Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney has added his name to the list of celebrities who have recorded a new version of ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ to support the Hillsborough families.
The single was played for the first time at an emotional ceremony in front of special guests at St George’s Hall, with MP Steve Rotheram announcing that Sir Paul had joined with other Merseyside artists to perform vocals as well as a guitar solo on The Justice Collective single.
Rotheram revealed: “It is a great honour to announce, that along with a stellar line up alongside the biggest names in music, the Justice Collective also includes a solo from Sir Paul McCartney.”
The event was attended by a number of friends and family of Hillsborough victims, as well as supporters of the Justice campaign, with proceeds from the single being used to help the families of the 96 with their legal fees.
Actor Ricky Tomlinson gave his support for the single, telling JMU Journalism: “I want this record to go to number one. It’s not just about Liverpool and Everton fans, or even just football fans, it’s about sports fans everywhere. They have suffered a dreadful tragedy, they want justice.
“I hope it does go to Christmas number one, but either way it will be the number one to the families, to the Liverpool supporters, to the supporters of this campaign everywhere in the country,” he said.
Phil Hammond, who lost his 14-year-old son in the disaster, told JMU Journalism he is hoping that the single will keep the fight for justice in the public eye.
He said: “I am happy that this is being brought to light, and not letting the fight die. It’s getting carried further on. People outside of Liverpool who didn’t know what was going on… now they’ll be told, the lies and stories what was said about Hillsborough. They’re starting to realise that we’ve been telling the truth for the past 23 years.”
The single includes contributions by singing stars such as Robbie Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Paloma Faith, Beverley Knight and Melanie C. It has also gained support from Liverpool comedian John Bishop, chef Heston Blumenthal and local football legends Kenny Dalglish, Peter Reid and Alan Hansen.
Special guests at the event were also given the opportunity to see the premiere of the accompanying music video, with Walton MP Steve Rotheram also announcing a documentary would be made about the single.
Brian Reade, a Daily Mirror journalist and outspoken supporter of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, urged people to buy the record.
He told JMU Journalism: “We have fought for years to get the nation behind us, and we’ve reached a point now where most of the nation is behind us, and if they go out and buy it, it will prove that they are behind us in the fight for justice.”
Additional reporting by Joel Richards & Joe Barnes