Alarm – Sixty Eight Guns

I saw The Alarm open up for someone and I think it was Dylan in the late eighties. At that time I didn’t know who they were but I liked them right away. I kept up with them after that concert. This song stood out from all the ones they did.

When they first started out…like most rock bands they were rebellious. “Sixty Eight Guns” was their battle cry, a call to arms against the establishment. This attitude was formed in their hometown of Rhyl, North Wales, where they grew up in bleak economic times and fought naysayers who saw no need for another rabble-rousing rock band.

The song was written by bass player Eddie Macdonald and lead singer Mike Peters. Many reviews at the time compared them to U2…also calling them U3 at times. The Alarm gained a huge audience by opening up for…guess who? They opened for U2 on a large 1983 tour. This song was released in 1983 and peaked a #39 on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks and #17 in the UK.

In 1991 The Alarm was doing a concert and lead singer Mike Peters suddenly said “We’ve shared some great moments in time over the last ten years and tonight I would like to thank all the people who have supported me from the beginning to the end. Tonight this is my last moment with the Alarm, I’m going out in a Blaze of Glory – my hands are held up high”…… It would have been nice if he would have shared this little bit of info with his bandmates before the concert!

They did regroup occasionally and they have switched up members but have continued to release albums in the 21st century under the name The Alarm MM++.

Mike Peters: “It was about young people at that difficult age where you’re too cool for school, but not wise enough or eligible enough for adult life, So, it’s about people like that – like I was, once. We hung around on street corners, we started bands, we bought clothes, we identified with each other, and we credit these very bonded groups of individuals. And that’s how the Alarm grew.”

“It was a gang that made The Alarm special, ‘Sixty Eight Guns’ is really the description of the feeling that you could make change for yourself and make your life a better place to be in.”

Sixty Eight Guns

And now they’re trying to take my life away 
Forever young I cannot stay
Hey
On every corner I can see them there
They don’t know my name they don’t know my kind
They’re after you with their promises
(Promises of love)
They’re after you to sign your life away
(Yeah, yeaoh)

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
Oh, the Sixty-eight

Living in the backstreets 
That’s our home from home
The painted walls were all we’ve ever known 
?he Guns Forever’ that’s our battle cry
It is the flag that we fly so high 
For every day they’ll try and drag us down
(Drag us down and down)
I cry with anger I have done no crime
No
(Yeah, yeaoh)

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
The Sixty-eight

Up on the terrace I can hear the crowd roar 
Sixty Eight Guns
And in the subway I can hear them whisper 
Sixty Eight Guns
Through all the raging glory of the years 
We never once thought of the fears 
For what we’d do when the battle cry was over . 
Nothing lasts forever is all they seem to tell you when you’re young 

(I, I do swear
To unbreak the promise
To unbreak the vow

Unbreak it)

When you’re young
Have no illusion, no disillusion

Unbreak the promise
Unbreak the vow
Uphold the promise

SIXTY EIGHT GUNS

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
The sixty eight guns
Sixty eight guns
The sixty eight guns

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

31 thoughts on “Alarm – Sixty Eight Guns”

    1. In the UK more than here as far as hits. I remember them well live…for the life of me I can’t remember who they opened up for…I think Dylan

      Liked by 2 people

  1. they were good, definitely. Also drew comparisons to Simple Minds . this and ‘Rain in the Summertime’ are the two singles I remember clearly by them. I imagine they’d be good to see live, though Bob Dylan seems an odd pairing .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw Jellyfish open for Dylan…so about anything goes with him.
      I did hear this one on the radio the most probably…but once I heard it live…I loved it.

      Like

  2. Good strong band- I can see how they got labeled U3. Teenage boredom and too much energy, and stuck in Rhyl, population 20,000 sorry souls…. Wales, where the constant background to life is the tinkling sound of the rain down the drainpipes and into the gutters. It was join a band and try to sing your way out or curl up and die, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know…I have a Keith Moon bio…and his PA said about the same thing about Wales…sorry souls…that is all I need to know.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, there is also my wife’s familys home town, Dunfermline, Scotland, which we visited on a trip 5 years ago- a bit off geographically, but in the same bleak territory, if you get my meaning. The Dunfermline Tourist Board should have the tag line ‘Come, see, give up all hope.’
        We ran back to the train station.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. lol…give up all hope….Yes I know what you mean…I think the equal is West Virginia in America…my wife is from there. It’s God’s country…and he can have it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good comparison as Wales is coal mining country too. My mom was from N. Wales and talked lovingly of her childhood memories of the area & it’s coastline. But she moved to London quite young, then Canada in her 20s & I think only went back once after that to visit

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t heard their name for years, and I’ve never heard them before. I get Clash vibes off them for sure – vocalist sounds pretty similar to Joe Strummer, even if the music is more arena-rock.

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  5. I remember The Alarm. I remember seeing Rain In The Summertime on video channels and Sold Me Down The River reminds me of Power Station in a way. I don’t remember this song but, I like it! I LOVE that deep guitar in the background. That is the same guitar sound that was in Shelter by Lone Justice. Good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is…seeing them live…I liked it right away. They were really good…like many more…I thought I would have heard more from them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The minute I heard this song, I was hooked by these guys. I remember Declaration and I loved it. Strength came out and I bought that album and it is actually one of my all time favorite albums. So many killer tracks. If it wasn’t for 68 Guns, I might have never gotten in to them.

    Liked by 1 person

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