FOUR councillors have united in song to boost a fund aimed at saving a community’s precious green space from a major housing development.
The novel idea to record the classic Sixties hit ‘Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me’ was the brainchild of Paul Errock, a member of the Save Our Valleys committee.Paul, a singer with the Million Billion Band for 10 years, deliberately chose to record the 1960s hit because it was non-political.
And together with the ‘fab four’ – opposing political parties on Oldham Council and Saddleworth Parish Councils – they have formed a group, The Councillors.
The quartet is: Stephen Hewitt (Labour), Sam Al-Hamdani (Liberal Dem), Jamie Curley (Conservative), Duncan Goodman (Independent) and Paul (Proud of Oldham and Saddleworth).
After an initial consultation with the Performing Rights Society (PRS) Paul was granted a worldwide music licence, contracted to Concord Music Group in Nashville, Tennessee, to re-release the single, originally recorded by The Tams in 1964.
Paul said: “I have always loved Tamla Motown music and the song is non-political.
“My ambition was to unite all political parties and actually put differences to one side and do something together for the good of the community and the constituents.
“Currently, our SOV fund stands at £22,000 towards legal fees estimated at £44,000 to mount the challenge at a judicial review.
“I told the publishing group we were to raise £22,000 in order to Save The Valley, which is the last countryside and wildlife habitat of its type in our community.”
He then received a call from Los Angeles who commented: “You got Republicans and Democrats to sing on the same song for the local environment? Gee, that’s great!”
Paul said: “I explained we had different names for the parties here and to my amazement, they granted us worldwide music license copyrighted to Concorde Music Group.”
The councillors filmed a video shoot at Film Studios, Rochdale, and after intense days in the editing suite, the release date planned for Friday, November 1.
Cllr Hewitt said: “It started as a joke. I agreed thinking it was a nice idea but never expected it to happen.
“Paul worked really hard and got two years exclusive rights from Concord Music Group.
“The other borough and Parish Councillors agreed and we did it for fund raising for SOV.”
Saddleworth South Ward councillor Jamie Curley, who is also chair of Saddleworth Parish Council, said: “We are showing a united front to bring attention to the Save Our Valleys campaign and the wider issue of protecting our green spaces.
“And in addition, showing that, believe it or not, we do not take ourselves too seriously.
“Hopefully, we will raise some money for the campaign.
“Who knows, you may see The Councillors challenging for the Christmas number one spot.”
Paul added: “What makes our campaign different from many others, is we are funding a legal challenge that will stop the loss of much cherished countryside and wildlife habitat, which is disappearing at an alarming rate here in Saddleworth, Oldham and the UK.
“This is the chance for people to make a real difference. Donate £1 or more via BACS and send the video on to 10 friends of have similar views, and we can get the additional £22,000 our Judicial Review legal costs require.”
The video, with bank details, will be available on You Tube, Facebook, Instagram and other social media channel from Friday November 1.