Sunday, January 12, 2014

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Image from the National Library of Australia

This searingly tragic anti-war song by Eric Bogle speaks of the Australian war veterans of the Battle of Gallipoli, World War I. After being issued a "tin hat and...a gun," the young narrator goes to fight against "Johnny Turk." The two sides fight, "stop to bury their slain," then return to the battle.

When the "crippled, the wounded...the legless, the armless, the blind, the insane, those proud wounded heroes of Suvla" return to Circular Quay, fellow Australians turn their faces away. As time goes by, new generations no longer remember the war or the reasons for it.

This ballad has been sung by Liam Clancy, John McDermott, The Pogues, Australian John Williamson and many others.

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