David Bowie might well sing “I close my eyes and I can fly” on the 2003 Reality album but the RSPB is turning to the artist’s classic Aladdin Sane in a new campaign to raise awareness of the plight of our feathered friends, amid claims that up to 40 million have disappeared from the UK’s skies in half a century.
As part of the campaign to promote the charity’s campaign, the front cover of Aladdin Sane, released in 1973, shows Bowie replaced by a man with a birds head, while the Beatles album Abbey Road image is replaced by four bird-headed people using the zebra crossing.
Meanwhile, the Queen II artwork sees Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon switched for four feathered fowl posing against a darkened background. There are also versions of Abba and Fleetwood Mac covers.
And, in an effort to appeal to the youth of today, Ariana Grande’s Yours Truly and George Ezra’s Staying at Tamara’s also have bird versions.
The campaign coincides with the release of song “Let Nature Sing”, composed using birdsong from endangered and common UK species. It was put together with sounds from more than 100 birds by the Globe theatre’s musical director Bill Barclay and the Mercury-prize-nominated folk artist Sam Lee.
As many as 56% of the country’s birds are in decline, according to the charity, with one in ten animals already critically endangered.
RSPB director of conservation Martin Harper said: “The signs are all around us that something is not right, that nature is falling silent and you only need to stop and listen to find the beautiful bird song that should be the background music to our life is absent.
“But no one is talking about the crisis facing wildlife and nature in the UK. We all need to start talking about this, and the Let Nature Sing track is a good starting point as it perfectly highlights the music we risk losing.
“Wildlife and our natural world can recover, it can be saved for future generations, but we need more people to talk about the issue and how much something as simple and wonderful as bird song means to each of us. Because if we do not start talking about the threats facing nature the inspiration behind so much of our music, poetry and literature may go silent.’
The track can be bought for 99p on Amazon and iTunes and the RSPB wants it to still be on the charts in time for International Dawn Chorus day on May 5.
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