What is the song in the John Lewis Christmas advert? A guide to Golden Slumbers

10 November 2017, 13:47

John Lewis has unveiled its Christmas advert for 2017, and they managed to keep (most) things about it a secret.

While rumours claimed that it would feature a cover of 'Last Christmas' by Wham! as a tribute to George Michael, it ended up being something entirely different to accompany the story of Moz the Monster.

So what is the song? And who sang it?

1. It's a cover of 'Golden Slumbers' by The Beatles

This is the third time that John Lewis has used a Beatles song for its Christmas campaign following 'From Me To You' and 'Real Love'.

'Golden Slumbers' is the sixth part of a final medley of songs that appears on their 1969 album Abbey Road. It is immediately followed by the song 'Carry That Weight', and they were both recorded at the same time as a single piece.

Although credited to McCartney-Lennon, it was written by Paul McCartney, with strings and brass arranged by George Martin.

2. What is it about?

The song is based on the poem 'Cradle Song', a lullaby by Thomas Dekker. It appears in his 1603 comedy Patient Grissel.

McCartney first saw sheet music for the poem at his father's home in Liverpool, left on a piano by his stepsister Ruth. Although he was unable to read music, he created his own music for the piece. The song uses the first stanza of the poem, with a few word changes.

In the 1885 collection 'St Nicholas Songs', WJ Henderson included music set to the poem, titled 'Golden Slumbers Kiss Your Eyes'. Abbey Road did not credit Dekker.

3. Who sings this version?

Manchester band Elbow have recorded this cover version, with frontman Guy Garvey on lead vocals.

The song will feature on their upcoming Best Of compilation, to be released on November 24.

4. Who else has covered it?

Like most Beatles songs, it has already been performed by a long list of artists over the decades.

Among them have included versions by George Benson, John Denver, Bee Gees, Phil Collins, Mumford & Sons, Will Young and Jennifer Hudson (in the animated movie Sing).

In fact, Will performed it for Smooth Radio in 2012! Watch the video above.