One man's moving tribute to his fellow veterans on D-Day has rocketed to the top of Amazon's singles chart, beating out pop artists like Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and Calvin Harris.
Jim Radford wrote "The Shores of Normandy" as a way to remember his fallen brothers in arms. Radford was just 15 years old when he served as a galley boy in the British Navy in World War II and was one of the thousands of Allied soldiers who helped in the June 6, 1944 invasion to liberate France from the Nazis.
"I was 15 years old and I was on my very first trip to sea. I went to sea straight from school, Easter 1944," Radford told the Normandy Memorial Trust.
The death and destruction Radford saw that day stayed with him.
"As we got closer, you could see the bodies, dead and wounded men. In the water, dead men, on the beach, dead men and wounded men being cared for. So it was fairly clear to us all that we were in a nightmare situation," Radford said.
Radford said it took 25 years before he made it back to Normandy.
"It wasn't until I went back and saw the children playing on the beach that I was sort of overwhelmed with recollections of what I'd seen and sort of moved to tears by the contrast, as a lot of veterans were," Radford told the Trust.
He decided to put pen to paper and share his story through his favorite medium: folk music.
After people had read the memoirs of commanding officers from that day, Radford said, he figured "they won't be interested in the memories of a 15-year-old galley boy, but they will listen to a song because a song is about—well, it tells a story, but it's about feeling."
But while Radford had written other songs quickly, it took him a long time to put what he had seen in Normandy into words and feel comfortable singing in public "because it was such a powerful, emotional recollection for me. To my surprise, it had a similar effect on other people."
Now, Radford is working with the Normandy Memorial Trust to help raise money for a permanent memorial to those who gave their lives. Radford hopes it will serve as a reminder of the sacrifices those people made for freedom, and the importance of peace.
"The Shores of Normandy" is also available for download via the Normandy Memorial Trust website.