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Video pleas pay off as band agree to play wedding
IT took 461 daily pleas on video, but James Bishop was willing to do anything to get his favourite band to play at his wedding.
And after bombarding US group Hanson with online video messages since February last year, the 26-year-old from Abingdon finally had a response.
Hanson became famous worldwide as teenagers 15 years ago, when their song MMMBop went to number one in 27 countries, including the UK.
The band, made up of three brothers, said Mr Bishop’s determination was “inspirational”, but they could not make the wedding.
Instead they pledged to pay for Mr Bishop and his fiancee Jennie Tripp, 26, to see them perform in Jamaica on an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in January.
And now Mr Bishop’s biggest challenge – especially after telling the Oxford Mail – is stopping his fiancee from finding out before the July 28 wedding in Oxford.
He said: “I really want to keep it a secret but I am also dying to tell her.”
But Mr Bishop is hopeful his fiancee’s friends and relatives know to save the surprise for the wedding day. Last year he even had to start a fight with her to stop her listening to a call from a national radio station who wanted to talk to him about the campaign.
He said: “I had to instigate an argument with her to make her go to bed. I really had to take one for the team.”
The former Abingdon School pupil was helped by pal Chris Douch, 26, to record a video message every day and send it directly to the band on YouTube.
The pair, who work as a comedy double act, followed the band around on their UK tour and wrote to their local newspaper in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Their campaign was even mentioned to the band on Brazilian television.
Mr Bishop said: “It was just a constant barrage. We built up a bit of a rapport as well as scaring them a bit.”
In the band’s reply on YouTube last month, drummer Zac said: “It’s kind of inspirational really,” before keyboard player Taylor added: “And very motivated.”
Zac added: “We can’t play the wedding and we don’t play weddings. But what if we gave them a really nice gift?”
The band’s eighth album Shout It Out came out in 2010.
Mr Bishop and Mr Douch started listening to them when they worked in Oxford’s branch of WH Smith as teenagers. And when Mr Bishop met Jennie they both came to love the music.
Mr Bishop said he wasn’t disappointed the band could not play at the wedding.
He said: “It’s an amazing prize – in some ways this was better because they won’t take away from the wedding and Jennie will be the main attraction.”
Former King Alfred’s School pupil Mr Douch, 26, of Smiths Wharf, Wantage, said the project had taken over their lives.
He said: “We always thought that if we pushed hard enough and we didn’t give up that eventually something would come from it. It’s a big relief to get it out the way now.”