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A "Sky Pilot" is a military chaplain, hence the lyric "He blesses the boys as they stand in line." The song finds the chaplain telling the soldiers that they are fighting for a greater cause, as they are "soldiers of God." At the end of the song, one of the soldiers returns from battle and realizes the words of the chaplain go against what he learned in the Bible: "Thou shalt not kill."
Sound effects of fighting, gunfire, airplanes, and bagpipes were used. The pipe band was the Royal Scot's Dragoon Guards, a Highland regiment. Lead singer Eric Burdon tape-recorded them at a school and used the pipe music during the middle of the song along the war sound effects.
Burdon received an angry letter from the British government for his use of the pipe music. The tune he used was "All The Bluebonnet's Are Over The Border," which is a classic Scottish war piece written as an anti-war epic during the Vietnam War.
This song got little airplay as it was over 7 minutes long. It also employs a string section and a trumpet, making it even less radio-friendly.
The single was split into 2 parts to fit on the 45. You had to flip the record to hear the whole song.
The lyrics, "He'll stay behind and he'll meditate" are sung by Burdon as "He stay'll behind and he'll meditate" on the version played mostly on the radio. (thanks, Jeff - Palatine, IL)
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