Robbie Williams claims his signature hit 'Angels' was inspired by an encounter with a ghost
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Robbie Williams claims his signature hit 'Angels' was inspired by an encounter with a ghost

ROBBIE WILLIAMS has revealed his signature hit Angels was inspired by a ghostly encounter from his youth.

According to the 45-year-old singer, he regularly came into contact with the dead as a child.

“When I was a kid I used to talk to dead people,” he told The Sun. “I had lucid dreams. There have been UFOs, one close enough I could throw a tennis ball.

“I used to call them ghosts but I don't anymore as I don't know what they are.”

These unexplained phenomena apparently helped shape his work as a songwriter, particularly when it came to penning his first song, Angels.

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“The very first song I wrote was Angels and it's about actual Angels,” he told The Sun.

“People think it's about my mum or think it's about somebody I loved but it's actually about angels. That's been my biggest hit by far.”

He said: “If it wasn't for my belief or semi belief or trying to understand what it is I see and feel every now and again I wouldn't be where I am.”

Williams previously claimed he wrote Angels with co-writer Guy Chambers in about 25 minutes, while sitting outside a café watching a water fountain.

In 2016, Williams said: "It was the first of our songs that we wrote together. We could tell and hoped and prayed that we got something incredibly special. After we wrote the song ... I hailed a cab down. [The taxi driver] played it and said "that is great, that is, Robbie, 'that is gonne be number one', and you know what: it never was number one."

The claims run contrary to those of Irish singer-songwriter Ray Heffernan who has long asserted that he wrote the first version of Angels, titled Angel Instead in Paris in 1995, after his partner had a miscarriage.

According to Heffernan’s version of events, he met Williams in a pub by chance in Dublin, where he showed him an incomplete version of the song. Later that week they recorded a demo version.

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Williams has confirmed these version of events but has always insisted that he and Chambers rewrote the song significantly.

After learning Angels would appear on Williams’ album Life thru a Lens, Heffernan accepted an offer of from Williams's management to buy the rights to his version of the song for £7,500.

In 2011, Heffernan reflected: "For a long time, I was angry about this, but as you get older you see things differently ... the 'Angels' connection has opened doors to publishing companies and earned me a few quid."

In 2017, Williams defended the decision to pay Heffernan saying: "We could have gone to court, and it all would have been down to whether what way the judge wakes up that day out of bed ... So I gave him some money, and he went away."