Saturday, June 5, 2010
For tomorrow's anniversary of D-Day--the Allied invasion of France during World War II that commenced on June 6th, 1944--we're featuring Iron Maiden's The Longest Day, from their 2006 album A Matter of Life and Death. The song's title and subject matter derive from Cornelius Ryan's bestselling 1959 account of the invasion, The Longest Day (as well as the 1962 film adaptation). The lyrics depict the brutal combat many soldiers experienced that day (The world's alight, the cliffs erupt in flame/No escape, remorseless shrapnel rains) and the terrible human toll (And we rush with the tide/All the water is red/With the blood of the dead). There is also a reference to Overlord, the codename for the Allied operation to liberate German-occupied Europe (Overlord, your master not your god). Ryan, who died in 1974, had something else in common with the band besides this song--he and Iron Maiden's drummer, Nicko McBrain, shared the same birthday: Today, June 5th--the eve of D-Day.
The Longest Day (Kindle Edition)