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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK
Rock elders aim for chart success
Winifred Warburton. Photo: Danny Clifford
Winifred Warburton, 99, said that recording the song was the best day of her life

A rock band made up of senior citizens is making a bid for chart success to prove that older people have still got what it takes.

The Zimmers - whose lead singer is 90-year-old Alf Carretta - have recorded a unique version of The Who's My Generation, which is released in May.

The 40-strong band, which includes some centenarians, recorded My Generation at the legendary studio two at Abbey Road - the very place where the Beatles recorded most of their hits.


Leading figures from the music industry - including a top U2 producer - have thrown their weight behind the group, which was the brainchild of documentary maker Tim Samuels, who has made a series about disenfranchised groups fighting back.

He has brought together the 40 old people, including pensioners tired of life in old age homes and those suffering from social isolation in their own communities.

"This is about old people sticking it back to the society that has cast them aside," says Samuels.

The Zimmers at Abbey Road. Photo: Danny Clifford
The Zimmers gathered at Abbey Road to record their song

"We wanted to take them on a rock 'n' roll journey that would challenge all our preconceptions of OAPs and give them a great time."

For lead singer Alf Carretta, from London, potential rock stardom at the age of 90 has been unexpected.

"I can't believe this is happening. For me to have recorded a song in the same studio as the Beatles is just so exciting.

"I feel like the whole experience has brought me back to life. I was stuck in a rut and now I feel alive again," adds Alf.

Cult hit

Winnifred Warbuton, aged 99 and from Derby, describes the Abbey Road recording as "the best day in her life". She has moved 16 times to find an old people's home that keeps her stimulated.

The Zimmers' video of My Generation is already starting to become a cult hit on the internet, with tens of thousands of hits on sites including YouTube, while the group have their own page on MySpace.

Tim Samuels. Photo: Danny Clifford
This is about old people sticking it back to the society that has cast them aside
Documentary maker Tim Samuels

The recording has been produced by Mike Hedges, who has worked with U2, Dido, The Cure and the Manic Street Preachers.

"My grandmother died when she was in her nineties and my mother in her late, late seventies and I miss them," he says.

"Old people are highly entertaining to talk to. Their experiences, the things they talk about are just fantastic - really, really exciting. People forget that they know a lot and they've been through a lot."

The video was shot by Grammy-winning director Geoff Wonfor, the man behind Band Aid and Live Aid, who is also a passionate champion of senior citizens.

"I've just always got on well with old people and have a great love and respect for them.

My mother lived to the age of 89 and my father was 92, and I loved them both so much. I did this because it's a really great cause and very close to my heart," adds Mr Wonfor.

Power To The People will be screened on BBC Two in May. My Generation by The Zimmers is released on 21 May.

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