As a tribute to the July 25 passing of Britain's last First World War vet, Harry Patch, at the age of 111, Radiohead have surprised the public by releasing a new downloadable single, appropriately titled "Harry Patch (In Memory Of)." Just a day before Patch's funeral, the tune is now available to download for £1.00 (about $1.82 CDN) at the band's music store, with all proceeds going to the Royal British Legion.
Although the late Patch was known for avoiding the media, he agreed to an interview with BBC Radio 4 a few years before his death. This interview became the inspiration for the song and moved Thom Yorke to write the Radiohead track a few weeks before the Passchendaele soldier's subsequent death.
On the band's Dead Air Space website, Yorke commented on the new song, writing: "It was done live in an abbey. The strings were arranged by Jonny [Greenwood]. I very much hope the song does justice to his memory as the last survivor."
Yorke added that he thinks it is important for future generations to remember the "horror" caused by war. "It would be very easy for our generation to forget the true horror of war, without the likes of Harry to remind us. I hope we do not forget," he wrote.
"Harry Patch (In Memory Of)" lyrics:
I am the only one that got through
The others died where ever they fell
It was an ambush
They came up from all sides
Give your leaders each a gun and then let them fight it out themselves I've seen devils coming up from the ground
I've seen hell upon this earth
The next will be chemical but they will never learn