It’s a common misconception that Aled Jones sang Howard Blake’s famous tune in the original 1982 film, but that’s not really the case
The Snowman is a 1982 animated short film based on the author and illustrator’s picture book of the same name Raymond Briggswho passed away on Tuesday morning (9 August) at the age of 88.
The film, which has become a Christmas classic after airing every year on Channel 4, is best known for its iconic soundtrack.
Here’s what you need to know about the music behind it The Snowman – and the voice that sang walk in the air.
Who composed “The Snowman”?
Howard Blake is the composer behind it The Snowman. The production team contacted Blake after experiencing difficulties with the music.
Corresponding Blake’s websiteit was his idea to make the 26-minute film dialogue-free and only use his own music instead.
Blake and The Snowman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1982.
Howard has said that the massive success of The Snowman was “both” a blessing and a curse.
“I get letters from people saying it’s seen them through very bad times — and it’s wonderful that it’s still being played by symphony orchestras everywhere from America to Japan,” Blake said Guardian In 2013.
“But the downside is that people think I’ve never written anything else.”
Apart from The SnowmanBlake has composed scores for films including An elephant called slowly (1969), All the way up (1970), The Duelists (1977), Flash Gordon (1980), A month in the country (1987), The bear (1998) and my life so far (1999).
He has also composed a number of concert works such as the Piano Concerto commissioned by the Philharmonic Orchestra for Princess Diana’s 30th birthday in 1991, the 1995 United Nations 50th Anniversary Cantata and the premiere recording of The land of the duveta song cycle based on words by Robert Louis Stevenson from 2007.
Who sang Walking in the Air?
While the majority of The Snowman is wordless, is told entirely through images, movement and music, the only exception being the central song, called walk in the air.
walk in the airwritten by Blake, it was sung by Peter Auty, a choirboy at St Paul’s Cathedral, but there is a common misconception that Welsh singer Aled Jones was the voice behind the song.
Auty, who was 13 at the time, sang walk in the air for the 1982 film and was paid £300 for it – however his name was dropped from the credits by the producers to complete the animated short.
In 1985, Jones was picked by Blake to re-record and appear as a Christmas single top of the pops and shoot him to stardom overnight. Auty couldn’t sing the new recording as his voice was broken.
The combination of Auty not being credited in the original film and the strong association between the song and Jones led to the public belief that Jones had sung the original song in 1982.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the The Snowmanthe producers created a new introduction to the film to pay homage to Auty.
Producer John Coates said, “We thought it was time to set the record straight.”
At the time, Auty said: “It’s great to have my name on the film after all these years. I’m really glad people now realize it was me.
“It didn’t really bother me at the time that everyone thought it was Aled.
“I was pretty happy to remain anonymous, but I think my mum and dad were pretty upset with me.”
What are the lyrics to Walking in the Air?
These are the lyrics too walk in the air:
We walk in the air We float in the moonlit sky The people far below Sleep as we fly I hold on tight I ride in the midnight blue I find that I can fly with you so high up
Far across the world The villages pass by like dreams The rivers and the hills The forests and the streams
Children stare open-mouthed in surprise Nobody down below can believe their eyes
We surf the air, we swim in frozen skies, we drift over icy mountains that pass by
Suddenly flying low on a deep ocean waking a powerful monster from its slumber
We walk in the air, we dance in the midnight sky, and everyone who sees us salutes us as we fly