Mumford and Sons frontman Marcus Mumford has recorded a cover of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' to raise money for two charities and accompany people during the coronavirus outbreak.
Mumford had taped his own version of the Gerry and the Pacemakers track in January for Jason Sudeikis' upcoming TV show, but worked on releasing the hit separately as lives all around the world were being impacted by COVID-19.
The cover was released last month and all the proceeds from it will go to War Child UK and the Grenfell Foundation.
Read on below as we spoke to the Grammy Award-winning musician about the song, its meaning and his admiration for Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool…
Firstly Marcus, just what does the song You'll Never Walk Alone mean to you?
Well, I think I came at it from a songwriting point of view. Obviously it's a song I've grown up hearing associated with football as a football fan, even though I'm an AFC Wimbledon fan. You can't avoid it if you're a football fan, you hear it every week when you're watching Match of the Day or whatever! But in January I was asked to record a version of it for a TV show that I'm working on, and I did. It was then that I really got my head around what an amazingly well-written song it is, just from a chord structure and where the melody goes. When you cover a song, you have to study it more. In studying it, I really came to respect it at a whole new level. I really enjoyed recording it, I really got into it and, for me, found my way to the heart of the song and the meaning of it.
You weren't intending to release the song in March, but felt it was entirely appropriate given what's happening in the world at the moment...
Having had that up my sleeve since January, when all this stuff happened and it was the first weekend where people were really in quarantine, it felt like I understood the song better than I had before and also the importance of the message. It would feel like a waste if it was just up my sleeve. So I spoke to Jason Sudeikis, the guy who created the TV show I'm working on and who had requested me to record this version of the song. I said to him, 'I don't feel like we should wait for it to come out in a TV show. At a time like this, let's just get it out and not for any commercial grounds. Let's just get it out to accompany people in quarantine or whatever'. It just sort of felt like the stars aligned, to be honest.
Obviously there's a massive association with Liverpool – and, of course, I knew that going in – but I was hoping that it would unite people more than seeing like it was some sort of tribal effort to win over Liverpool fans or whatever. Most responses I've seen, it's been really beautiful to see United fans like the song, saying things like, 'I've never quite liked that song before because of its association, but now I can respect that'. David Beckham put out a post about it as a United man. There comes a moment like this where everyone feels united in some way.
Have you seen the video of the nurses in the hospital singing the song together? It's an incredibly powerful song...
It is. It's got real power, that song – and that's what great songs can do. It is one of the greatest for that reason, it can bring people together. You picked a good one as your club anthem!
You also recorded a video for the track while locked down at home. How interesting and challenging was that?
It was bizarre, man! Music videos at the best of times are pretty weird things, but this was like weird on steroids! It was good. My old friend and collaborator Nick Davies was directing it online, so he was on a video call in the background, as was Reuben [James], who played the piano on it. Then he sent us, by post, three cameras each to set up. We set these cameras up and spent half the day learning how to set up a camera on a tripod! Then we recorded the song together and it was really beautiful actually. Reuben was really up for it. As you can see from the results, big props to his mum for letting us come into her house like that! It worked out well.
You're a Wimbledon fan but you quite like Liverpool, don't you?
I do have a soft spot. I mean, you can't not like this team. Even the most fierce rivals have got to love what Jürgen Klopp has done for English football. Watching Salah and Mane smash it week in, week out is a pleasure as a football fan. I suppose I'm more of a neutral. I grew up with a Manchester United tendency because my brother was a United fan until I went to school in Wimbledon. I was eight and all my mates were like, 'You're a glory hunter, why do you support Manchester United?' My older brother being a fan wasn't a good enough excuse, so I became a Wimbledon fan and have been ever since. But you can't not love this Liverpool team, in my view.
You actually stopped your show in Paris during the Barcelona comeback as you wanted to watch it...
Our bass tech, Ryan, is a massive Liverpool fan. Bless him, he had to work that night with us, so we let him have it on a live stream in his little bass corner. I kept running over to him to ask what the score was. I suggested to the crowd that we all just stop and watch the end of the game. But it didn't go down well, so I just had to keep getting updates from the side of the stage.
And you were in the heart of the Champions League celebrations in the city because you played in Liverpool on the night of the parade...
I saw Robbie Fowler on the back of his bus with beers – what a legend! I got right up to the bus with all the singing and dancing. I got right up to it because it finished up right by the arena that we were playing that night. Man, that was a special day to be in Liverpool.
You can download You'll Never Walk Alone by Marcus Mumford here.