The single will be released on 3 December, John revealed in a post to his social media.
“Just under a year ago, I called Ed Sheeran to see if he wanted to make a Christmas single with me and now it’s nearly here!” his statement said.
“‘Merry Christmas’ will be out Fri 3 December with all proceeds from this year’s Christmas period going to the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation and [Elton John Aids Foundation].”
John also shared a clip showing Sheeran arriving at his door, in a recreation of the famous scene from Love Actually starring Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln.
Sheeran gradually unveils the cards that read: “Hello. Last Christmas, I received a call from my mate Elton John and he told me we should do a Christmas song. And I replied, yeah, maybe in 2022. But I actually wrote the chorus that day, and here we are.”
He continued: “Our Christmas song, ‘Merry Christmas’, is out this Friday… It has sleigh bells – a lot of them.”
The singer, 74, had been hoping to keep their new Christmas duet a secret until it was ready to be released, but Sheeran, 30, made the announcement on Dutch radio station NPO Radio 2 – apparently without consulting his duet partner.
“Yeah, he let the cat out of the bag, didn’t he?” John told NME when he was asked about the gaffe.
“I was sworn to secrecy and then big mouth f***ing Sheeran goes to the Netherlands! It’s supposed to come out – we haven’t finished it yet, so there’s still work to be done.”
Speaking about his hopes to score the coveted Christmas number one spot, John said: “We’ve got the sausage roll man to deal with, haven’t we? We’ve got LadBaby to deal with!”
Both artists achieved No 1 albums this year, John with his Lockdown Sessions and Sheeran with his fourth album, = (Equals).
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