While Miss Mussel may be all ga-ga for Charlie Brown, over in Jolly Old her contemporaries are crazy for The Snowman. It’s been a huge hit since the special was first broadcast in 1982 and everyone knows the song. Walking In The Air is a shibboleth in the same way the 1-2-3-4-5 Sesame Street Song is. All it takes is a few notes and all members of the tribe can’t help but identify themselves by joining in.
The Snowman was the making of Welsh choirboy Aled Jones although a little digging reveals that things are not as they initially appear. [cue controversy music]. For 20 years, it was assumed that Jones was singing on the cartoon soundtrack but when it was time to put together the 20th anniversary edition, BBC producers felt that it was time to set the record straight: the voice in the cartoon was actually Peter Auty, a chorister from St Paul’s in London. Auty made the recording for just £300 and was left out of the closing credits in the rush to finish the film.
“It’s great to have my name on the film after all these years. I’m really pleased people will now recognise it was me,” Mr Auty told the BBC. “At the time it, didn’t really bother me that everyone thought it was Aled. I was quite happy to be anonymous, but I think my mum and dad were quite miffed on my behalf.”
Jones was chosen by composer Howard Blake to release a re-recorded version of the song in 1983. It was a huge hit and cemented Jones’ place in the spotlight.
Here he is, through the magic of television, singing The Snowman as a duet with his adult self. On the right is IRN-BRU reinventing the song and animation as part of a Christmas advertising campaign. It tastes like a liquid orange freezie and is apparently, Scotland’s favourite soft drink.