” Pipes of Peace ” is by Paul McCartney ( Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE ), the English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer. Paul found fame along with John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as members of one of the most influential groups in music history, The Beatles.
The song was written by Paul McCartney and produced by George Martin ( Sir George Henry Martin CBE ). George was an English record producer and also an arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician. His career in music spanned over six decades and was known as the fifth Beatle.
” Pipes of Peace ” was first released on the 31st of October on the album of the same name. The song was released as a single on the 5th of December 1983 by record label Parlophone ( Now part of the Warner Music Group ).
The song is based on a true story. In 1914 at the start of the First World War history was made when British and German soldiers ceased fire and started to sing Christmas carols and place candles on Christmas tree and around their trenches in what is now known as The Christmas Truce. They left their trenches on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and in No Man’s Land started playing football, exchanged seasonal greetings, share cigarettes and give gifts to one another.
A nineteen-year-old Private serving in the London Rifle Brigade wrote a letter to his mother on Boxing Day. In it, he wrote ” Dear Mother, I am writing from the trenches. It is 11 o’clock in the morning. Beside me is a coke fire, opposite me a ‘dug-out’ (wet) with straw in it. The ground is sloppy in the actual trench but frozen elsewhere. In my mouth is a pipe presented by the Princess Mary. In the pipe is tobacco. Of course, you say. But wait. In the pipe is German tobacco. Haha, you say, from a prisoner or found in a captured trench. Oh dear, no! From a German soldier. Yes, a live German soldier from his own trench. Yesterday the British & Germans met & shook hands in the Ground between the trenches, & exchanged souvenirs, & shook hands. Yes, all day Xmas day, & as I write. Marvellous, isn’t it? ”
Paul took the events of the actual story and wrote the anti-war song ” Pipes of Peace “, it was to be part of a trilogy of anti-war songs, the others being ” Tug Of War ” and ” Tug Of Peace “.
The accompanying video was filmed at Chobham Common in the County of Surrey, UK. Paul took those real events and added fictional the characters of a British and German soldier who meet in No Man’s Land; they exchange photos of their loved ones while the other soldiers from both sides play football and fraternise.
As the two men retreat to their own trenches after a shell blast, they realise they are still in possession of the other soldier’s photo.
The video was directed by Keith McMillan and produced by Hugh Symonds. It featured over 100 extras, and for the authentic feel, Paul had his hair cut to the military style of the day.
The single was a massive success for Paul. In the United States is was issued as the B-side to ” So Bad ” which was the B-side in the United Kingdom. ” So Bad ” peaked at number twenty-three on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent a total of fourteen weeks on the chart there.
In the United Kingdom ” Pipes of Peace ” entered the UK Singles Chart on the 17th of December 1983 and reached Number One. It held the top spot for two weeks. The song spent five weeks in the Top Ten and a total of twelve weeks on the UK chart.
BillBoard Highest Chart Position: 23
UK Highest Chart Position: 1
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Germany 43, Netherlands 34, Belgium 36, Ireland 1
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