Captain Tom Moore reached the pinnacle of BBC Radio 1’s The Official Chart with his single ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, making him the oldest No.1 artist in UK history. Marco Migliari, Music Production Senior Lecturer at BIMM Institute Manchester, was part of the team responsible for finalising and preparing the track for radio broadcast. Together, Captain Tom and the team have created a single that’s lifted the nation’s spirit, raised an incredible amount of money for our NHS, and become a symbol of hope and unity during these uncertain times.
Earlier this month, Captain Tom Moore raised more than £18m for the NHS with his sponsored 100th Birthday Walk. Now, his collaboration with Michael Ball and The NHS Voices of Care Choir has become the fastest-selling single of 2020, with 82,000 copies and proceeds going to the NHS Charities Together fund. Along with his sponsored walk, Captain Tom has now raised an incredible £30m for the NHS.
This extraordinary achievement has seen Captain Tom Moore be promoted to colonel, achieve a Pride of Britain award, and receive two Guinness World Records – one for being the oldest person to have a number-one single and the other as the largest fundraiser in an individual charity walk. And today, he’s also reached another incredible milestone as he celebrates his 100th birthday.
So, how did Marco Migliari, Music Production Senior Lecturer at BIMM Institute Manchester come to be involved in ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’: a track that has lifted the nation’s spirit and acted as a platform to thank the men and women working so heroically on the NHS frontline? We caught up with him to find out.
Marco Migliari on his involvement in ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’
“Over the years, I’ve regularly collaborated with the production team behind the single”, Marco tells us. “Producer Nick Patrick and engineer Pete Schwier worked with Michael Ball in the past and I worked with both of them on several occasions for other projects.
Pete rang me while he was mixing the single and asked me to help in getting the audio of Captain Tom shipshape for the mix and to assist with preparing the audio for the radio broadcast the following morning. We had a very late night as so many people were involved and there were a number of last-minute changes.
It seemed to be such a great cause and a real no-brainer – who wouldn’t want to help and support our NHS at this difficult time?
I was actually elated [when I went to bed that night]. It seemed to be such a great cause and a real no-brainer – who wouldn’t want to help and support our NHS at this difficult time? I watched the video of Captain Tom singing at home and he seemed such a humble, sweet person and I connected with the project even though I came in at the very end.
I had no doubt that it would be well received. As for charting results, that’s always a nice surprise and a cherry on the cake with lots of virtual pats on the back on Monday morning!”
Over your career, you’ve worked at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios, set up your own Green Room Studio, worked with some incredible artists and projects such as The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, Massive Attack and Sigur Ros, and engineered the soundtrack for Xbox blockbuster ‘Halo 4’ with producer Neil Davidge. How does this rank among the many achievements you’ve had in your career?
“I’ve participated in a handful of other charity projects in the past, but nothing so close to the heart. Working for great artists is a pleasure, but charity work has an edge because it helps others and the team spirit is on a different page.”
Because of the particular circumstances, everyone recorded their parts in different areas of the country and in different recording conditions. Please can you give us a glimpse into the technical side of things – for example, how easy was it to achieve the final mix?
“My colleague Pete Schwier worked on the mix. Most of the audio was unsynchronised and what we extracted from the mobile recording of Captain Tom required some restoration as the audio needed some attention – understandably under the circumstances. Michael Ball has a recording setup at home so I believe that his audio feed was considerably easier to work with. [For Captain Tom’s audio,] I used Izotope RX 7 Advanced for audio restoration, general cleaning up and de-noising.”
It’s liberating to give without expecting anything back […] and go for things that you like and care about.
Were you surprised at the end result considering the barriers that presented themselves (i.e. being apart from another and recording on different devices)? What was the most difficult part of the experience?
“To be honest, I found it harder staying up late to get the final mix and prep it for broadcast than dealing with the technicalities – over the last few weeks I haven’t slept as soundly as I used to, which I hear is quite common in this situation.”
Is there anything you’ve learnt from this particular experience that you’ll be passing onto your students? And if so, what?
“It’s liberating to give without expecting anything back. In a world that is increasingly obsessed with financial return and career moves, it often pays off to be reliable and go for things that you like and care about instead of chasing dreams.”
Congratulations to Marco and the team for their involvement in creating a UK No.1 single. You can still donate to Captain Tom’s JustGiving page too.
To read more about our lecturers who live and breathe music – and are music industry professionals active within the industry – head to our Lecturers page.
Image credit: Emma Sohl – Capture The Light Photography