The Stand (Prophecy)

Album: The Alarm (1983)
Charted: 86
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Songfacts®:

  • This song was inspired by Stephen King's 1978 novel, The Stand, which is about a "superflu" that wipes out most of humanity. One of the survivors is the evil Randall Flagg, who calls himself the "Walkin' Dude" and builds a following. He's referenced in the line:

    I met the walking dude, religious, in his worn-down cowboy boots

    Flagg's unhinged henchman is known as "Trashcan Man."

    "Hey! Trashcan where you going boy?
    Your eyes are feet apart


    Overall, the song is very, well, alarmist, portending the end of the world with the refrain:

    Come on down and meet your maker
    Come on down and make the stand


    The Alarm lead singer Mike Peters wrote the lyric after his friend Cody Evans gave him the book.
  • This song follows the Christian doctrine that The Rapture, when Christ returns to Earth and believers are transported to heaven, will be a time of celebration. "I accept The Bible as being the truth," Mike Peters told Smash Hits. "I believe in Jesus but it doesn't mean I have to go to church. We've all got personal beliefs. I don't get drunk and I lead a decent life."
  • This is one of several popular songs inspired by The Stand. Others include "Among the Living" by Anthrax and "Ride The Lightning" by Metallica.
  • In a Songfacts interview with Mike Peters, the Alarm frontman explained how this song came together. "I had this song that was like a folky version of "The Magnificent Seven" by The Clash," he said. "British bands, through The Clash, were starting to bring the influence of Grandmaster Flash to the UK. I thought, 'There's almost a talking blues thing in this rap that starts to develop,' and I thought I could take it into the folk area, and set the story of The Stand to the music of the A minor and G chords, and the E minor and the F. It was something that came about pretty fast. We actually recorded it at the Who's Ramport Studios, where they made Quadrophenia."
  • Hailing from North Wales, The Alarm got a deal with IRS Records after releasing the single "Unsafe Building" on their own in 1981. "The Stand" was their first IRS release, issued as a single in 1983. It appeared on their EP The Alarm later that year and then on their debut album Declaration in 1984. In the summer of 1983, The Alarm scrapped a run of shows in the UK for a better opportunity: touring America as the opening act for U2. During this run, they promoted "The Stand" in the States, and while many college radio stations added it to their playlists, the song didn't chart. The Alarm never had a major breakthrough and disbanded in 1991 after five albums. Mike Peters later revived the group with a new lineup.
  • Alarm bass player Eddie Macdonald and guitarist Dave Sharp are credited as writers on this track along with lead singer Mike Peters.
  • This was used in the 2013 movie Dom Hemingway and in the 2017 "Tape 5, Side B" episode of 13 Reasons Why.

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