Philby

Album: Top Priority (1979)

Songfacts®:

  • Kim Philby (1912-88) was one of the most notorious traitors in British history. The son of an army officer, Philby's name will be forever linked with his fellow Cambridge educated traitors Burgess and Maclean. On leaving university where he had been inducted into the Communist movement he worked as a journalist before being recruited into the forerunner of MI6 which gave him the opportunity to serve his Soviet masters big time. He is known to have caused the deaths of many agents before his cover was blown and he defected openly to Russia.
  • Gallagher's song begins: "Now ain't it strange that I feel like Philby, there's a stranger in my soul, I'm lost in transit in a lonesome city, I can't come in from the cold." The reference to coming in from the cold is almost certainly an allusion to the John le Carre novel The Spy Who Came In From The Cold which was filmed with Richard Burton in the title role.
  • Although he made some fine studio albums, Gallagher was considered at his best live; unmarried, he toured incessantly, and it may be that at times he felt lost in transit, lonely and a stranger even to himself. He died in 1995 aged just 47 leaving the world a rich legacy of Rock, Blues and Irish rooted folk music. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander - London, England, for all above
  • In a 1991 interview with Christian Science Monitor, Gallagher said of Kim Philby: "I was fascinated by his story. I read every book I could get on him, and of course he is not a great hero in England. I don't agree with spying and so on, but he was so audacious. I never heard a song before that - on a spy, or a specific spy. I often wondered if he ever heard it."

Comments: 2

  • Bruce from York, PaGreat song, great performer, sadly missed. RIP Rory.
  • Mike from Bethesda, Mdas good as page,beck anybody ...a shame not known
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