ROYAL Marines musicians in Portsmouth have signed an album deal with a major record label.
The Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth has recorded 17 rousing military songs for a charity album which will be released next month.
Summon The Heroes is being put out by Decca Records – famous as the home of artists such as Tom Jones, Katherine Jenkins, Billie Holliday, and John Coltrane.
It is due for release on November 14 and Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace, principal director of music in the Royal Marines, hopes his tuneful troops can be top of the album charts by Christmas.
He said: ‘We are very excited about it. It’s the first one we’ve done with Decca and the first record we’ve released on a major label for many years.
‘It’s going to be in all main shops and supermarkets and online so hopefully we can get big sales.’
The band recorded the album at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios in London and will officially sign the contract with Decca aboard HMS Victory in Portsmouth on Trafalgar Day – October 21.
After the record giants take their slice of the deal, profits made by the band will be donated to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.
Decca approached the band earlier this year offering a deal.
Lt Col Grace said: ‘It was a bit out of the blue. They wanted to know whether we would do an album with them and we thought it’s an opportunity not to be missed.
‘It’s a great way of getting a good profile for the band and for the Royal Marines and Royal Navy as well.’
Royal Marines bands can often be seen performing on public navy days and ceremonial occasions when warships leave or return from deployments.
Musicians based at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth spent two weeks recording songs at Maida Vale over the summer, rubbing shoulders with pop stars who were there performing live for radio shows.
‘I didn’t know who they were. I’m too old,’ admitted cornet player and violinist Colour Sergeant Steve Bacon, 46.
‘It was great fun. I’ve done quite a few albums with the band before but to be honest this one seems to be the biggest one yet.
‘It will be interesting to see what comes of it. Hopefully it will be quite a success.’
Summon The Heroes features the title track, a rendition of Rod Stewart’s Sailing, a new arrangement of Ashokan Farewell, Hands Across the Sea, and other naval classics.
English tenor Alfie Boe appears on Over the Hills and British artist Mary-Jess, who hit headlines when she won the Chinese version of the X Factor, sings on There You’ll Be.