For only the second time in the history of the Official U.K. Albums Chart, a member of the British royal family is heard on a No. 1 album. This time, thanks to a tambourine.
Prince Henry of Wales, more commonly known as Prince Harry, plays tambourine on the EP “Sing,” which debuted at No. 1 on the tally this past Sunday (June 3). He’s featured on the set’s title track, which was composed and recorded specifically to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year reign.
The song, written by Take That’s Gary Barlow and composer extraordinaire Andrew Lloyd Webber, includes an array of musicians from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations. It was recorded at Abbey Road studios, as well as on location in Australia, Kenya, Jamaica and the Solomon Islands.
According to Alan Jones of Music Week, the last (and only other) No. 1 album to feature a member of the royal family playing, singing or talking was 1981’s “The Official BBC Album of the Royal Wedding.” It spent two consecutive weeks at No. 1, beginning on Aug. 15 of that year.
That collection commemorated the wedding of Harry’s parents, Charles, Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. On the album’s cut “The Marriage Service,” the two royals are heard exchanging their marriage vows at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Barlow explained to ITV how the regal cameo came to fruition. “We caught him on his last day in Jamaica,” he said. “We turned up and I asked him would he play on the record and he said, ‘I don’t sing’. But, I said, ‘No, no – I don’t want you to sing, I want you to play the tambourine’.”
When asked if the Prince exhibited any musical talent, Barlow simply said, “No.”
Additional reporting by Andy Gensler