These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Someday you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn to be
Brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've witnessed your suffering
As the battle raged high
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

There's so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun's gone to hell and
The moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We're fools to make war
On our brothers in arms

Lyrics submitted by kevin

Brothers in Arms Lyrics as written by Mark Knopfler

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Brothers In Arms song meanings
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  • +18
    My InterpretationWhen I listen to this song it has always given me the same feeling, and until I read the comment by Mikhailbacunin I thought that I was the only person to have picked up on this (sorry to any other posters who might have expressed the same sentiment.

    Personally I agree with previous posters that the song is not about any specific war but is more generic, although I can see that it's meaning might be more immediately accessible to in terms of a civil war.

    I believe this song specifically addresses the tragic irony that the source of many of humanities' greatest acts of loyalty, bravery and even love is often it's most futile endevour, namely war.

    Mark sings about the feeling of comradeship of the soldiers, the fact that they would give their lives for each other, a testiment for their love for each other. Then he ironically notes that the soldiers of the opposing army are very similar and have the same emotions when they go into battle.

    The song is about the overwhelming sadness that despite our shared humanity we just don't seem to be able to get along with each other despite the observation that in the greater scheme of things are similarities far outweigh our differences.

    Finally I believe that there is a note of regret that we do not seem to apply this sense of loyalty, courage and love to the good of all humanity.
    simonmayaon May 24, 2012   Link
  • +10
    General CommentNo offence to the many US comments, but this seems to be a case of the similarity heuristic at work, where people find similarities that are easy and most obvious, and therefore more productive decision making - but not necessarily correct.

    Most people think about mist-covered mountains, low lands, valleys and farms and brothers in arms, and apply this to their knowledge base, and for US listeners, namely the United States and the Civil War. While the lyrics are general enough to have relevance to any war, country or period in history, I think the likelihood it has anything to do with the US Civil War is very low.

    Firstly, Dire Straits are a UK band and their life experiences are British not American. Secondly, Mark Knopfler was born in Glasgow, Scotland and the Civil War would be unlikely to have been prominent in the British history curriculum (I think of the many wars fought on British soil over the 2000 years and that is not counting other European countries or ancient Europe). Thirdly, the Low Lands is most well known for one country, Scotland, and one region The European Lowlands (scenes of many terrible religious battles during the 16th century). Fourthly, brother in arms is a British expression used by Shakespeare to describe a strong male bond developed serving joint service and battle (16th century). And finally, baptism may refer to the protestant practice of Baptising following the breaking away from the Vatican in the 16th century - this expression could highlight the "Baptism of fire" for both the new religion and the introduction to battle, bonding the "brothers in arms".

    This leads me to believe that this song is specifically about a Scottish battle, most like post-15th century, potentially against the Jacobites or maybe even under Queen Mary ("Bloody Mary") prior to the Scottish reformation in 1560. Whether this is a specific battle or a general battle it strikes me that it is much more likely to be referring to a Scottish battle field and most likely to be near the 16th century, during the periods when farmers and family mean left their families, farms and fields to fight together in battle, as brothers in arms. It also has meaning that transcends any specific battle and speaks to the tragedy of war and highlights the individual nature of war i.e. each soldiers has his own family, life and universe.

    A great song.
    Australianon January 22, 2012   Link
  • +8
    My InterpretationFirst of all, even if this song may have been written in response to the Falklands War, it's definitely not about that war specifically. Songs like this are usually meant to be timeless - which is what makes them so effective.

    I've always interpreted "Brothers in Arms" as being anti-war, but nonetheless empathetic with soldiers in battle. On the one hand, the song recognizes that comradely bonds formed in battle are very strong, and that brothers in arms will fight to the death to protect each other (the military maxim that you "fight for the man beside you"). At the same time, the narrator steps back and realizes that for every band of brothers who believe in the sanctity of their comradeship, there's another group of armed men who feel exactly the same way - and will also fight to the death for their own brothers.

    So what this song points out is that while hatred is usually what leads to war, friendship between brothers in arms is the fuel that feeds the flames.
    MikhailBakuninon February 12, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThis might be relevant to the discussion about Scottish wars earlier on in this thread. The song is written in the style of a scottish folk song, but with blues guitar and a middle 8 to make it a pop song. It opens with 'these mist covered mountains', a clear reference to the scots song of the same name, and the hook contains a scotch snap (on the word brothers). The scotch snap is indicative of scottish dance music, specifically the strathspey, and afaik is not found anywhere else in western music.
    Personally, I agree with previous posters that the song is about all wars, but Knopfler clearly had scottish music in mind when he wrote it.
    Foobon October 31, 2008   Link
  • +4
    General Commentall of the songs on the B-side of Dire Strait's "Brothers In Arms" LP were about war...the protaganist is a soldier dying on the battlefield..."these mist covered mountains are home now for me"...he's going to die there, making it is home..."let me bid you farewell"...he's saying goodbye to his fellow soldiers who tried their best to save him and thanking them for sticking by him until the end...his final message is that the people we fight are just the same as us, but we kill them over stupid differences...this song will probably make another comeback during this war coming up...
    ZinbobDanon March 17, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentChills. That's one word to describe this song. For a long time, I avoided reading the lyrics, afraid it would cheapen the song somehow, but they only strengthen it's message.

    This one is definitely a Cold War song. It brings up images of the life of pawns. The protagonist could be a fighter in Afghanistan when the Soviets attacked, or a Muslim in Boznia, or a Jew in Warsaw.

    It speaks of losing everything ("These mist-covered mountains are a home now for me/But my home is the lowlands, and it always will be"). Lots of songs speak of losing everything. This one transcends it all by showing that, although "Every man has to die," in this case by the foolish acts of forces far too powerful for him to be anything but helpless, that man lives on in his Brothers in Arms. "Through these fields of destruction/Baptisms of Fire," his friends saw the hopelessness of the situation and "did not desert me," and just the knowledge that "Someday you'll return to your valleys and farms" is enough to grant a dying man solace.
    ballzofsnoon April 27, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentgreat song.
    i dunno i dont think its about the american civil war.
    brothers in arms doesnt have 2 mean a civil war
    moses101on December 02, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that this song has a simple meaning, it incorporates simple anti-war message, why should anyone think it's about Civil War? The simplest truths are most powerful ones.

    Misty covered mountains, aren't mountains in Scotland, South Africa or Lebanon. Mountains has been used just to show that he's dying far away from his home... He's from the lowlands, dying in the highlands... The sun is an ideology, that pushed the soldiers forward, the "cause" for which they wanted to fight for, to die for...

    Only in the final moment of his life... he sees that there are no just causes, that "The enemy" is just his brother in arms, he is as human as himself. His "sun", "the moon" that shines for the enemy (opposite ideology), enlights the one world that they both live in. And fact that everyone has to die, doesn't mean that You should give Your life for Your country, for your sun... The starlight, every line on Your palm, (the universal truth) shows that You should love Your enemy, You should love every human being, not make war on them...

    Why wars are fought? Because of greed, of envy, and so on. If everyone was as human as he can be, there would never be war... Everyone can find a place for himself in our one world... we don't need wars, we don't need "suns" - the leaders pointing at someone with their finger telling us "it is the enemy". Every human is just the same.

    Excuse me my english - I'm polish.
    alanzon May 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenttry out this version. such a great guitar and a nearly 3min solo at the end!

    have fun:…
    LeChuckon April 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI believe its about civil war.....Perhaps Scotland.
    fyremanon January 12, 2010   Link

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