Don't Wake The Lion / Too Old To Die Young

Album: Wings of Heaven (1988)


  • In a March 1988 interview with Kerrang! magazine, lead guitarist and songwriter Tony Clarkin said the genesis of this epic song was "a stupid conversation we were having on the tour bus." The band's sound engineer was talking about an old time comedian whose catchphrase was, "It was the day that war broke out." This became the first line of the song, and once he heard that, it virtually wrote itself.
  • "Don't Wake The Lion" is actually two songs; in the middle is "Too Old To Die Young." Altogether they run to 10 minutes 34 seconds; it/they were written partly in Germany and partly in Ireland.
  • This is as passionate an antiwar song as any heavy metal band ever recorded; rich in imagery it captures the jingoistic madness that accompanied the outbreak of World War One, which was known as The Great War until the outbreak of the second world conflict.

    "There's a firework show tonight, everyone's been invited, we'll be finished by Christmas": young men talking of great times, while as dark clouds gather on the Maginot Line, barely heard voices of reason are whispering "Don't wake the lion."
  • Far from being over by Christmas, the Great War dragged on, causing suffering on an unimaginable scale. Two years into the conflict the British would lose nearly 20,000 men on the opening day of the Somme, the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army. Most Magnum fans agree this is one of Clarkin and the band's finest efforts. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above

Comments: 2

  • Lee from BerkshireGreat song. Magnums best ever I would say and one of my favourite songs by anyone. The song is based on the breakout of WW1 but includes the lyrics " Dark clouds gathered on the Maginot line ". Shame that !!! The Maginot line wasn't built until the 1930's - just saying :-)
  • Laurent from Manama, BahrainA superb song that is actually closer to the "old" Magnum. On this record, the band attempted to capture a more "commerical" sound and DWTL was not a commercial song at all. Bob Catley's singing is passionate and takes this song to amazing emotional peaks. Superb!
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