Award winning songwriter releases lost version of hit song in aid of Ukraine

An Edinburgh gran has played a vital role in the release of a charity single to raise funds for those affected by the war in Ukraine.

Lorri Hales was touched by the lyrics of BA Robertson’s previously unreleased version of Silent Running when it started playing on a car playlist while she was driving to visit her grandchildren.

The grandmother was moved to tears by the lyrics, which she said seemed to reflect the situation in Ukraine perfectly.

She was particularly taken by the lyrics “take the children and yourself and hide out in the cellar, by now the fighting will be close at hand”.

Lorri Hales near her home at Gartloch where Lorri heard the song and came up with the idea.

"It struck me that it could be a great way to try to raise money to help people in Ukraine,” said Lorri, adding that it conjured up images in her head of ordinary people whose lives were suddenly being ripped apart.

Lorri’s partner, who is friends with BA Robertson, introduced the pair so Lorri could ask if he would release the song as a special fundraiser for the people of Ukraine.

The following weeks saw BA agree a partnership with Mail Force charity’s Ukraine Appeal and the song is now expected to be released on Friday. All proceeds will go to the charity appeal.

‘Silent Running’ has a long track record as a song that speaks across generations and times.

BA Robertson in live action

Written by BA Robertson and Mike Rutherford, the original version – the first single release by Mike and the Mechanics, through which was a huge global hit, including spending several weeks at number one on the Billboard rock charts in 1986.

There have been several dance and chill-out versions and it appeared on the soundtrack for the film, On Dangerous Ground. A version by Hidden Citizens was also recently used in Assassin’s Creed (Syndicate) video game.

It was also memorably sampled by US rapper Killer Mike. This version strips the song back to its powerful essentials. It was recorded during an Edinburgh Fringe run at The Gilded Balloon, a solo show, with just BA’s voice and piano. The digital single is released with a “B side” - a “Nashville mix” which includes additional instrumentation.

BA Robertson said: “Steve told me how Lorri reacted to the song when she first heard it. She felt it had been written about the Ukraine conflict. I had forgotten about this performance so it was easy to say, ``let's do it.”