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Radiohead’s Latest Available for Download

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harry patchRadiohead has released a composition written in honor of Harry Patch, the last remaining UK veteran of World War I.

Patch died July 25 at age 111, having been one of the world’s last four survivors of the First World War, the third oldest man in the world, and briefly the oldest man in Europe. As Thom Yorke says on Radiohead’s Web site, “I had heard a very emotional interview with him a few years ago on the Today program on Radio4. The way he talked about war had a profound effect on me.”

The song, inspired by Patch’s story, was composed and recorded a few weeks before his death. Johnny Greenwood arranged the strings, Yorke wrote the lyrics, and everything was recorded live in an abbey.

The song’s feel is old-fashioned and awe-struck, the way one would imagine a dirge for every fallen soldier would sound. The lyrics are bleak and dark, evoking an old war documentary or Normandy footage. It is sparse and delicate, and powerful at the same time. The abbey’s echo can be heard in the strings, giving it an ancient, wooden feel.

“Harry Patch (In Memory Of)” is available for download at Radiohead’s site and can be previewed, 30 seconds at a time, through a somewhat irritating flash player. The cost to download is 1 UK pound, or around $1.70. All proceeds are going to the Royal British Legion.

Lyrics, and the song’s back story, are posted at Radiohead’s site.

The song can be downloaded here.

More information on Harry Patch can be found on his Wikipedia page.

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Written by Peter Kimmich

August 5, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Old, stale news

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