Red Alert

Songfacts®:

  • In a February 1988 interview with Kerrang! magazine, lead vocalist Biff Byford explained the inspiration for this song by paraphrasing its first line: "We were on the Russian border the day Chernobyl blew up."

    In April 1986, a nuclear plant at Chernobyl (or Chornobyl) in the Ukraine exploded, releasing five percent and more of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere. According to a February 2008 report by the World Nuclear Association: "28 people died within four months from radiation or thermal burns, 19 have subsequently died, and there have been around nine deaths from thyroid cancer apparently due to the accident: total 56 fatalities as of 2004."

    This does not tell the whole story though. The then Soviet Union did its best to cover up the full extent of the disaster; increased incidents of cancer and other illnesses over a wide area have been reported and forecast by other bodies, and the name Chernobyl has become a byword for nuclear disaster dwarfing that of 1979 Three Mile Island incident which inspired the Dan Fogelberg song "Face The Fire." That aside, though Saxon's account, which runs to a shade over four and a half minutes, is a decent if run of the mill heavy metal track, it sounds more like a news report set to music than a song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England

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