A YORKSHIRE doctor behind the Band-Aid style NHS 70th birthday charity hit today told how they got its star-studded line-up - just like the song's title, With A Little Help From My Friends.
Leeds born Dr Katie Rogerson, who helped to mastermind the project with NHS communications manager Joe Blunden, says the big names came out in force because the NHS has touched all their hearts.
Paul McCartney gave his blessing to record The Beatles classic.
The rest followed - an astonishing list of pop and rock's who's who - to form the NHS Voices including Engelbert Humperdinck, Nile Rodgers, Sting, Ozzy Osbourne, Louis Tomlinson, Tony Hadley, Elbow singer Guy Garvey, Beverley Knight, Rick Astley, Gabrielle, UB40, Squeeze, Seal, Alexandra Burke, Marina and the Diamonds and Louisa Johnson.
DOWNLOAD: Get the NHS Voices charity song With A Little Help From My Friends from iTunes, Amazon or Google Play - CLICK HERE.
The track is also available to stream from Spotify and other major music providers.
All proceeds are going to NHS Charities Together, a group of more than 130 charities to improve the experience of patients.
WATCH: Check out the music video for NHS Voices song With A Little Help From My Friends, embedded on our YouTube player - or CLICK HERE.
Others performing on the track include Aston Merrygold, Blue, Coleen Nolan, Danny Jones, Dennis Greaves, Mark Feltham and Ben Willis from Nine Below Zero, Gary Stringer from Reef, HRVY, Mark King, Myleene Klass, Tom Smith from Editors, Una Healy, Jack and Tim of Britain’s Got Talent,
They sing along with Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, porters and administrators, first featured on Gareth Malone's TV programme Sing While You Work, who had a 2015 Christmas number one with A Bridge Over You.
Forces sweetheart icon 101-year-old Dame Vera Lynn also helped with spoken words of support and Roald Dahl books illustrator Sir Quentin Blake even produced the cover art work.
It was recorded at London's legendary Abbey Road Studios and produced by US superstar Timbaland and Grammy nominated producer Jon Cohen.
The song is just out and on its way up the charts.
But children's doctor Katie, aged 34, also an accomplished jazz singer who runs projects for the NHS choir, says most importantly it is a morale boosting song - recognising and celebrating the health service on its landmark birthday - while putting a smile on the faces of the the country's 1.3 million health workers.
The track was also put together with the help of other health workers including Caroline Smith, David Cocke and Scott Bartlett.
Katie, from Roundhay, who studied at Notre Dame Sixth Form College and now works at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, said: "We had music stars from across all seven decades of the NHS
"And how ready these older artists were to come on board. They weren’t craving attention; they didn’t need the cash, and they weren’t seeking the limelight.
"As soon as they were asked to help, they came forward willingly: septuagenarians, octogenarians, nonagenarians and even a centenarian, all of their contributions really touching the heart. And they did so, because the NHS had, along the way, also touched theirs.
"This was why myself and Joe Blunden decided, some months ago, to try to bring a bit of 1940s optimism and positivity back to the NHS, and, with a bit of luck, to put smiles on the faces of some at least of the 1.3 million colleagues working with us in the service today.
"We decided to do it with voices and a song. But, not just any old voices, and not just any old song. This was to be a special project, and we called it, perhaps, in retrospect, a tad unimaginatively, NHS Voices.
"It was not just stay-at-home Brits who responded.
"One evening I took a call from Beverley Hills to say Engelbert Humperdinck would love to do this. That he owes a lot to the UK’s National Health Service. I was in shock.
"We arranged to record him live from Capitol Studios in Hollywood. I watched on from London via Skype as this music legend from my childhood chose to sing for the NHS then do a very special piece to camera.
"He carefully unfolded a piece of paper, looked down the Skype camera at me and said 'I am gonna read this little bit that I have written because I want what I am saying to be perfect’.
"He talked about being 12 when the NHS was formed and how he had been kept in hospital with tuberculosis for a prolonged period. Then he spoke of the impact of ill health on families like his own. About his wife, who had suffered from Alzheimer’s for 10 years and been treated by the NHS. ‘It takes a very special person’ he said, to face the revolving door each and every day to mend, heal and take care of all, and it takes a special organisation to keep those doors revolving’.
"I wanted to give him a hug.
"I then took a call from Sir Quentin Blake to do our cover. Blimey, I could have hugged him too. Within hours I had in my hands an original Quentin Blake. It looked stunning. And it had with it a note, saying, inter alia, ‘I admire the NHS as the symbol of a national sense of community which we need to preserve, not least from the self serving opportunists who would be happy to see it dismantled’.
"Then, lastly, came our centenarian, Dame Vera Lynn. At 101 years of age she apologised that she was not able to sing a line of McCartney’s song but instead had sent us a voice recording.
"In the recording she said, ‘We are so fortunate to have the NHS. It doesn’t force you to make choices between your health, and your financial ability. I am so sorry I can’t perform on the record, however, I send my very best wishes to you and all those involved… This is my offering to kick off seven decades of music and seven decades of healthcare. Happy Birthday, NHS’.
Katie also spoke of ancestral family heartbreak caused by health issues before the NHS but since consigned to the history books.
Her great aunt died young of diptheria and her grandfather's aunt, diagnosed with cancer, took her own life by walking into a river with stones in her pockets - so as not to become a burden on her poor mining family.
Katie said: "I am pleased to to record, 70 years on, that I have not known anyone in the UK take their life because of worry about treatment costs; nor, happily, have I ever seen a child die needlessly of diptheria, a disease now virtually eradicated here thanks to our comprehensive immunisation programmes.
"My grandma was an enthusiastic supporter of the establishment of a national health service. Her face in a photo I treasure exudes optimism.
"I am proud to be a grandchild of such forebears and proud to work today as a children’s doctor in an NHS hospital.
"Of course, no one would seek to pretend that all is currently well with our NHS.
"I feel though that we need to step back, more regularly than we do, not just to recognise but also to celebrate what a health service, free at the point of delivery, has meant for so many individuals and families like my own since the inception of the service in 1948."