Mother doesn't know where love has gone
She says it must be youth
That keeps us feeling strong
I see it in her face, that's turned to ice
And when she smiles she shows the lines of sacrifice

And now I know what they're saying
'Cause our sun begins to fade
And we made our love on wasteland
And through the barricades

Father made my history
He fought for what he thought
Would set us somehow free
He taught me what to say in school
I learned it off by heart
But now that's torn in two

And now I know what they're saying
In the music of the parade
We made our love on wasteland
And through the barricades

Born on different sides of life
We feel the same and feel all of this strife
So come to me when I'm asleep
We'll cross the line
And dance upon the street

And now I know what they're saying
As the drums begin to fade
And we made our love on wasteland
And through the barricades

Oh, turn around and I'll be there
Oh, there's a scar through my heart but I'll bare it again
Oh, I thought we were the human race
But we were just another borderline case
And the stars reach down and tell us
There's always one escape

Oh, I don't know where love has gone
And in this trouble land
Desperation keeps us strong
Friday's child is full of soul
With nothing left to lose, there's everything to go

And now I know what they're are saying
It's a terrible beauty we've made
So we make our love on wasteland
And through the barricades

Now I know what they're are saying
As hearts go to their graves
We made our love on wasteland
Oh, and through the barricades

Lyrics submitted by bambi3k, edited by johnujf, glyniscste

Through The Barricades Lyrics as written by Gary James Kemp


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Through The Barricades song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis is probably the only Spandau Ballet song that I like... I can't completely figure it out, but it's definitely about two lovers, separated in the beginning by social class, race, religion, something like that... but with the support of their parents, if not of society, they end up together. Maybe about a Catholic and Protestant couple in Northern Ireland, talking about "this troubled land" -- although when I first heard it, I thought of Tolkien's tale of Beren and Luthien :)
    dreamgirl1983on August 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou're right dreamgirl. This song is about two lovers in Northern Ireland, one of whom is Catholic and the other Protestant. The only way of being together was to make their love on no-man's land. The book of the same title is superb! Lyrics make so much sense after reading it.
    BeeSmemon July 03, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is in two parts, the first is reflective of the past and the 2nd when upbeat and drums kick in. Its about Northern Ireland, but has parallels in other countries, hence the line "we thought we were the human race, but we are just another border line case" which is the case for all conflicts . But in Northern Ireland context it's the border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland , and more especially the division in Northern Ireland between those that feel they are Irish and those that fell a British. It's reflective of a Belfast lad that worked the concession store on the True tour, who returned to Belfast and was shot by a soldier. But it's not directly his story, it's just a reflection of times in Northern Ireland written some time after the bad early 80's, and some years later after the shooting of the lad they knew. Things were bad in the 70's with bombings , but in the 80's tensions increased although bombings and riots decreased, primarily by divisions (barricades) to keep the two communities apart, and make it harder for the tit for tat shootings and for armed factions on both sides to roam free. These still exit in the 21st century and you can see the peace walls today. In the 80's with the hunger strikes, tensions were high. So the first part of the song starts with a reflection looking back at the visit to Belfast and the grave of the young lad now dead and his mother . The song starts with the Mother having lived thought all the "Troubles" , saying love has gone, and has witness this first hand in her sons death which tells a toll with the lines on her face" when she smiles she shoes the lines of sacrifice , you can imagine the tears shed, and the understanding of a mother. However, for the youth, they are yet to be corrupted by the wastefulness of it all, and just see love. So that's what to live for and keeps desperation from creeping in, so that keeps her going and strong. The song tells the story from there of youth and love from a boy and a girl one from the unionist side and one from the nationalist side, "Born on different sides of life" So the we made our love on wasteland and through the barricades refers to having to meet to be together by transferring across the division between one the unionist area and nationalist areas. In both communities there was a huge shift to better housing, so many many of the small rows of terraced 2 up 2 down houses were being demolished so a lot of Belfast and Derry were like a wasteland, and if you visited those areas both Loyalist and Nationalist and especially in the interface zones it was like a wasteland. So he's just reflecting memories some years later after his visit. This nationalist and loyalist background from hundreds of years before is remembered in the two communities by stories handed down and most often in songs. There are many parades in Northern Ireland , and there are flute and drum bands that march together in a procession on days through the year and here the songs are sung and played about past victories and memories. So the Father made my history is exactly that stories of injustices and victories are past down the generations from father to son , telling the stories of the past. They are about one sides injustices and these are passed about in the playground in school, "he told us what to say at school " and that we need to fight to somehow by perpetuating this hatred it would set us free. The line "and now I know what they are saying in the music of the parade , is these stores set to song, and played by the flute and drum bands in the parade" This was beloved by a naive school kid, but having met a girl from the other side, he could see that was a lie and that it's now torn in two. He goes on to say "Born on different sides of life, But we feel the same and feel all of this strife" that he and she are actually the same, they have the same hopes and dreams , and that all these songs song in the parades are only perpetuating old men's past. So he's saying we will break though this and our love will transcend these barricades, and we can sing and dance and throw off this myth of the other side are bad. So the first part is all melancholy and looking back, whereas this 2nd part is the hope of the new youth that realises there has to be a new way, so the turn around and I'll be there is saying that no matter what we will turn this around and I'm going to stand up and be there and rather than be quiet and keep it hushed that we are seeing each other and we are from two sides I'm going to say it out loud, and although we have scars from past tragedies , we have to transcend those past terrible incidents to move forward "the scar on my heart, but I'll bear it again. The stars tell us , the stars are a synonym for the future, which says you got to look forward , as looking back there's no escape. Fridays child is the Good Friday agreement , which is full of a way forward and it starts with us and the beauty between us, is the two sides , both nationalist and loyalist and if I can from my background and stories told to me, shake off the past we can put this behind us, which is the part about burying the past "hearts go to the grave, which is saying those stories told need to go to the grave. I think I've covered every single line , but if I've missed one, let me know.
    Twigthewonderon February 17, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMost excellent hymn, never really figured out what the lyrics meant but after reading dreamgirl's interpretation they make more sense to me now.
    LittlePrincezzon November 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHmm i dont think this is about lovers and the conflict is about religion

