Big Country – In A Big Country

When I first heard this song in the 80s…the first thing I thought of was BIG…not because of the name. The song came out of the radio like an elephant. The drums and the sound were so huge. This is a song that I liked…and sometimes that was dicey in the 80s. Dave from A Sound Day talks about the bass player and the band here.  I have to credit Dave for making me take a look at the 80s again and many times being surprised at what I did like during my teenage decade…or missed

Steve Lillywhite produced this track. This came at a time when he was emerging as one of the top producers in the business, known for his work with Peter Gabriel and U2. His impact on this song included delaying the chorus until after the second verse, adding the bagpipe guitar break, and having Adamson sing the bridge an octave higher. When he first heard the demo, he was reportedly moved to tears

This is a song that MTV helped quite a bit. I heard it on the local rock station at the time but MTV played it on rotation. The network ignored the group’s next US single, Fields of Fire, which tanked their efforts in America.

This song’s working title was “Stay Alive.” Big Country’s booking agent John Giddings suggested that the name be changed to In A Big Country. The song peaked at #3 in Canada, #17 in the Billboard 100, #17 in the UK, and #34 in New Zealand.

In 1999 they released their last album with lead singer Stuart Adamson called Driving to Damascus but without much success.

Adamson moved to Nashville in the mid-1990s, where he met country music singer/songwriter Marcus Hummon, and together they released an alternative country studio album as The Raphaels in 2001.

Big Country disbanded in 2000, Adamson became a country singer/songwriter, but got depressed after his second marriage collapsed. His wife declared him missing in November 2001 and the following month on December 16 he was found hanged in a hotel room in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Steve Lillywhite: “The music I felt wasn’t like the music I had grown up hearing, or rather, not like any one of them. It was all of them jumbled up and drawn into something I could understand as mine. I found I could play this music and connect the guitar directly to my heart. I found others who could make the same connection, who could see the music as well as play it.”

In A Big Country

I’ve never seen you look like this without a reason
Another promise fallen through
Another season passes by you
I never took the smile away from anybody’s face
And that’s a desperate way to look
For someone who is still a child

In a big country dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive, here we go

I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can’t stay here with every single hope you had shattered
I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert
But I can live and breathe
And see the sun in wintertime

In a big country dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

In a big country dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

So take that look out of here it doesn’t fit you
Because it’s happened doesn’t mean you’ve been discarded
Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming
Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted
I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can’t stay here with every single hope you had shattered, see ya
I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert
But I can live and breathe
And see the sun in wintertime

In a big country dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive
Ha, ha

In a big country dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

In a big country dreams stay with you
Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

29 thoughts on “Big Country – In A Big Country”

  1. Ok, so after some “research” we got Bad Company, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Talk Talk, Porno For Pyros, Pennywise, Bad Religion, Iron Maiden, and Kool and the Gang. The only song in here that might be their biggest hit is Bad Company. (It probably is because it’s the only Bad Company song they play on the radio every 10 minutes) I honestly didn’t know a few of the others existed, and how in the hell are you gonna fit “Kool and the Gang” into a chorus?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is great stuff….I wish I would have thought of that topic for a post lol. Yea Kool and the Gang would not come up in many lyrics.
      The only other one I can think of is The Monkees theme but it was more of a theme song.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. oh ya, LOL, your other post today fits the description (although not their BIGGEST hit), the Monkees. And Wang Chung took a shot at it with “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” with its dubious “everybody wang chung tonight” in the chorus

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve always wondered how they managed to make the guitars sound a bit like bagpipes…. They’re from my home town, though I prefer Adamson’s earlier band The Skids. More punk, less ‘eighties’ : )

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I am jealous…the only place we have that is famous in Nashville is The Ryman. It doesn’t have the rock and roll history though.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. First, thanks for the mention and link! Great song and great description … I love the coming at you like an elephant suggestion. There’s some sort of pedal, a type of “pitch transposer” that Adamson used to get the bagpipes effect … for several years I actually thought it was bagpipes!
    It was a great type of sound stuck in the early-80s and stuck in the “celtic” lands… Wales had the Alarm, Ireland, U2 and Scotland had both these guys and Simple Minds (who went through a phase of that BIG, arena-ready anthemic sound). Odd thing is I can’t think of an equivalent from England.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love the layers and the textures in this one, the roundel lyrics, and yes the bagpipes in the pauses. I agree this is a BIG sound and I’m not sure any other band sounds quite like this. It’s too bad they got dropped by the bigwigs along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember seeing this video a lot, with them riding four-wheelers. Not only was it on MTV, it also go a lot of play on TBS’s Night Tracks and Friday Night Videos on NBC. It was a great, roaring song. I always wondered what happened to them.

    Liked by 1 person

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