Prince Harry and Jon Bon Jovi joined forces at the famous Abbey Road Studios today, to record a version of ‘Unbroken’ with the Invictus Games Choir in support of Harry’s renowned games.
The charity single is in aid of the Invictus Games Foundation, which oversees the development of the Invictus Games, the international multi-sport event for injured or sick military personnel founded by the Duke.
The song, Unbroken, was written by Bon Jovi to shine a spotlight on veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and honour their service. The charity single was originally released by Bon Jovi’s band last year and was re-recorded on Thursday at Abbey Road with the choir, with the final mixing expected to be completed on Friday.
In an Instagram video, the Duke posted a video of himself with the musician gearing up to sing in a recording booth during the visit – with the footage stopping just before they burst into song.
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The pair were then ushered inside to the control room overlooking Studio 2, where the original ‘Fab Four’ recorded during the 1960s.
Before entering the studio, the redhead joked that the pair had “been gargling next door, so we’re ready to go”.
Harry and the singer walked down from the booth to the large recording hall after watching the singers – originally formed by choir master Gareth Malone – perform the single due to be released in mid-March.
Speaking about the Beatles, Bon Jovi said to Harry: “It’s not the original (mixing) board but this is the room, and what you’re seeing on camera downstairs is where they did it – this is the famous room, this is the place.”
Harry quizzed the American rocker about how things had gone with the track and Bon Jovi replied: “I’m so excited about everything, we tweaked a couple of lyrics to make them more British-centric – the original lyric being Camp Lejeune, which is where the US Marines will train, we changed little things like that.
“But once they got over the awe of being here, then they became a rock band.” Bon Jovi’s close link with the military is due to both his parents having served in the US Marine Corps.
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Testing, testing?… • Recorded inside Abbey Road Studios, home to The Beatles and other music legends, The Duke of Sussex joins Jon Bon Jovi and the Invictus Games Choir for a special live session in aid of the Invictus Games Foundation. The song being played, called ‘Unbroken’, was created by Jon Bon Jovi to shine a spotlight on those veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI), to honour their service and acknowledge the strength of the Armed Forces community. The Duke and JBJ are both strong supporters of the military community, with The Duke founding the Invictus Games in 2014. The Invictus Games Choir, made up of wounded, injured and sick veterans and serving personnel from all services and different ranks of the UK Armed Forces, have come together to use the power of music to aid their recovery. Although The Duke was unable to sing, leaving the vocals to the professionals, the special single that was recorded in Studio 2 where The Beatles recorded 11 out of their 13 albums, and will be released in March in support of the @WeAreInvictusGames. Video © SussexRoyal
After hugging members of the choir, and or shaking hands, the Duke told them: “Singing individually is one thing, singing in the bath or in front of the mirror – who doesn’t? When you sing together, it’s a different experience for you guys.”
Harry also inquired about the benefits of performing together, asking “How many of you would say you’re stronger?” and got a chorus of approval.
He was told the choir members were “a family”, and veteran Andy Mudd, 63, from York, an original member of the group, added: “We are Unbroken. We are not all broken or damaged.”
The Prince agreed, saying: “That’s a dangerous narrative that has spun out over the years.”
Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games in 2014 as a way of using sport to create a positive impact on the lives of injured service personnel and veterans.
Despite his brother The Duke of Cambridge joining Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift on stage in 2013 to sing Livin’ On A Prayer at a charity event, Harry was not tempted to test his vocal cords in public. After watching the choir perform the charity single Unbroken, a clearly relieved Royal said: “I’m just glad I don’t have to sing.”
We got to learn about the unusual way in which the collaboration occurred. Bon Jovi said he had sent the song to The Duke of Sussex, who had sent a “very nice letter” in return, which said he would “love to include it in something to do with the Invictus Games”.
Bon Jovi told the story of how the project got off the ground – a letter written to Harry last autumn outlining the idea. The Duke joked: “He wrote and I felt like writing back and just saying, ‘Good luck!’ But between you guys, you have made it happen.”
Bon Jovi joked that he looked forward to working with the “artist formerly known as prince”. Speaking before the recording, the singer said: “In light of what has come, you know, with his leaving the monarchy, as it were, I didn’t plan on any of this.
“But he said: ‘Not only am I going to come back [to England], you know, but I want to be there when you do it’.
“And to do it at Abbey Road, of course where the Beatles once were; and to do it with the “artist formerly known as Prince”, I think it’s gonna be an incredible, moving moment.”
Asked by the Duke if he had heard the stories of the choir, made up of injured and wounded military personnel and veterans, the singer replied: “It’s touching, their desire to serve… and what they get out of singing, it keeps their camaraderie.”
Outside, Harry stepped on to the famous zebra crossing with the American musician and two members of the Invictus Games Choir, recreating the Beatles’ photo.
The Abbey Road crossing – which has Grade II listed status – draws thousands of music fans every year who, just like the Duke, recreate the picture of the ‘Fab Four’ originally taken by Ian Macmillan.
First to cross was wheelchair user and former serviceman Andy Mudd, followed by Bon Jovi, ex-servicewoman Susan Warner, who was seriously injured during an Afghanistan deployment in 2009, and finally Harry.
The foursome posed for press and crowds that had gathered as rain fell and traffic was halted by police.
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace took place against a musical background of two of Bon Jovi’s greatest hits to celebrate his involvement with the Duke’s Invictus Games.
The charity single version of Unbroken, featuring the Invictus Games Choir, will be released in March.
Featured image – still via Reuters video