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Pop stars release song to raise funds for London fire victims

A total of 79 people died in the fire, which swept through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower on June 14th.

Members of the emergency services watch as Grenfell Tower is engulfed by fire on June 14, 2017 in west London. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Some of the biggest names in British music, including Stormzy, Robbie Williams and The Who, released a charity single on Wednesday to raise funds for people affected by the fire at a tower block in west London.

The song, a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, also features performances from Leona Lewis, James Blunt and a large choir made up of local people, some of whom survived the blaze.

A total of 79 people died in the fire, which swept through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower on June 14th. Many people are still unaccounted for and authorities have suggested that the death toll will continue to rise as rescue workers continue to search.

The single is an initiative of pop impresario and TV talent show judge Simon Cowell.

In a departure from the original version of the song, Cowell's version opens with grime artist Stormzy rapping: "That could have been me up there / waving my white plain tee up there", a reference to people trapped in the blaze.

Reaction to the song on social media was generally positive, with Twitter user Sarah Styles saying the song was "absolutely beautiful", while user Amy Elizabeth said the song left her "covered in goosebumps".

The song was made available for sale and radio play on Wednesday and Cowell tweeted that a video would premiere on British television that evening. All proceeds from the song are to go to the London Community Foundation.

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Cowell has also donated £100,000 to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The 57-year-old music mogul was left feeling "angry and upset" when he saw footage of the shocking inferno and was driven to do more than just hand over some cash in order to help those affected by the tragedy.

Discussing the inspiration behind his star-studded charity single which is released on Wednesday he said: "I felt how everyone felt when they saw the news. I was angry, upset, thinking what the hell do you do?"

"It's not far from where I live, so when I drove up there, and you saw this tower, it wasn't great. And that's when you decide that maybe we could do something to help. You kind of think, what can I do? Do you donate some money and I was thinking, well maybe we could do a little more than that and that's how the record came about.

"I have to put my money where my mouth is. In all the years of doing this, I have never felt so emotional. It was unbelievably powerful and sincere."

Cowell revealed it took around 12 hours to choose the song because he felt the track had the appropriate lyrics.

He told the Mirror Online: "It is a great song to send out a message of support and once we decided on that, we had to get the artists."

While the X Factor boss was appalled by the tragic fire, he has been heartened by the sense of community displayed and how much people have wanted to help the victims.

He said: "The one word that comes to mind is community. I'm currently up in Liverpool and people are talking about it here and wherever you are around the country.

"Even Nile Rodgers, legendary record producer, he turned up because he heard about it so it is not just a British thing or a London thing. It is a worldwide thing. And like I've said before, it was avoidable."

It took just three days to pull the record together and Cowell is very proud of what they have produced.

He said: "When I heard the record, it is extraordinary. It is very personal, emotional, it means something, it is sincere and it intends to do, what we decided to do, raise money and show support."