The London band will release their sixth album ‘A Billion Heartbeats’ next Friday (April 3). It features the stirring track ‘Hospital Radio’, which Harrison previously described as an ode to the NHS.
The singer, who was born with spina bifida, was hospitalised before the album’s planned release last September and previously explained that the song reflects the huge role that the NHS has played in his life.
But as the UK steps up its battle against coronavirus, Harrison says that the work of the NHS has proved “invaluable.”
“The song has taken on a whole new meaning,” he told NME. “I’ve always said that the NHS is the closest thing that the whole of Britain has to a religion, and I think that’s never felt more true. Those of us who have spent large periods of time in hospitals in this country will never take them granted.
“But for people who are now relying on them, they have been invaluable,” he said.
However, the song also strikes a cautionary note, with Harrison cautioning against the threat of privatisation.
Describing how it saw him head into protest music for the first time, Harrison explained: “The song came from my own personal experiences, but it was also a gateway into the record. I’ve always written from personal experience, but never thought about writing a protest song. That seemed like something that needed to have jangly acoustic guitars on it.
“But I realised there’s a way of channeling your own discontent and anger into something that can speak to other people’s experience. That song was the first time we managed to do that.”
It comes as the UK prepares to pay tribute to NHS heroes tonight by joining in a mass round of applause from their doorsteps, windows and balconies on Thursday at 8pm.
The Clap For Carers campaign, which started online, is being staged because “during these unprecedented times they need to know we are grateful”.
Landmarks including The Wembley Arch, the Principality Stadium, the Royal Albert Hall and Lincoln Cathedral are set to be lit up in blue during the salute.