• The Songaminute Man, Ted McDermott, has got a record deal after his YouTube videos went viral. (Facebook/The Songaminute Man)Source: Facebook/The Songaminute Man
40 million people (and counting) have watched the viral videos of this Alzheimer's patient crooning in the car.
By
Alyssa Braithwaite

20 Sep 2016 - 2:52 PM  UPDATED 20 Sep 2016 - 3:01 PM

When Simon McDermott encouraged his 80-year-old father Ted McDermott to sing along to old classics in the car to help him cope with his Alzheimer's disease, neither of them had any idea it would lead to a prestigious record deal.

Since being diagnosed with the disease in 2013, the British pensioner has difficulty recognising his own son, but the one-time club vocalist is able to remember the words to several songs.

Singing together in the car as Simon drove him around Blackburn, in the north of England, made him feel like himself again - relaxed, full of life, happy and content.

Simon started posting videos of his father's car karaoke to YouTube to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer's Society, which proved to be a big hit online, racking up 40 million views online and raising £114,000 (AUD$197,000) in the process.

Decca Records noticed and wrote to McDermott - who performs as Teddy Mac - inviting him to London to record a few songs.

Next thing the pensioner was singing with the Guy Barker Orchestra in the iconic Abbey Road Studios, recording tracks including "You Make Me Feel So Young" and "Quando Quando Quando".

"This is a dream come true not only for Dad, but for the entire family," says Simon.

"There have been some really tough days in the last few years, especially for Mum. The more Alzheimer’s kicked in, the more Dad became aggressive, both physically and verbally. It was incredibly difficult to manage and terrifying at times.

"We threw an 80th birthday party last month and thought that would be his last time singing solo for people, so it’s amazing to think he now has a single coming out. And it’s great to help Alzheimer’s Society, who provide so much support to other families going through the same things as us."

McDermott, who has sung all his life as a Butlin's Redcoat and in clubs around England, has been dubbed the "Songaminute Man", and already has a website and Facebook page.

And soon he'll have a record out. McDermott's recording of "You Make Me Feel So Young", famously sung by Frank Sinatra, will be available for digital download on September 23, with proceeds split between the Alzheimer's Society and the McDermott family.

"We're aiming for Number One - if we reach that then we'll have a chance of recording a full album hopefully in time for Christmas!" Simon said.

Alexander Van Ingen, executive producer at Decca, said the recording captured Teddy Mac's energy and passion.

"Teddy's voice is truly remarkable for any singer, let alone one 80 years of age," he said. "It's a captivating sound, full of character and experience. You can hear the worldly understanding of a lifetime."

Coming just before World Alzheimer's Day on September 21, Alzheimer's Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said they were grateful for the money raised by the single, which would be used to help fund services like the UK's National Dementia Helpline.

"We know music can have a positive impact on people affected by dementia and that favourite songs or pieces of music can also be powerful prompts for reminiscence," he said.

"This is clearly the case when Teddy sings and is transported back to his time as an entertainer. Teddy's story shows life doesn't end when dementia begins, and you can fulfill your dreams even after a dementia diagnosis.

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