Through The Barricades

Album: Through The Barricades (1986)
Charted: 6
Play Video
  • Mother doesn't know where love has gone
    She says it must be youth
    That keeps us feeling strong
    I see it in her face, that's turned to ice
    And when she smiles she shows the lines of sacrifice

    And now I know what they're saying
    'Cause our sun begins to fade
    And we made our love on wasteland
    And through the barricades

    Father made my history
    He fought for what he thought
    Would set us somehow free
    He taught me what to say in school
    I learned it off by heart
    But now that's torn in two

    And now I know what they're saying
    In the music of the parade
    We made our love on wasteland
    And through the barricades

    Born on different sides of life
    We feel the same and feel all of this strife
    So come to me when I'm asleep
    We'll cross the line
    And dance upon the street

    And now I know what they're saying
    There's the drums begin to fade
    We made our love on wasteland
    And through the barricades

    Oh, turn around and I'll be there
    Oh, there's a scar through my heart but I'll bare it again
    Oh, I thought we were the human race
    But we were just another borderline case
    And the stars reach down and tell us
    There's always one escape

    Oh, I don't know where love has gone
    And in this trouble land
    Desperation keeps us strong
    Friday's child is full of soul
    With nothing left to lose, there's everything to go

    And now I know what they're are saying
    It's a terrible beauty we've made
    So we make our love on wasteland
    And through the barricades

    Now I know what they're are saying
    As hearts go to their graves
    We made our love on wasteland
    Oh, and through the barricades Writer/s: Gary James Kemp
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 24

