Ed Sheeran and Elton John have released their new charity Christmas single and long-awaited first collaboration, ‘Merry Christmas’. 

Written by both Sheeran and John, the collaboration marks the first time the pair have worked together musically, despite having been friends for over a decade.

The duo’s global record and publishing royalties from the track, as well as its sales, will be donated equally between the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation and The Elton John AIDS Foundation.

The track’s music video, which features cameos from Mr Blobby, Jonathan Ross, Big Narstie, Michael McIntyre and The Darkness, sees the cast recreate scenes from classic Christmas videos including Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’, Shakin’ Stevens’ ‘Merry Christmas’, The Snowman’s ‘Walking in the Air’, and East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’.

The single was first announced by Sheeran in an interview with Dutch radio station NPO Radio 2 (via NME).

“Elton rang me on Christmas Day to say Merry Christmas. Elton rings me almost every single day,” Sheeran said. ”

He said, ‘’Step Into Christmas’ is Number 6 in the charts! I want to do another Christmas song – will you do it with me?’”

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Speaking on what to expect from the song, Sheeran said: “It’s just me and him. It’s great.”

Alongside an announcement video inspired by Love Actually, Sheeran wrote on social media: “Last Christmas I received a call from my mate Elton John and he told me we should do a Christmas song, and I replied ‘Yeah maybe in 2022’, but I actually wrote the chorus that day and here we are.”

“Our Christmas song ‘Merry Christmas’ is out this Friday (December 3). It has sleigh bells… a lot of them.”

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Check out ‘Merry Christmas’ by Ed Sheeran and Elton John: