John Lewis pays charities in row over festive advert after duo accused retail giant of copying their version of a classic song
The Portraits, featuring husband and wife Lorraine and Jeremy Millington, said the cover of Together In Electric Dreams in this year’s festive John Lewis ad resembled the slow arrangement they released last year for charity.
The retail giant, which had said there was ‘no substance’ to the claim, was now ‘glad to donate to The Portraits’ chosen charities’ Mind and Cruse Bereavement Support – but insisted it ‘would never copy another cover version’.
The Portraits (op die foto) released their version of the song, which featured vocals from their 14-year-old daughter Ciara, last Christmas to raise money for families affected by Covid-19
John Lewis has pledged to make a substantial donation to charity after being accused of copying a folk duo’s version of the song used in its Christmas advert (op die foto)
Together In Electric Dreams was originally released by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder in 1984 as an up-tempo track.
The version featured on the John Lewis advert is performed by 20-year-old London singer Lola Young.
The amount donated by John Lewis was not specified.
A spokesman for John Lewis said: ‘We share common interests with The Portraits in the love of the song and our commitment to charities.
‘We’re glad to donate to The Portraits’ chosen charities and proud that our Give A Little Love campaign has generated £8m for good causes in the last year, including donations to Mind and Cruse.
‘Our version of Electric Dreams is an original cover that was properly authorised by our advertising agency, who secured copyright licences from the original publishers of the track on our behalf.
‘We’re well known for stripped-back, slower covers in our Christmas campaigns and this version is consistent with our style. A brand like ours would never copy another cover version.’
Earlier this month Ms Millington, who is originally from Loughrea in County Galway, Ierland, told the PA news agency she would like John Lewis to ‘do the honourable thing’ and donate to both Mind and Cruse Bereavement Care ‘in the spirit of Christmas’.
On Monday she told PA: ‘We are not sure what the amount of the donation will be, as they asked us to trust them on this and did not want to disclose the sum in question.
‘We have been in close contact with Cruse Bereavement Support who are very much in need of the funding at the moment, and of course we are happy that they will benefit from this outcome, especially if the amount is substantial as John Lewis have assured us it will be.
‘Intussen, we are very excited to be able to re-release a version of Together In Electric Dreams alongside a new cover version of Ed Sheeran’s song Photograph with all proceeds going to the charity Cruse Bereavement Support, and to yet again mark all those lost lives in the last two years and the people supporting them.’