Alex Horne on his unlikely reggae Angels revamp with Robbie Williams

May 06, 2020

Take That, a record-breaking solo career, duets with Kylie Minogue and Nicole Kidman - now Robbie Williams has embarked on a more unusual musical venture.

In what seems like an unlikely pairing, the chart-topping star has collaborated with comedian Alex Horne, best known for the Taskmaster game show, on a brand new reggae version of his 1997 mega hit Angels.

The song features as part of the singer's appearance in the latest episode of The Horne Section Podcast, a music and comedy podcast which sees the comedian teaming up with a range of different guests.

Horne tells Sky News that recording the track with Williams was the first thing he's been nervous about in years.

"You stop being nervous a bit if you're a performer by profession, but I was terrified," he says. "I don't know why, but my heart was pumping."

The collaboration has been a long time coming but it's thanks to the coronavirus lockdown that it finally happened.

"I suppose there is the odd, nice side effect of this situation, and for me it's the fact that Robbie is at home in LA with nothing to do," says Horne.

"So he's twiddling his thumbs, and we happen to share a saxophonist - the saxophonist in my band also plays with Robbie.

"So we've always tried to get him to do something with us, and this has been the first time that we've all been stationary at the same time."

Horne says it was Mark Brown, their shared saxophonist and mutual friend, who wanted to rework Angels.

"Our saxophonist worked out he'd played it, I think, 1,400 times last year with Robbie's band because of rehearsals and so on.

"So he was determined to do a new version of it, so it's this sort of upbeat reggae version."

Horne says that in terms of the recording session, Williams was a pro.

"Robbie did it in one take and he's got a brilliant voice and absolutely nailed it. I mean, he should know the words by now, but it was a new version and he got it right first time.

"And I don't know about you, there's certain songs I've heard enough of, but this new version I really enjoy, I was glad to say I like it."

:: Listen to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Many musicians will have dreamed of collaborating with an artist of Williams's status and Horne admits it's been hard to get his head around the fact that he can now say he's worked with the record-breaking star.

"The next morning [after recording] I was with the kids and my wife for breakfast and she said, 'Did he do it?' And it was instantly surreal because it felt like it didn't happen because I didn't leave my kitchen.

"So, yeah, it's already one of the most bizarre things that's happened to me."

The Horne Section Podcast featuring Robbie Williams is out today

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