Sunday, March 21, 2010

When The Tigers Broke Free

When The Tigers Broke Free  3:00
Studio recording 1979 

* Released on single 26 July 1982

Written by Roger Waters
Produced by Roger Waters, David Gilmour, James Guthrie, and Michael Kamen

UK: Harvest HAR 5222  Reached #39 in the UK charts
US: Columbia 18-03142

It was just before dawn
One miserable morning in black '44
When the forward commander
Was told to sit tight
When he asked that his men be withdrawn
And the generals gave thanks
As the other ranks
Held back the enemy tanks
For awhile
And the Anzio bridgehead
Was held for the price
Of a few hundred ordinary lives

And kind old King George
Sent Mother a note
When he heard that Father was gone
It was, I recall, in the form of a scroll
With gold leaf and all
And I found it one day
In a drawer of old photographs, hidden away
And my eyes still grow damp to remember
His Majesty signed with his own rubber stamp

It was dark all around
There was frost in the ground
When the Tigers broke free
And no one survived
From the Royal Fusiliers Company C
They were all left behind
Most of them dead
The rest of them dying (echoed)
And that's how the High Command
Took my Daddy from me

Lead vocals: Roger Waters

This is another song, like What Shall We Do Now?, that was written for The Wall album but was left off and later appeared in the film Pink Floyd The Wall. However, whereas What Shall We Do Now? was left off at the last minute, this song, it was decided earlier in the album sessions, was a little 'too personal' for inclusion in a musical story that everyone should relate to.

When the Tigers Broke Free is a faithful retelling of the exact circumstances in which Eric Fletcher Waters, a teacher of physical and religious education and a new father, perished in defense of his country at the battle for the bridgehead of Anzio, Italy in the Second World War. The single was released to promote the film, in which the song appears broken into two parts.

Allied forces landed at Anzio, 30 miles south of Rome, in late January 1944 behind enemy lines. The Allies took heavy casualties rather than retreat, and it was during this early phase of the operation that Eric Fletcher Waters met his end, on 16 February 1944. Fighting continued until the Allies broke through German lines in mid-May, and helped to retake Rome from the enemy on 4 June — after many tens of thousands of men had perished.

The 'Tigers' referred to in the song are German tanks.

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