  • Jacs from EnglandThis is an amazingly insightful, beautiful and tragic song. It is, in my view their very best. Gary Kemp is an amazing songwriter and lyricist. Beautiful, chilling, haunting masterpiece!
  • Romanong Kurong from NagaWhenever we hear songs--or anthems--like this, we wouldn't really be thinking of particular scenes from elsewhere but our own experiences. We will imagine scenes from our own lives.
  • Gerri from Scotland
    Here's the real story behind the song...
  • Celticbhoy from StuttgartGary Kemp himself told the story of the origin of this song. And guess what? He probably knows best what this this song is about. It´s about NORTHERN IRELAND. Why should anybody wish to write a song about Poland AT ALL?
  • Shandroise De Laeken from Davao City, PhilippinesOh this song... I am in love with the overall message, the poetical composition of it, the melody progression, the shifts in tone, the enunciation of Tony Hadley (e.g. sacrifice, another borderline case, when we made our love on wasteland and to the barricades, as our hearts go to their graves, the instrumentals... it makes me very glad I got to listen to this song and fell in love with it in first listening! Everytime I listen to it, I fall in love with it over and over and over again. I love Spandau Ballet for making this song and sharing it with all of us! God bless them!
    I love the music video, too!
  • Shandroise De Laeken from Davao City, PhilippinesThe meaning of this song is very deep. It relates to what's happening today more than ever (although before wars also plagued the world... but right now, everything's getting worse despite the false peace.)
    Gary Kemp is a genius in lyrics... one of the best lyrics I ever read
    It's just soo wonderful I never felt sick listening to this for over 10 times (or more) everyday ! The first time I heard this, I fell in love with it!
  • Shandroise De Laeken from Davao City, PhilippinesOh one of the best songs I ever heard! Any song produced by people my age (I'm in my early 20's) are nothing compared to this! I love you Spandau Ballet!! I love Tony Hadley's voice!
  • Berberie from Wexford, IrelandThis is not about Poland, Berlin etc. Have a look at this and you will get it straight from the horse's mouth ie the song's writer, Gary Kemp......... now there maybe bits in the video which show different things but have you ever heard of poetic licence??? It's not about who was right or who was wrong in the conflict, it simply brought the subject down to the pain suffered by those caught up in it and who where forever scarred both physically and emotionally by the resulting loss. Yes, a Northern Irish version of Romeo and Juliet. Beautiful song full of anguish.
  • Ria from Quezon, Philippineswhile i was doing my research, i came across Felix Nussbaum who was German-Jewish. His father was a world war I veteran and a german patriot but left the army when the nazis took over. Although a military man, Felix's father still supported his passion for arts. Felix's wife, Felka Platek, was Polish who came to Berlin to study painting. She married Felix and went into hiding in Brussels. In 1944 they were arrested and sent back to Auschwitz where they were murdered.. Wikipedia described Felix's painting the The triumph of death asTriumph of Death
    ".. skeletal creatures play and dance to music within a barren wasteland. The presence of skin shows that they are not quite dead, illustrating Nussbaum’s knowledge of the painful reality of concentration camps. In the foreground, signs of life — books, a light, a clock, a phone, a bicycle — are destroyed. Even paintings — one of a female and one of a male — lie in the ruins..
  • Kermith from Gothenburg, SwedenJust don't understand how people can write that this song is about Ireland, when it clearly is about Poland. 0:50 into the video you can see a Russian clock "Slawa" which was very common in Poland as well as a couple of seconds right after that you see a wallet and there's a Polish Zloty bill that says "Bank Polski". This cleraly shows that it's referring to Poland don't you think? nd it's most probably for the Solidarity Movement in Gdansk, a popular subject in the 80's amongst bands.
  • Cam from Dublin, IrelandI heard the band interviewed on a radio programme in Dublin after their reunion. They lived in Ireland in the 80s as Artists here don't pay tax on their earnings, which is why so many celebs live over here. The were asked by the presenter Gerry Ryan RIP about the song. They said they had a young kid from Belfast working with them (think as a general go for). Apparently he popped home one weekend to see his girlfriend in Belfast and they were killed in an explosion.. Very sad, as others have said I always thought of Spandau Ballet as a bit airy fairy with the hair and clothes, But if a song defines a band I think this one could be it.
    Also like the previous comment about the famous Irish poet a terrible beauty is born, I think that is a slight varience on it. His other famoud line From the cradle to the grave is used in a lot of songs too - U2 all I want is you to name one.
  • Dave from Belfast, United KingdomIn my view this was the best ballad of its genre in the 1980's. At the time of its release in 1986 (during a time of immense divide in Northern Ireland) there was controversy over whose side Spandau Ballet were taking over this song. It is clear that the song is about the "Romeo and Juliet" impossibility of a relationship across deeply divided communities. The song is without doubt inspired by the novel: Across the Barricades. Set in Belfast and detailing the romantic struggle two people from each community, the correlation cannot be ignored. Also, the line "music of the parades" is a total giveaway.
  • Steve from Lisburn, United KingdomSpandau have been asked the question "Is the song about Belfast?" several times on Northern Irish TV. On the Kelly Show in the 90s Tony Hadley stated that the song was not specifically set against any conflict but had been inspired by the many different factions in the Beirut conflict of the '70s '80s. Hadley "So if the song is about any conflict it's probably Beirut, though it can lend itself to any divided society."
  • Nicholas from Singapore, SingaporeHeya peeps, there Im so sorry but there is NO WAY that is is about nothern Ireland.
    Ok, assuming it is, are there Poles in Ireland? I don't think so. Why did I ask this question? Well, if you watched the official MV of this song on you tube(, and watched it to exactly 1min 01 second, you will see the camera pan across some old pictures and the word "POLSKI" written in old times roman typeset.

    For those of you who don't know this, "Polski" means "Polish" (the language) in Polish.

    What I feel about this song, is that it is about Poland. In WW2, the Soviets and the Nazis were initially allies. Before Hitler made a dash for Danzig, he told Stalin that if they invade Poland together, they'd share Poland when they win the battle. They'd divide Poland up; Hitler would take the western side and Stalin would have the eastern side. (the current border of Poland between Belarus & Ukraine marks where Hitler and Stalin agreed where the borders of Nazi Germany and the USSR would be)

    However, as we know it, Hitler broke the alliance soon after the USSR and Nazi Germany was at war. Eventually, when the Red army won back land taken by Germany and and the Nazi surrendered, Stalin,in prior discussions with the allies, was unwilling to forsake the land that he got from the Poles earlier. Due to Stalin's insistence and the west needing Stalin's support for the Pacific war that was still waging, they asked the then Polish government in Exile to accede to Stalin's request as a form of their "contribution" or gift of "appreciation" to the Soviets.

