AUDIO: Sheffield Arena homecoming star Paul Carrack tipped for charity Christmas number one
Sheffield superstar Paul Carrack is dreaming of a chart topping Christmas with bookies tipping his new charity version of The Living Years in running for the top spot.
He provided the distinctive vocals for the original 1991 world-wide hit when he was lead singer with Mike + The Mechanics.
AUDIO: Listen to Paul Carrack's full chat with Graham Walker about making the charity record and plans for his 2017 UK tour - CLICK HERE.
The Living Years topped the charts back then in the USA, Japan, Ireland, Canada and Australia.
Now, 25-years-on, with all proceeds going to 18 hospices and raising awareness of the hospice movement generally, he is hoping the song which got to number two in the UK could go one step further, with a social medial push using #Hospices4XmasNo1.
GET THE SINGLE: New version of The Living Years is out on Friday, December 16. Download it from iTunes - CLICK HERE; Amazon - CLICK HERE or, for a physical copy from Amazon - CLICK HEREThe 65-year-old - whose 2017 UK tour will feature three Yorkshire dates including a Sheffield Arena homecoming, on February 24- re-recorded his biggest hit with the newly-formed London Hospices Choir of 300 patients, families, staff and volunteers, at Abbey Road studios.
It is up against other worthy charity singles including When Christmas Comes Around, the Ed Sheeran penned winners single for new X Factor champ Matt Terry, in aid of Together For Short Live and Shooting Star Chase charities.
There's also the Rolling Stones cover You Can’t Always Get What You Want. by the Parliamentary Choir/Friends Of Jo Cox, including Kaiser Chiefs' Ricky Wilson, Cockney Rebel's Steve Harley, KT Tunstall and David Gray. in memory of the murdered Batley and Spen MP for the launch of the Jo Cox Foundation.
Snapping at their heals for the Christmas number one are Doncaster's own One Direction star Louis Tomlinson, with an emotional tribute to his mum, a debut song from 11-year-old Cruz Beckham, a duet by Zayn Malik and Taylor Swift, plus songs by Cliff Richard, Terry Wogan and James Corden.
But Paul says the most important thing about his contender is raising cash and awareness of the financial struggle faced by UK hospices who need to fundraise to meet most of their costs.
The Living Years, an Ivor Novello Award winner and Grammy nominated song written by Mike Rutherford and BA Robertson, addresses a son's regret over unresolved conflict with his recently deceased father.
He says many people relate to and it and it makes him think of the heartache he faced losing his own parents.
In an exclusive chat - listen to it in full on line - he said: "I didn't write the song. It was written by BA Robertson and Mike Rutherford who both lost their fathers and had newborn sons around the same time.
"The song touches on the subject of lack of communication and unresolved issues; that we are here for a short time and it's important to be open, frank and honest with loved ones and your nearest and dearest. I guess it's why the hospice fundraisers wanted to record it.
"It definitely resonates with me, particularly the last verse. I always have an image in my mind because I lost my father when I was 11 years old, not through illness but consequences of an accident at work.
"And it's probably more relevant to the situation I had with my mum when she passed away, because she was ill for a long time and she faced it with immense courage.
"You are always left with the thought that you could have done more and you could have been more open and all the rest of it."
Paul plays a 24-date UK tour early next year including Yorkshire dates at York Barbican, on February 12, Sheffield Arena, February 24 and Halifax Victoria Theatre, on March 5. He will also play three nights at the Royal Albert Hall next year as keyboard player for Eric Clapton.
Today he promised his own shows will feature all his career defining hits, including the likes of How Long, Tempted, Over My Shoulder and Eyes Of Blue, plus new songs from his latest critically acclaimed 2016 chart hit, Soul Shadows.
Paul, who revealed he is half way towards his next album, said he is thrilled to make his headline debut at Sheffield Arena, where he once supported Sting. He will perform in the intimate setting of the so-called Steel Hall - around twice the capacity of his traditional City Hall appearances.
* Tickets for Sheffield Arena are £31.50 and £40.43 when bought in person at the venue, or £33.60 and £43.12 online at www.sheffieldarena.co.uk, or by calling the Box Office on 0114 256 5656. All prices include booking fees.
For more follow Paul Carrack on his website at www.paulcarrack.net; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carrack.net and Twitter on @PCarrack. Follow The London Hospices Choir on Facebook at www.facebook.com/londonhospiceschoir on Twitter @ChoirLondon and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/londonhospiceschoir.