Forgotten Sons

[Track Info] [The Lyrics] [Explanation]

Forgotten Sons - Track Info

1. Album version (08:21)

2. Live (London, England - "Hammersmith Odeon", April 18th '83) (11:35)

3. Live (Leicester, England - "De Montford Hall", March 5th '84) (10:36)

Notes: studio version starts with the sound of a tuning radio, which is absent from live versions. Live version are longer than the studio one, with longer instrumental passages and a long ad-lib finale. They also have a long break between the verses "approach... friend". Fish introduces 3) saying "This is dedicated to all those who fell on a pavement outside Harrods before last Christmas. This is a song for peace".

Lyrics by Derek William Dick (Fish)
Performed Live for the first Time: 26-Jun-81

Published by Marillion Music, Charisma Music Publishing Co. Ltd., Chappell Music Ltd.

Forgotten Sons - The Lyrics

Armalite, street lights, nightsights,
Searching the roofs for a sniper, a viper, a fighter
Death in the shadows he'll maim you, he'll wound you, he'll kill you
for a long forgotten cause, on not so foreign shores,
Boys baptised in war, boys baptised in war

Morphine, chill scream, bad dream
Serving as numbers on dogtags, flakrags, sandbags
Your girl has married your best friend, loves end, poison pen
Your flesh will always creep, tossing turning sleep
The wounds that burn so deep, burn so deep

Your mother sits on the edge of the world when the cameras start to roll
Panoramic viewpoint resurrect the killing fold
Your father drains another beer, he's one of the few that cares
Crawling behind a Saracen's hull from the safety of his living room chair -
Forgotten Sons, Forgotten Sons, Forgotten Sons

And so as I patrol in the valley of the shadow of the Tricolour
I must fear evil, fir I am but mortal and mortals can only die
Asking questions, pleading answers from the nameless faceless watchers
That parade the carpeted corridors of Whitehall
Who orders desecration, mutilation, verbal masturbation in the guarded bureaucratic wombs
Minister, Minister care for your children,
Order them not into damnation
To eliminate those who would trespass against you,
For whose is the kingdom, the power, the glory for ever and ever
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen

- "Halt who goes there!" - " Death!!" - "Approach friend"
You're just another coffin on its way down the emerald aisle
When your children's stony glances mourn
Your death in a terrorist's smile
The bomber's arm placing fiery gifts on the supermarket shelves,
Alley sings with shrapnel detonate a temporary hell
Forgotten Sons, Forgotten Sons

From the dolequeue to the regiment a profession in a flash,
But remember Monday signings when from door to door you dash,
On the news a nation mourns you unknown soldier count the cost,
For a second you'll be famous but labelled posthumous

Ring-a-ring-o-roses, they all fall down,
Ring-a-ring-o-roses, they all fall down
Ring-a-ring-o-roses, Ring-a-ring-o-roses,
Ring-a-ring-o-roses, they all fall down

Forgotten Son, Forgotten Son, Forgotten Son
They're still forgotten, they're still still forgotten
Peace on earth and mercy mild, Mother Brown has lost her child
Just another Forgotten Son

Copyright 1997 Fraser Marshall, Matthew Anderson & Bert ter Steege.


“This is dedicated to all those who fell on a pavement outside Harrods last Christmas. ”
(Intro Forgotten Sons - Real To Reel)
Harrods is an exclusive shop in Knightsbridge, London. On December 17, 1983, an IRA bomb exploded, killing six and wounding many others.

Armalite is an American arms company. They make the M16 - the standard American assault rifle. It is often called the Armalite. It is sometimes believed that they are the standard weapon used by the IRA. This is in fact cack. Most of the IRA's weaponry comes from deals with people like Libya’s Col. Khaddaffi, and is therefore more often of Soviet (CIS) stock.

‘Boys baptised in wars’
Julien Gauthier said: In World War II, when regiments were ready to go to war, they gathered together in front of a priest to get baptised.

Chris Charette said: Soldiers tend to carry a few syringes of morphine with them, in case they get injured. They shoot it so they can endure the pain.

‘poison pen’
A poison pen letter is (nowadays) one which contains bad news, conveyed in an unsympathetic way or abuse often anonymously. I believe that the term comes from an old political practice of using ink which was poisonous and would hopefully kill the receiver!

‘Saracen hull’
Saracens are armoured cars used by the British Army

The Irish Tricolour. P. T. McNiff said:
Green: Catholics (or, the people of the Republic of Eire)
Orange: Protestants (or, the people of Northern Ireland, often called Orangemen)
White: The unity and peace between the two.

Whitehall is a road off Trafalgar Square, but is a generic name for the civil service part of British Government, but the MoD - Ministry of Defence is actually based in Whitehall itself.

Minister is the title given to a Member of Parliament put in charge of a particular portfolio; e.g. Education, Industry, Scotland, Defence etc.; a nice pun on the religious meaning, which is not as obvious as may seem as most British priests are not called Minister although Scotland has many more Ministers than England does.

‘emerald aisle’
The Emerald Isle is another name for Ireland, on account of the lush green grass that grows there.

Dolequeue is the British slang for the unemployed people queuing to receive their benefit payments from the Government.

‘Monday signings’
In the UK, when you are on the ‘dole’, you have to register at the Department of Social Security (DSS) - to get your payment called Social Security Benefit. Anyway, the act of registering is know as ‘signing on’ and takes place once a fortnight. (c.f. ‘Armed with Antisocial Insecurity’ MARKET SQUARE HEROES)

‘Ring-a-ring-o-roses, they all fall down’
An old English nursery rhyme. It came about at the time of the Black Death in the 17th century. The rhyme is:

A pocketful of posies,
Atishoo! Atishoo!
They all fall down!’

The rhyme developed out of the fact that sneezing was the first sign that death by plague was imminent; those who sneezed died! The Rhyme is rarely perceived to be as nasty as it really is; it’s about death!

‘Peace on earth. . . lost her child,’
The whole ‘Peace on earth and Mercy Mild’ is a paraphrase of the carol - ’Hark the Herald Angels Sing'. ‘Knees up Mother Brown’ is an old Cockney dancing/ drinking song - it is a quintessential English name!


Last Modified: 27 Jul 2000