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October 12, 2013

Introducing... I Wan'na Be Like You

In this week's Introducing… series we're swinging from the rafters with the third track from Swings Both Ways, I Wan'na Be Like You - a feel-good duet between Robbie and Olly Murs. The song seems to hold a special place in the hearts of both of the boys as it represents some formative firsts in their respective careers.

For Robbie, our very own King Of The Swingers, it’s because the song is best-known for featuring in one of Walt Disney's most popular films.

[It is] from The Jungle Book, the first movie I went to see at the cinema, at the ABC in Hanley.I’m a big fan of Phil Harris who originally sang it. I think he might be lost in the annals of history somewhere, but Phil Harris happened and he was amazing. People should know about him because he’s cool as.

Indeed he was cool and it's easy to see why he was an inspiration to Robbie. Harris was one of America's funniest, edgiest and most versatile radio sitcom performers in the 1930s and '40s. His incredible on-air comedic chemistry with co-star and wife Alice Faye on The Fitch Bandwagon became so popular that the radio program was eventually renamed The Phil Harris - Alice Faye Show. Later in life, Harris carved out a niche voiceover career in Hollywood by seemingly becoming Walt Disney's go-to guy for bear impersonations, voicing Baloo in The Jungle Book (1967) and Little John in Robin Hood (1973).

For Olly Murs, I Wan'na Be Like You represents the beginning of an extraordinary journey which has seen him go full circle with this song, from heartbreak to stardom.

I had no idea, until Olly came in to sing this with me, that he first auditioned for the X Factor with I Wan'na Be Like You and he didn’t get through," explains Robbie. "Not that long later he’s in the studio recording it with me. That’s a lovely side story.

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The Williams / Murs bromance has been heating up for several years now and Olly supported the main man on Robbie's Take The Crown Stadium Tour 2013 this summer. The boys even paired-up for a little mid-set duet together each night, with Olly slipping into Kylie Minogue's shoes and joining Robbie on-stage for a rockier version of Kids. The duo also starred for England against the Rest Of The World XI team at Soccer Aid 2012 in Manchester - all in the name of charity!

I absolutely loved working with Rob on this album. After touring Europe with him this year it seemed only right that we record something together, and I Wan’na Be Like You is such a classic sing-a-long tune. It’s always brilliant when you get to work with your mates!

The track was orginally written by the Sherman Brothers, who wrote more musical song scores than any other songwriting team in the history of the silver screen, including Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Aristocats, as well as The Jungle Book. It was recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and Sarm Studios in London and was produced by Guy Chambers.

Pre-order Swings Both Ways now

Swings Both Ways is released on 18th November. Pre-order the album on iTunes and get the opening track, Shine My Shoes, instantly.

Standard edition: Deluxe edition: