‘Sixty Eight Guns (session)’ [??:??] (MacDonald/Peters), The Alarm
Lead Vocals:Mike Peters
:BBC Kid Jensen Session, March 9th 1983
Mike Peters Notes
:The song was inspired by a book I’d read about Glasgow street gangs, in the year 1968. 1 always thought that was an important year for young people, it was the first time they really said ‘no.’ It was just when the hippie thing was ending, when peace and love was all going sour. So we’re writing about a street gang called the 68 Guns. It’s about how society reacts against the presence of these young people on the street, and how they turn to violence in response.
(Boston Rock, 1984)
When I was in school I read about Glasgow street gangs. It was
an observation made by a warden of a borstal. He went out on
the streets with this kid that was let out on weekends and he was just observing the change in society in the year 1968. That was the first year that it reached the boiling point when there was a lot of young people who were forced out onto the street through unemployment, and there was no place for them to go so they took to the streets. There was a battle over who owned the street: was it society and the people who lived in the houses or was it the kids who had no where to go? The only place they could go was to hang out on the street because there were no recreation centers or anything like that back in those days.
1968 was the year the battle rupted all over the world: Paris riots, riots in London, the second Kennedy got shot, Luther King got shot, Vietnam, it was pretty heavy going. In general the Hippie Movement went sour. Instead of it being the “Year Of Love”, it became the year of the word “no”. We just wanted to write a song about that conflict and those people who were conflicted and fighting against each of the society’s against the kids. The kids really didn’t really want to have a fight, but it was a war over who owned the space and these people just wanted to belong to themselves, these young people. Society didn’t want them so they clung to themselves and their gangs. I just made up a gang called “68 Guns” and hoped that that gang was still relevent today as it was in 1968.
(1984, Backstage Pass 91X)
Of the many Seventeen songs, only “Sixty Eight Guns” went on to become an Alarm song. It was the last written during the Seventeen era and was played during the band’s last tour of Scotland and at the final Seventeen show (The Half Moon, Herne Hill, Dulwich London, January 1981). It was at this show that we announced our new name “Alarm Alarm”.
(MPO Web Site Interview, 1996)
Dave Sharp Notes
Eddie MacDonald Notes
Nigel Twist Notes