UB40 featuring Ali Campbell & Astro have today (7) unveiled the video for their version of Bill Withers’ ‘Lean On Me,’ the audio of which was released on 20 April.
The song is in aid of NHS Charities Together and the video went live at 8.15pm GMT, poignantly scheduled to follow the weekly and now-traditional “clap for carers” in which the British public show their appreciation for the work of frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new version had its worldwide radio debut on BBC Radio 2 and was then added to the broadcaster’s playlist. It has figured prominently in the UK iTunes chart since release. Bill Withers’ estate are also supporting the release by donating their writing royalty in Europe for this period to NHS Charities Together. “I’m sure Bill Withers would have been happy to see his beautiful song put to such great use”, says Campbell.
A cast of UK stars
The video for the ‘Lean On Me’ fundraiser features a host of music stars and entertainment celebrities. They include Sir Cliff Richard, Jools Holland, Suggs from Madness, Shaun Ryder and Bez (Happy Mondays), Chabuddy G, DJ Steves and MC Grindah (from the cast of BBC’s People Just Do Nothing) and Big Narstie.
Also accompanying Campbell and Astro in the clip are Lynval Golding of the Specials, Frank Benbini of Fun Lovin’ Criminals, actor Phil Daniels, Scarlett Moffatt, Mo Gilligan, Trisha Goddard and Stevo the Madman. NHS and care home staff and key workers also take part.
“We are overwhelmed”
“We are overwhelmed by the support and love for this track,” say Ali Campbell and Astro. “It’s so wonderful that so many NHS staff, carers, friends and famous faces have taken the time to be part of the video and this will help to raise even more money for our wonderful NHS and just show how thankful and indebted to them we all are.”
Campbell and Astro previously supported the NHS as part of the NHS Voices who marked the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service in 2018. They sang on ‘With A Little Help from My Friends’ with the likes of Nile Rodgers, Gabrielle, Guy Garvey and Seal.
‘Lean On Me (In Aid of NHS Charities Together)’ can be bought here.