Through the barricades - Spandau Ballet - 80sneverend - Love and war

Love and war

Spandau Ballet – Through the Barricades

Now I know what they're saying
It's a terrible beauty we've made
So we make our love on wasteland
And through the barricades
#SpandauBallet #ThroughTheBarricades

The most important artwork that unites love and war is probably Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet, in which the hatred between the families of the Montecchi and the Capuleti prevents the fulfillment of the dream of love of the two protagonists. Unfortunately, even in the 80s we witnessed many situations where military, political or religious divisions destroyed the lives and hopes of innocent people. Given the UK’s importance in 80s music, the most infamous division, at least as much as the Berlin Wall, was surely that between Protestant unionists and Catholic separatists in Northern Ireland. U2 had remembered the tragedy of January 30, 1972 in Derry\Londonderry in Sunday Bloody Sunday, but there were many other occasions for fighting.

On 9 August 1983 in Belfast a Catholic boy, Thomas Reilly, was killed by the bullet that a British soldier shot in his back, within the riots in which he had accidentally found himself. Thomas had recently returned home, as he had just finished a job that had taken him all over England. In fact, Thomas was one of the guys who sold T-shirts on Spandau Ballet concert dates, and had been on tour with them, who affectionately called him “Kidso”, a kind of “little boy”.

A couple of years later Gary Kemp traveled to Northern Ireland to visit Kidso’s grave with Jim, the brother of Thomas. Every time Gary went to Ulster he was struck by how different reality was from the privileges that pop stars had in the golden world of English cities. To get to Kidso’s grave, Jim and Gary had to cross the barricades that divided the main streets of Belfast, such as Falls Street, thus demarcating the territories of the two warring factions.

Gary was absolutely struck by that experience, which came back to the surface a couple of years later, one evening in 1985. At that time Gary was living in Ireland, and that evening he was overwhelmed with inspiration, words came to him for lyrics, he then had to pick up his guitar and compose a song on the spur of the moment. It had never happened to him, and he had the impression that the song had already composed itself, and it was just waiting for someone to transcribe and sing it. That evening, Through the Barricades was born, one of the most beautiful and romantic songs of the entire decade, and according to many, including Gary Kemp and Tony Hadley, the best song by Spandau Ballet.

Through the Barricades was released in October 1986, and the following month also gave title to the fifth album by Spandau Ballet, which was released in mid-November 1986. The album also included Fight for Ourselves which was released in September.

The song is about a boy and a girl from opposite factions, like Romeo and Juliet, who must meet on the barricades to love each other. The song is bitter and is about hearts going to their graves. We don’t know if it is a suicidal intent of the two lovers, or the bitter realization that their love will not be able to live long, suffocated by hatred and war.

The video is very suggestive, and alternates images of a stream with images of the band playing the song. At first the members of the band are filmed one by one, then the band plays all together to the sound of the drums. In this video the Spandau Ballet are at the absolute peak of their glamour, in a style that was perhaps the last generation of the new romantic, considering we were in 1986. Far away from the laces and crocheted trousers of Duran Duran in Planet Earth, but absolutely glamorous in the style and elegance of the Spandau Ballet.

Looking at the whole career of Spandau Ballet, who remained divided for years, Through The Barricades also represented the desire and the feeling that led the band to reunite after so many years, overcoming the contrasts and finding themselves just like the two lovers on the barricades that had divided them in the past. And who knows if the blond guy we see at the end of the video is Kidso…

Spandau Ballet on Wikipedia
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