Cover of Cage’s 4’33’’ going for the Christmas No. 1

Group of pop musicians 'perform' Cage’s silent work.


John Cage will be making an unexpected appearance in this year’s Christmas pop charts thanks to a campaign to get a cover of his piece, 4’33’’, to No. 1.


Musicians including Billy Bragg, Imogen Heap and lead singer of The Kooks, Luke Pritchard, are among those who don’t play their instruments or sing for exactly four minutes and 33 seconds on the record, released this week. The American composer’s three-movement score from 1952 asks the performers not to play for the duration of the work.

The campaign has been dubbed ‘Cage Against the Machine’ – a reference to a campaign last year which resulted in a record by rock band, Rage against the Machine, getting to number one.

Before last year’s campaign, winners of the talent show The X Factor had bagged the festive number one, four years in a row. David and Julie Hilliard are the organisers of the campaign and a Facebook group in support of the single now has over 85,000 followers.

Proceeds from the sale of the record will go to four chosen charities: one of which is the British Tinnitus Association. Mr Hudson, one of the pop musicians involved, told BBC Radio 6: ‘When you first hear about it you think it’s a joke. But how often do we have four minutes and 33 second just to think and to listen? And, I think we all know that behind this there is some serious work to be done raising money for charity.’


Elizabeth Davis