Through clear skies tracking lightly from far down the line
No fanfare, just a blip on the screen.
No quick conclusions now everything will be fine,
Short-circuit glitch and not what it seems.
Fylingdale Flyer you're only half way there,
Green screen liar for a second or so we were running scared.

On late shift, feeling drowsy eyes glued to the display.
Dead cert alert, lit match to the straw.
One last quick game of bowls we can still win the day.
Fail-safe; forget the things that you saw.
Fylingdale Flyer you're only half way there,
Green screen liar for a second or so we were running scared.

They checked the systems through and they read A-O.K.
Some tiny fuse has probably blown
Sit back; relax and soon it will just go away,
Keep your hands off that red telephone.
Fylingdale Flyer you're only half way there,
Green screen liar for a second or so we were running scared.
Fylingdale Flyer you're only half way there,
Green screen liar for a second or so we were running scared.

Lyrics submitted by inpraiseoffolly

"Fylingdale Flyer" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Fylingdale Flyer song meanings
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  • +3
    Song MeaningAs Massapequa correctly says, the song is named for the Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station at Fylingdales Moor in Yorkshire, and may have been inspired by reports of spurious warnings generated by the early warning system throughout the cold war. The song urges caution ("Sit back; relax ... keep your hands off that red telephone") in the face of computer glitches, given that the consequences of reacting prematurely would be so devastating.

    The line about "one last quick game of bowls" probably refers to the famous but possibly apocryphal story in which Sir Francis Drake, a British naval commander, insisted on finishing a game of bowls before responding to reports of the approach of a Spanish invasion fleet, the Armada. The implication is that not responding impulsively to threats is a particularly British virtue.
    slamon December 21, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe lyrics neither explicitly nor implicitly indicate whether the green blip was a malfunction or an actual attack. However, the implication of the song is that no matter whether or not an indicated attack is real, the human tendency would be to irrationally rationalize--"Naw, it can't be a real attack!"--therefore rendering the early warning systems completely useless in the event of a real attack.
    Kopachrison May 02, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is about a nuclear missile approaching, and the observers not being sure if they are dealing with a real attack or just a technical glitch.
    haripu69on November 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentinpraiseoffolly:
    The great thing about Jethro Tull is that they have music to appeal to just about anybody, however not everyone will like the same things. A happens to be one of my favorite albums. However, I'm not a huge fan of Crest of a Knaive, while just about everyone else loves it.

    For the record, the song is FYLINGDALE FLYER, not Flyingdale.
    Krendall2006on August 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFylingdale Moor, North Yorkshire, was the former home of Britain's missile early warning system. Three giant golf ball-shaped domes dominated the skyline for miles around, and were the source of Britain's "four minute warning" of impending nuclear attack
    Massapequaon November 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionThe title of the song is "Fylingdale Flyer", not "Flyingdale Flyer".
    slamon December 21, 2011   Link
  • -1
    General CommentWell, this album is better than Under Wraps, at least. I just cannot believe that my second favorite band would release an album as bad musically as Under Wraps (the lyrics are not first-rate, but with listen-toable music, they would be reasonable.

    Honestly, after I heard Under Wraps, I had to clean out my ears.

    Under Wraps and A, so far, at least, are the two worst Jethro Tull albums, though A is an order of magnitude above Under Wraps.
    inpraiseoffollyon October 01, 2006   Link

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