Night of Long Knives

Album: Bloodstone & Diamonds (2014)

Songfacts®:

  • Machine Head frontman Rob Flynn told Kerrang! that he wrote three entirely different versions of this song. "I wrote one about the Newtown (school) shooting. That really affected me, that whole story. But they were scrapped. Then I wrote another about something else – and that didn't make it on the record. So the song is about the (Charles) Manson murders. I had read a lot of books on this whole thing when I was my 20s, and I'd watched all the movies, so I knew the subject well. It's obviously horrific and tragic: but it's also fascinating. He wasn't even a man who did these murders– he got other people to do them."

    "I remember speaking to (drummer) Dave (Maclean), and he'd just seen a new documentary about it," he continued. "So I just started writing the lyrics."

    "Of the three (lyric versions) I'd written, I didn't necessarily think this was the right one for the song," Flynn added. "But when I heard them back with the music, I knew it was working."
  • The Night of the Long Knives is a descriptive phrase that was applied to the night of June 30, 1934 when Hitler, assisted by Himmler's SS, carried out a series of political murders. Many of those killed were leaders of the SA, the paramilitary Brownshirts.

    The term has its antecedents. The apocryphal treacherous killing of native British chieftains by Anglo-Saxon mercenaries on Salisbury Plain in AD 472 was named "The Treachery of the Long Knives" by Geoffrey of Monmouth and became a prominent symbol of Saxon betrayal.

    The term Night of the Long Knives is now applied to any treacherous massacre or betrayal.

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