Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke was moved when he heard Harry Patch, the last surviving British veteran of WWI, speak on the horrors of war on Radio4. So moved, in fact, that he recorded a song “Harry Patch (In Memory),” only a few weeks before Patch died at 111 on July 25 .
“I very much hope the song does justice to his memory as the last survivor,” wrote Yorke on the band’s DeadAirSpace website. “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.”
With the soothing and eerie strings arrangements formed by band badass Johnny Greenwood, Radiohead laid down the track live, in an abbey somewhere in their native England. Stream the track below.
The lyrics, which include haunting lines like “give your leaders each a gun and then let them fight it out themselves,” are all Patch quotes, though surreally paranoid and political just like Yorke likes ’em.
The song is for sale on the band’s website, for roughly $1.70. Proceeds go toward the Britiish Legion.
Here are the lyrics to “Harry Patch (In Memory Of)”:
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
As previously reported, Thom Yorke recently completed a song for teenage vamp flick “Twilight Saga: New Moon.” The band has returned to the studio to record a new album with frequent collaborator Nigel Godrich.