1916

I would put this Motorhead tune up against any of the anti-war songs of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs or Ewan MacColl. It’s stunningly good. A slow, minimalist piece, it’s mostly drum and organ, and Lemmy sings it in a sweet voice that’s miles away from his trademark rasp.

16 years old when I went to the war,
To fight for a land fit for heroes.
God on my side, and a gun in my hand,
Chasing my days down to zero.
And I marched and I fought and I bled and I died,
And I never did get any older.
But I knew at the time that a year in the line
Is a long enough life for a soldier.

We all volunteered, and we wrote down our names,
And we added two years to our ages.
Eager for life and ahead of the game,
Ready for history’s pages.
And we brawled and we fought and we whored ’til we stood
Ten thousand shoulder to shoulder.
A thirst for the Hun, we were food for the gun,
And that’s what you are when you’re soldiers.

I heard my friend cry, and he sank to his knees,
Coughing blood as he screamed for his mother.
And I fell by his side, and that’s how we died,
Clinging like kids to each other.
And I lay in the mud and the guts and the blood,
And I wept as his body grew colder.
And I called for my mother and she never came,
Though it wasn’t my fault and I wasn’t to blame.
The day not half over and ten thousand slain
And now there’s nobody remembers our names.
And that’s how it is for a soldier.

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