Kiss me goodnight and say my prayers
Leave the light on at the top of the stairs
Tell me the names of the stars up in the sky
A tree taps on the window pane
That feeling smothers me again
Daddy, is it true that we all have to die?

At the top of the stairs
Is darkness
At the top of the stairs
Is darkness

I closed my eyes and when I looked
Your name was in the memorial book
And what had become of all the things we planned?
I accept the commiserations
Of all your friends and your relations
But there's some things I still don't understand

You were so tall
How could you fall?

Some photographs of a summer's day
A little boy's lifetime away
Is all I've left of everything we've done
Like a pale moon in a sunny sky
Death gazes down as I pass by
To remind me that I'm but my father's son

I offer up to you
This tribute
I offer up to you
This tank park salute

Lyrics submitted by SquidOmelet

Tank Park Salute Lyrics as written by Stephen William Bragg

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Tank Park Salute song meanings
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  • +3
    Song MeaningThe Tank Park is the Bovington Tank Museum near Wareham in Dorset, UK, and I believe the title of the song refers to a visit Billy and his dad made there. It is a moving song, especially if you have lost your dad, and moves me to tears, But of course, Mr Bragg is near genius in touching home truths. KC
    KCKCKCon October 13, 2012   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI've loved this song since I first heard it 20+ years ago. Now that I'm the father of a 7 year-old, it's even more poignant. I always imagine the now-grown Billy looking at childhood photos of he and his dad taken at a war memorial. Perhaps in one of the photos, he and dad were giving each other silly salutes, goofing off the way kids and dads do. And I'd imagine, since photos weren't nearly as common back then as now, that they are among the most cherished memories of the dad he lost too soon.
    meahernon March 19, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"You were so tall
    How could you fall?"

    Brings a lump to my throat every time I listen to it.

    Billy is a true lyrical legend and is totally engaging when he speaks, I love him!
    mozrozon April 08, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSpose this song is about a kid having that horrible realisation of ones own mortality and then experiencing the death we have without dying which is the death of our mum or dad. I only came here to work out what Tank Park Salute meant, but if it is something personal between Billy and his dad then that just makes the song more beautiful.
    runlistenon August 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHands down my favourite song by Billy Bragg. What does the title Tank Park Salute refer to though?
    7aint9on December 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDid Billy Bragg's father die in the war possibly?
    mbrdrck27on May 31, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is actually a reference to his father dying. You'd need a copy of Billy's Back to Basics to understand the tank park salute!
    chittywindmillon January 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Did Billy Bragg's father die in the war possibly?"

    Hehe...strewth...the bard ain't that old.
    NHSMonkeyon September 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBragg's father died of lung cancer when he was 18. Wikipedia said it so it must be true :p
    RABicleon August 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo point debating what it's about. I think we've found the most beautiful song ever written.
    Wallamanageon December 11, 2007   Link

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