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Anthem of Merseyside to be played by BBC orchestra

BBC Radio Merseyside and the BBC Philharmonic need your help to reinvent a great Merseyside song into a new classic.

The song that best symbolises Merseyside – as picked by you – will be covered by an 80-piece BBC orchestra.

You can text, tweet or email your nomination for the “anthem of Merseyside” from today (Friday, June 5).

The winning track will be picked by BBC Radio Merseyside breakfast presenter Tony Snell before being sent to the 80-piece BBC Philharmonic.

They will have just two weeks to write, rehearse and perform the tune, with each musician recording their part from their own home.

It means music from bands like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Real Thing or The La’s could be reimagined into a piece of music which will become part of the local music scene.

Tony Snell said: “This area has had a unique musical sound since ships started sailing up the Mersey.

“You could fill every concert hall in the land and still have tunes to play from the sheer number of brilliant songs from Merseyside musicians. Can’t wait to hear what our listeners come up with! We’ll be spoilt for choice.’

“Let’s find out once and for all: what is the anthem of Merseyside?”

The chosen tune will be played on BBC Radio Merseyside and will be added to the ‘Great Northern Playlist’, made up of the tracks picked from each of the 10 BBC Local Radio areas in the North.

All of the songs will be played by the BBC Philharmonic, which has been serving the North from its base in Manchester for nearly 100 years.

Simon Webb, director of the BBC Philharmonic, said: “We have honed our skills creating lockdown tracks like this for 5Live, 6Music, Radio 3 and Radio 4 but have never attempted something on this scale before. To take ten popular songs, turn them into pieces that dozens of classically trained musicians can play – all while those musicians are stuck in their own homes – is going to be a real challenge.

“But the BBC Philharmonic is no stranger to creative challenges and we can’t wait to get stuck in. For nearly a century we have been playing for audiences across the North – and we’re really pleased to be finding new and exciting ways to serve those same communities during the pandemic.”

Nominations run until midday Thursday (June 11).  The finished song will be played two weeks later on the Breakfast Show.

To submit your nomination:

  • Tweet: @bbcmerseyside using #GreatNorthernPlaylist
  • Facebook: Find us on BBC Radio Merseyside
  • Text: 8133 – start your message with Mersey
  • Email:


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