    The Poles were unwilling but had to relent.

    Also, the song portrays the betrayal that the Poles felt. The Polish army eventually went on to fight in both Stalin's army and the British army; hence the part in the song which goes:
    "Father made my history
    He thought for what he thought would set us somehow free"
    They were there, because they believed that if they helped the allies fight the war, they'd get their homeland back. Evidence can be seen from the battle of Monte Cassino, many of the dead allied troops were Polish, and many from Lwow(Lviv).

    However, when the war ended, many of these soldiers had no where to return to as most of the places that they were from (including Lwow) no longer belonged to Poland.
  • Ian from London, United KingdomTo matty, bournemouth, United Kingdom

    How can this song be about the fall of the Berlin wall when this song came out in 1986? The wall fell in 1989.
    This is about Northern Ireland. You may wish to read the book Across The Barricades (a popular book in 1986 read by teenagers in school).
  • Juls from Belfast, United KingdomI still think this song is about the Troubles in N.Ireland- do you not notice the band parade music towards the end of the song?
    Perhaps it was originally about Berlin, but I have always listened to it believing that SB have some sort of connection with where I live, as they totally nailed the feeling of unrequited live with the 'other' religion over here.
    Haunting music- and really ahead of its time.
    Juls, Belfast.
  • Matty from Bournemouth, United KingdomThe song is in no way affiliated with the troubles of ireland the song is about Germany and the fall of the berlin wall,how do i know this my brother produces for tony hadley!!!
  • James from Belfast, IrelandComing from Belfast, this song has always been a bit special to me. Over the years I´ve met people from many different nationalities and a lot of them love this song for all sorts of reasons, even in spite of the fact that they didn´t even speak English! Mostly, they just love the melody and the musical arrangement, not to mention Tony Hadley´s voice. A great song works on many levels, and this is a great song.
  • Kate from Lyon, FranceI was 14 when I first heard this song and I was immediately capivated. It is very deep, and as it's been said, has many meanings one can understand or guess into it. It's always been a mistery to me what it was all about and yet I could relate to almost every part, thinking of life and the world in general. Just now, 22 yrs later, I found out the real meaning of it thanks to this site. Up to this day this is still one of the top songs, if not THE one, that move me the most and still brings tears in my eyes. Thank you Spandau Ballet for that !
  • Neala from Belfast, Antrim, N.i, IrelandTonight I really listened to this song and it made me cry. I always knew it was about young love lost between a Catholic and Protestant in Northern Ireland at the time of the Troubles, but there are many other connotations the song suggests - it could mean anything about a relationship that is potentially difficult or tragic. Although it was never one of my favourites, I appreciate the song and it's true and hidden meanings. Those lines "See it in her face, thats turned to ice and when she smiles she shows the lines of sacrifice" ring true to me. I just want to add an apology to a generous, beautiful, thoughtful man, someone who in ways is completely different but yet the only person who ever truly respected me and loved me. Not exactly the lyrics word for word obviously. There's nothing left to lose...
  • Sarah from Dublin, IrelandThis song gives me the goosebumps, especially near the end... Tony Hadley's voice gives it all the more strength.
  • Niall from Cork, IrelandI never liked Spandau Ballet but this song has to be one of the most powerful ever written. Always guessed it was about Northern Ireland. The phrase "a terrible beauty we've made" is very like "a terrible beauty is born" from the W B Yeats poem about the 1916 rising in Dublin.
  • Stuart from Glasgow, ScotlandI've always loved this song, but without really realising how powerful and beautiful the lyrics are. Now that I understand them better, it takes the song to another level.
  • Alan from Manchester, EnglandThis is a great sng, their best and in my top 25 all time favs
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