    I read this somewhere, from someone in Singapore

    Heya peeps, there Im so sorry but there is NO WAY that is is about nothern Ireland.
    Ok, assuming it is, are there Poles in Ireland? I don't think so. Why did I ask this question? Well, if you watched the official MV of this song on you tube(…), and watched it to exactly 1min 01 second, you will see the camera pan across some old pictures and the word "POLSKI" written in old times roman typeset.

    For those of you who don't know this, "Polski" means "Polish" (the language) in Polish.

    What I feel about this song, is that it is about Poland. In WW2, the Soviets and the Nazis were initially allies. Before Hitler made a dash for Danzig, he told Stalin that if they invade Poland together, they'd share Poland when they win the battle. They'd divide Poland up; Hitler would take the western side and Stalin would have the eastern side. (the current border of Poland between Belarus & Ukraine marks where Hitler and Stalin agreed where the borders of Nazi Germany and the USSR would be)

    However, as we know it, Hitler broke the alliance soon after the USSR and Nazi Germany was at war. Eventually, when the Red army won back land taken by Germany and and the Nazi surrendered, Stalin,in prior discussions with the allies, was unwilling to forsake the land that he got from the Poles earlier. Due to Stalin's insistence and the west needing Stalin's support for the Pacific war that was still waging, they asked the then Polish government in Exile to accede to Stalin's request as a form of their "contribution" or gift of "appreciation" to the Soviets.

    The Poles were unwilling but had to relent.

    Also, the song portrays the betrayal that the Poles felt. The Polish army eventually went on to fight in both Stalin's army and the British army; hence the part in the song which goes:
    "Father made my history
    He thought for what he thought would set us somehow free"
    They were there, because they believed that if they helped the allies fight the war, they'd get their homeland back. Evidence can be seen from the battle of Monte Cassino, many of the dead allied troops were Polish, and many from Lwow(Lviv).

    However, when the war ended, many of these soldiers had no where to return to as most of the places that they were from (including Lwow) no longer belonged to Poland.
    - Nicholas, Singapore, Singapore
    miletjson April 04, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGary Kemp himself in an interview said it is a love story set against the troubles in Northern Ireland.
    barry10153on December 03, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Commentreligion total fuck up
    johnujfon October 09, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat i've said
    johnujfon October 09, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow beautiful it is! From a period of total art and creativity, talking about elegance and purity nothing like them.
    PeluCrespinson April 04, 2019   Link

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