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John Lewis Christmas advert 2019: REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin said he had not heard of the shop before the campaign

The songwriter behind this year’s John Lewis advert has admitted he had not heard of the shop before the festive campaign was released.

Can’t Fight This Feeling, written by Kevin Cronin of US band REO Speedwagon, was recorded by Bastille singer Dan Smith for the department store’s first joint Christmas campaign with Waitrose.

The advert features a young dragon called Edgar who almost derails festivities in his fire-breathing excitement.

But Cronin has said he was not familiar with John Lewis or the anticipation that surrounds its annual festive advert before his song was used.

No clue: US star Kevin Cronin had not heard of John Lewis before (Gary Gershoff / Getty)

“I can’t say that I did (know about John Lewis) and I’ve spent some time over in the UK, we have toured there a number of times,” he said.

“We were there for five weeks the year before last and we were there at Christmas time too.

“We toured the whole month of December 2016 with Status Quo and it was so much fun being in the UK at Christmas time because every city that we went to was decked out with holiday decorations and I really got a taste of how Christmas is celebrated in England and Scotland.

“People really get into it over there, which I loved, so I’m surprised that I wasn’t aware of the John Lewis thing because every day, when I’m in cities that I’m not all that familiar with, I like to just get out and walk around, especially in the UK.

“If I’m playing in Manchester that night, I want to experience Manchester during the day, if I’m playing in Liverpool, wherever I am, I want to feel it so I can bring some of that vibe into the performance, and this year was the first time the John Lewis advert was brought to my attention and the amount of anticipation and excitement that is generated by this annual Christmas advert is pretty remarkable.”

Bastille: Dan Smith sang a cover version of the song for the advert (Getty)

Cronin, who has recorded his own Christmas music – the album Not So Silent Night … Christmas With REO Speedwagon – said it was an “honour” to have his track used, adding: “As a songwriter there is no better compliment than having a great singer cover one of your songs.”

Ahead of the advert’s release, John Lewis and Waitrose teams told the Standard that despite Edgar not being the initial concept, it was the favourite of the stories pitched and the one that came together in the end.

Filming took place in August, and when asked if John Lewis feels pressure to come up with an iconic ad year on year, they said: “It’s a nice pressure to have, and we love that the British public love it as much as we do.”

With reporting from Press Association.


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