Music history looks set to be made this week as the first ever release of pure birdsong has soared high into the UK charts.
Let Nature Sing by the Royal Society For The Protection Of Birds features 25 of the UK’s most beloved and endangered birds – and is currently at number 11 in the midweek charts.
The RSPB is calling on the public to download the single so birdsong can fly high in the charts on ‘Dawn Chorus Day’ this Sunday.
Let Nature Sing was put together with sounds from more than 100 birds by the Globe theatre’s musical director, a folk singer and an RSPB project manager.
The song is currently ahead of pop icons such as Pink, tipped future star Zara Larsson and music mogul Calvin Harris.
Martin Harper, the RSPB’s director of conservation, said: ‘Over the last few days, thousands of people have bought and streamed our track to hear nature’s finest singers and show that they love bird song.
‘This has started a national conversation as millions will have heard, seen and read the facts showing that, shockingly, nature is in crisis in the UK.
‘The response to Let Nature Sing sends a powerful message that yes, nature is amazing but it is also in trouble.’
He added: ‘The good news is that it is not too late, we know what needs to be done and together we can take action to restore it for us and for future generations.’
It comes after the wildlife charity reimagined the album covers of greats including Queen, the Beatles and David Bowie as it claimed 40million birds have disappeared from the UK’s skies in half a century.
The front cover of David Bowie’s ‘Aladdin Sane’, released in 1973, and the bird version of the iconic album image with the words Let Nature Sing representing the charity’s first song
They show bird-headed people posing in similar positions to the iconic celebrities with four snapped crossing a road, one standing with a lightning stripe across its face and four others posing in formation.
As many as 56 per cent of the country’s birds are in decline, according to the charity, with one in ten animals already critically endangered.
The Beatles Abbey Road album cover from 1969 and a mock-up bird version from the RSPB
Album cover for Queen II with Freddie Mercury (bottom), Brian May (top), Roger Taylor (right) and John Deacon (left) compared with its redesigned bird version showing four feathered friends posing against a darkened background
A version of Ariana Grande’s ‘Yours Truly’, released in 2013, against the bird version which pictures a bird-headed person covering themselves under a neon pink ‘RSPB’ sign
Unusual feather-based album covers show David Bowie replaced by a man with a bird’s head in bestselling album ‘Aladdin Sane’ which hit number one in the UK, and Beatles album ‘Abbey Road’ replaced with four bird-headed people crossing a street.
Queen’s 1973 album ‘Queen ii’ which sold more than six million copies was also given a makeover with four feathered-fowl posing in the same position as Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon.
Ariana Grande’s ‘Yours Truly’ front cover was also replaced with a bird mimicking her position with a neon pink ‘RSPB’ sign above it.
David Bowie sold an estimated 140million albums worldwide since releasing his first single, ‘Liza Jane’, in 1964.
Similarly, The Beatles are thought to have sold 1.6 billion singles in the US alone and 177million albums, and Queen has landed the best selling album in the UK with their greatest hits, which has sold more than six million copies.
ABBA also managed to become a disco-staple with classics such as ‘Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ reaching millions worldwide.
Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ album cover from 1977 next to its feathery version where a woman with a birds head nearly trips over a record player
ABBA’s classic the album from 1975 and its bird version which replaces the kangaroo with a stag and the human on puppet strings with a frog
George Ezra’s Staying at Tamara’s, 2018, shows the artists stepping through a door while the bird version shows a bird-headed man striking a pose on a balcony
The RSPB’s song hit number one on Amazon on the second day of its release, beating Taylor Swift’s new song ‘ME!’ and climbed to second place on iTunes.
It contains sounds from endangered nightingales and bitterns as well as more common blackbirds and robins.
RSPB project manager Adrian Thomas said the charity decided to create a pop single as ‘a way to bring home the message that birdsong is music in itself, but that we are losing it from our landscape’.
‘We tried to compose something that just conveys some of the fascination, beauty and the rhythms of bird sound, and hopefully inspires people through that.’
Bill Barclay, The Globe’s musical director, said his future work could be inspired by the sounds which included the most likely bird to go extinct in the UK, the turtle dove.
‘There is a long legacy of classical composers who have used birdsong in their music,’ he said.
‘This is a much more special situation when you’re dealing with real birdsong, some pure beautiful recordings of them, some endangered species singing in this beautiful radiant chorus.
‘This is a special way to do it not to use birds as sound effects but to appreciate them for being the origins of music that they are.’
A red list of the UK’s birds includes 57 species, which are being pushed to the edge by a changing environment and loss of habitat.
Among them is the iconic puffin, which has been pushed to the edge by rats and declining fish stocks, the marsh warbler which has lost large expanses of habitat and the house sparrow.
Mr Harper added: ‘The signs are all around us that something is not right, that nature is falling silent and you only need to stop and listen to find the beautiful bird song that should be the background music to our life is absent.
‘But no one is talking about the crisis facing wildlife and nature in the UK.
‘We all need to start talking about this, and the Let Nature Sing track is a good starting point as it perfectly highlights the music we risk losing.
‘Wildlife and our natural world can recover, it can be saved for future generations, but we need more people to talk about the issue and how much something as simple and wonderful as bird song means to each of us.
‘Because if we do not start talking about the threats facing nature the inspiration behind so much of our music, poetry and literature may go silent.’
The track can be bought for 99p on Amazon and iTunes.