"Hero Of The War" as written by and Scott Engel....
He's a hero of the war
All the neighborhood is talkin' 'bout your son
Mrs. Reiley get his medals
Hand them 'round to everyone
Show his gun to all the children in the street
It's too bad he can't shake hands or move his feet

He's a hero of the war
You can see his picture in the local news
Mrs. Reiley seems the girl next door is nowhere to be found
Once you couldn't keep that boy from hangin' 'round
Never mind dear, you're with your mum once more

He's a hero of the war
Like his dad he gave his life the war before
It was tragic how you almost died of pain when he was born
With no husband there beside you through it all
Ring the bell if you get hungry or you fall

You're a hero of the war
Why those teardrops on your cheek? it's so absurd
Feelin' empty it's the emptiness of heroes like your son
And what made him leave his mother for a gun
Driven forward driven back and nothing more

He's a hero of the war


Lyrics submitted by ilse

"Hero of the War" as written by Scott Engel

Lyrics © CARLIN AMERICA INC

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Hero Of The War song meanings
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2 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentQuite straightforward I think. He's talking about a young lad who went to war and didn't come back, sarcastically saying "don't worry that your life has gone to shit, you're a hero of war".

    He no longer has his girlfriend (the whore) and he's followed in his Dad's path by dying in battle. He's left his mother for a gun and this decision has left his mother in more pain. He's caused her more pain despite her going through childbirth for him. The songs sniping at him 'don't worry about all of that though, you're still in the paper, you're still a hero'. Is it worth it?

    originlon January 07, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCompare to "Mother" by Pink Floyd on "The Wall". This is NOT the story of a sad, bereaved mother who lost her son in the war. This is the story of a very bitter and cynical mother who is perversely glad that she has control of a grown-up son who has been disabled in war and is now dependent on her again. She feels like a real mother now that her son depends on her and the girl next door, the whore as she sees it, has lost in him. She possesses him and can show off his medals and gun as her achievements rather than his. She sees his pain and incapacity as just desserts for the pain that he put her through in childbirth, and the pain that his father put her through for leaving her bereaved and alone in bringing him up. To me, this song is the nightmarish story of the "hero of the war", a young man with potential and a future, who has been crippled and infantalised by war, forced to rely on his overbearing mother who he knows will keep him prisoner for the rest of his miserable life.
    This is a brilliantly menacing song given the cynicism of the lyrics against the lightness of the music. Scott Walker knows how to unsettle the listener ;)
    spuddy9748on February 26, 2016   Link

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