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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

“I Am the Only One That Got Through”

Radiohead Release New Track - “Harry Patch (In Memory Of)”

You may recall recent news that the last living British World War I veteran, Harry Patch, passed away on July 25th, 2009, at the age of 111. News today that a heartfelt tribute has been paid to Patch by Radiohead, who are offering a download of their song, “Harry Patch (In Memory Of),” for a small fee via their official online store. The download will cost £1 (approx. $1.80), with all proceeds going to the UK veterans' charity the Royal British Legion. It can also be streamed via the BBC.

Thom Yorke was inspired to write the song after hearing an interview with Patch on the radio four years ago, and it was recorded during sessions for a new Radiohead album with regular producer Nigel Godrich. Well worth your time I suggest you seek out this worthy track. The lyrics to "Harry Patch (In Memory Of)" are, in fact, all quotes from Patch himself. They are currently posted at Dead Air Space:

Harry Patch (In Memory Of)

"i am the only one that got through
the others died where ever they fell
it was an ambush
they came up from all sides
give your leaders each a gun and then let them fight it out themselves
i've seen devils coming up from the ground
i've seen hell upon this earth
the next will be chemical but they will never learn"

Yorke has issued the following statement about the song:
Recently the last remaining UK veteran of the 1st world war Harry Patch died at the age of 111. I had heard a very emotional interview with him a few years ago on the Today program on Radio4. The way he talked about war had a profound effect on me. It became the inspiration for a song that we happened to record a few weeks before his death. It was done live in an abbey. The strings were arranged by Jonny. I very much hope the song does justice to his memory as the last survivor.

It would be very easy for our generation to forget the true horror of war, without the likes of Harry to remind us. I hope we do not forget.

As Harry himself said

“Irrespective of the uniforms we wore, we were all victims".


Allison said...

I had not heard of this song. What a great tribute. I will most certainly download when I get home.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Such a poignant and stirring song. And the string arrangements are quite gorgeous. Way to go, Radiohead.

Sean Wraight said...

Allison and Barbara -

I found it to be a wonderful tribute myself. Very stirring. Proof too maybe that Radiohead have begun the idea of releasing something whenever the occasion merits.

Compelling stuff though huh?