Single release for Crisis. Streets of London performed by Ralph McTell, Crisis Choir & Annie Lennox

‘Streets of London’ 50 years on: Ralph McTell, Crisis Choir and guest vocalist Annie Lennox re-release iconic hit in time for Christmas

Single released 4 December to raise money for homelessness as charity turns 50

 To download the track for 99p click here:

Legendary singer-songwriter, Ralph McTell, has re-recorded his timeless song, ‘Streets of London’, with a choir made up of clients from Crisis – the national charity for homeless people – and guest vocalist Annie Lennox, to raise money for the cause in the run up to Christmas. 

First penned 50 years ago, the classic single shares its birthday with Crisis, whose 50th anniversary also falls this December.

To mark the occasion, Crisis’ homeless clients and staff from across the country came together to form an 88-strong choir to sing alongside McTell and guest vocalist Lennox. The choir was conducted by Only Men Aloud’s Tim Rhys-Evans, while the recording also features Fairport Convention’s Richard Thompson on guitar.

One of the most recorded songs of all time, ‘Streets of London’ has been covered by over 200 artists including Cat Stevens and Glen Campbell. The song has long been associated with homelessness, with its lyrics speaking of lonely figures walking through Surrey Street Market in Croydon, where Crisis now has a centre. The latest version is an emotional gem, featuring lush orchestration and soaring choral harmonies alongside McTell’s trademark baritone. 

The single is being released to raise money for Crisis and help support some of the thousands of people facing homelessness this Christmas, many of whom will have nowhere to turn as the winter months close in. As well as opening 13 centres for over 4,000 homeless guests over Christmas, the charity works year-round to help people out of homelessness, as well as campaigning for changes that will end homelessness once and for all. 

Ralph McTell said:

“It’s 50 years since I wrote Streets of London and it saddens me that the issues raised in the song are still so relevant today. When the idea of a single to support Crisis was mooted, I was very pleased that it might help raise awareness of the charity’s work and the wider issue of homelessness. I have been performing a Christmas concert in aid of Crisis for a few years now; inspired by its commitment to improving the circumstances of so many.

“I was also thrilled that the wonderful Annie Lennox was prepared to lend her voice to a new recording, and when I discovered that Crisis had its own choir, it offered the perfect opportunity to create a new and exciting version of a song so many people know.”

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said:

“Our heartfelt thanks go to Ralph McTell, Annie Lennox and all Crisis clients and staff who lent their voices to this record. The vital funds and awareness it will raise will help us support even more people facing homelessness this Christmas.  

“It’s 50 years since Crisis was founded as an urgent response to an unacceptable situation – and it’s nothing less than a tragedy that we are still here today when homelessness should be a thing of the past.

“This collaboration between our clients and Ralph McTell can help us to raise awareness of the similar crisis we’re facing 50 years on. But homelessness isn’t inevitable and we’ll continue to work to ensure we won’t be needed in another 50 years’ time.”


The full Streets of London track, music video, and a suite of high res images of the recording day are available upon request. For any of the above content, interviews with Ralph McTell, a Crisis spokesperson or Crisis client please contact the Crisis media team. 

To download the track for 99p click here:

Notes to editors

  • Streets of London by Ralph McTell featuring the Crisis Choir with guest vocalist Annie Lennox will be released on 4 December
  • The track was recorded at Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios in Chiswick on 26 July 2017
  • The video was filmed on location at British Grove Studios and at Crisis UK’s headquarters and features members of the Crisis Choir and Ralph McTell.
  • The Crisis Choir was conducted by Tim Rhys-Evans of Only Men Aloud
  • The recording features Richard Thompson of Fairport Convention
  • The original Streets of London was written in 1967 but wasn’t released until 1974, when it rocketed to number two in the charts at Christmas, selling 90,000 copies in a day at one point.
  • Since 1974 it has been covered by artists as varied as Cat Stevens, Cilla Black, Glen Campbell and Sinead O’Connor.

About Crisis

Crisis is the national charity for homeless people. We are determined to end homelessness. We do it person by person and by influencing policies to ensure everyone has a place to call home. 

Homelessness is devastating, leaving people vulnerable and isolated.  Crisis offers ground breaking housing, health, education and employment services.  We work with thousands of homeless people across the UK every year.  

We are determined campaigners. We draw on our research, partnerships and years of experience of working directly with homeless people to deliver change and a vision to end homelessness for good. 

Crisis’ 50th Anniversary

This December marks Crisis’ 50th anniversary. 50 years ago this month, campaigners, community groups and politicians from all walks of life came together to stand against the growing homelessness crisis. 50 years on, we’re pulling together everything that’s needed to end homelessness for good.

December is also when Crisis opens its doors to thousands of homeless people up and down the country as part of Crisis at Christmas.

Homelessness is rising due to soaring living costs, a shortage of affordable housing and changes to the welfare system, leaving thousands to sleep rough on our streets this Christmas – and even more living in unsafe, insecure accommodation. 

That’s why Crisis at Christmas is so vital – it provides a lifeline for homeless people across Britain, offering a bed, three hot meals and vital services to guests who would otherwise be left on the streets. 

Contact: Crisis media team on 020 7426 3854, or 07973 372587 (out of hours) or Sue Harris at Republic Media – 020 3213 0135

December 4, 2017 1:49pm ET by Republic Media  

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