As another year comes to a close in the UK, the holidays are marked by a relatively recent tradition – that being the John Lewis & Partners Christmas themed advert. For ten years, to accompany these charming tales, one can always expect a dressed down cover of a previously established hit single. And so, from across the 10 years of John Lewis covers, Musicroom have selected the 5 best covers!
In chronological order:
Your Song (Originally by Elton John) – Ellie Goulding
Despite being the second song in the series of adverts, Ellie Goulding’s gentle 2010 cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ was the first John Lewis single to reach number 2 on the UK chart, and proved to be something of a tearjerker amongst its listeners. From a dressed down version of the original accompaniment to Goulding’s clear and unaltered voice, the singer’s cover came into its own despite the song’s formidable legacy.
The advert itself depicts the efforts people will undergo to ensure that their Christmas presents are the best wrapped and most surprising, capturing the wholesome spirit of Christmas gift-giving and summing it up with: ‘for those who care about showing they care.’
Arrangements available: PVG, SATB, SSA, SAB
The Bear and the Hare – Somewhere Only We Know (Originally by Keane) – Lily Allen
The fifth song to accompany a John Lewis advert, Lily Allen’s cover of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ defied all expectations when it hit number 1 on the UK chart. The cover opts for a quieter and more wholesome dynamic compared to the original, with just Allen, a piano and a string quartet. The advert is just as sweet as the song, covering the events leading up to Christmas in a woodland full of animals, specifically the bond shared by a bear and a hare and their experience of the Holiday season together.
Arrangements available: PVG, SATB, SAB, TTBB
#BusterTheBoxer – One Day I’ll Fly Away (Originally by Randy Crawford) – Vaults
John Lewis’ eighth cover for an advert came from the band Vaults, a British electronica band, who created a rendition of Randy Crawford’s song ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’. Channelling Nicole Kidman’s own enchanting version of the song from the 2001 film Moulin Rouge, Vaults put their singer forward as a lone bird over an uplifting orchestral accompaniment.
The advert comes is shot in a similarly whimsical fashion, telling the story of a dog named Buster and his desire to jump on a newly built trampoline in his garden.
Arrangements available: Concert Band, Fanfare Band, Brass Band, Jazz Ensemble
#MozTheMonster – Golden Slumbers (Originally by The Beatles) – Elbow
A year after the Vaults track came Elbow’s version of The Beatles’ ‘Golden Slumbers’. The general feeling of the track is little changed, although Elbow put their expert hands on the string accompaniment and augment the previously straightforward crescendo moments of the song with a more melodic accompaniment. The advert tells the story of a boy and the monster under his bed, Moz. It details their sleepless nights spent playing board games and having fun until the boy simply falls asleep, being tucked in by the very monster that kept him up. Directed by Michael Gondry, of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-fame, this advert proved to be a heart-warmer in its own right.
Arrangements available: PVG, Easy Piano
#ExcitableEdgar – Can’t Fight This Feeling (Originally by REO Speedwagon) – Dan Smith
The latest in the series, ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’, is covered by Dan Smith of UK-based Bastille fame, with the song originally performed by REO Speedwagon. While the original bears all the traits of a power ballad, the rendition by Smith transforms it into a work more reminiscent of a Disney musical number, fit with orchestral strings, church bells and belted crescendos.
The advert concerns the struggles of Excitable Edgar, a fire-breathing dragon who has a tendency to destroy anything he comes into contact with. However, after befriending a girl, he learns to keep himself calm and is accepted by the community.
Arrangements available: SATB, SAB, 2-Part Choir