I watched a lot of films in my late teens and early twenties and often rewatched my favourites multiple times. One of these was (what is perhaps) a little known WWII film called, “A midnight clear”. Directed by Keith Gordon and starring Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinise, Peter Berg, Kevin Dillon and Arye Gross, the film is more drama than action. It is based upon a novel by the same name, whose plot is built around a Christmas eve truce between German and US soldiers, forged after the two sides engaged in a snowball fight. We see the kindness and the humanity of these characters plus the psychological trauma and inherent madness that results from the killing and loss in war in both sides.
The whole concept and idea always reminded me of “All together now”, my favourite tune off The Farm’s debut album “Spartacus”. Though the song has been used in plenty of adverts and films and as the theme for football matches and tournaments so that its original intent has been diminished over the years, it was originally written by the group’s frontman, Peter Hooton, as an anti-war song. The lyrics refer to a no man’s land truce, this time during World War I, between British and German soldiers and though they only refer to December, we can assume it was Christmas.
The song is uplifting, anthemic in mood, and full of hope. And if it feels familiar, it’s because at keyboard Steven Grimes’ suggestion, the group lifted and used the same chord progression as that of Pachelbel’s Canon. Those chords set the tone right from the beginning and underpin the rest of song, like a gauze curtain or a beam of light from the clouds of heaven, even as the nasty guitars and danceable drum beats drag you on to the floor for debauchery.
The Farm only ever released three full-length albums before breaking up in 1996 and “All together now” is probably still their best-known tune. Personally, I could think of many worse songs to be remembered for. Indeed, though it is a popular tune and sounds lightweight, it’s imbued with the Liverpool outfit’s favourite themes.
I’ll dance to that.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 1991 list, click here.