australia, Africa, Jamaica, the South Pacific and the House of Windsor – he's managed to produce something that sounds so much 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, neglecting to suggest what, exactly, the Commonwealth's 2.1bn citizens ought to sing about. (Her Maj, maybe?)

Of the other potential candidates, Damon Albarn might have made something more interesting of all these influences, but I suspect he's insufficiently monarchist – not to mention a bit busy with the Olympics. Arise, Sir Gary, then.

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