Educating Peter # 10

August 26, 2012

This week Michael has sent me “Swords Of A Thousand Men”, a song by British band Tenpole Tudor. I’ll say straight away that both the band and song name look mildly familiar but I don’t think I’ve ever heard it.

Tenpole Tudor – “Swords Of A Thousand Men” (1981)


0:00-0:14 – I like the galloping bass. It makes me think this is going to be a zippy song.

0:14-0:19 – Adam And The Ants!

0:19-0:30 – The verse has begun, and the lead singer is singing. His voice sounds familiar. It sounds like another singer from the 80’s, but I can’t remember who. Hang on… … … Nope. Nothing rings any kind of bell, metaphorical or otherwise. I can see that other chap’s face, but I can’t see his name. I think it might be Martin. Maybe it’d help if I think of a band. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark? Nope. Depeche Mode? Nope. Heaven 17? Maybe. Heaven 17’s singer sounds like the Tenpole Tudors’ singer, but that’s not who I’m thinking of. I think I’m wasting both your time and mine thinking about this. Hang on again just a bit more… … Nup. I’m definitely wasting your time.

0:30-0:44 – It’s the chorus, and throughout it I keep thinking the backing singers are about to burst into “toora-loo-rye-aye” à la Dexy’s Midnight Runners. They do get close, though, when they sing “hoorah, hoorah, hoorah, yea”. And at 14 seconds, that chorus was nice and short. Yep, it’s a zippy song.

0:44-1:01 – It’s the next verse, and I like the weird thunder noise at 0:54 when the singer sang “Thunder in the air…”

The more I’m listening to “Swords Of A Thousand Men”, the more I’m thinking: “Is this a novelty song that Michael’s sent me”?

Despite that slight suspicion, from what I’ve heard so far I’m not minding this song at all. Actually, I think I’m getting swept up in its enthusiasm.

1:01-1:15 – The next chorus. It’s just like the first chorus except for the lyrics. I like how they all sing “…won this town…” (from 1:06-1:09). It’s very… ah… um… I don’t quite know how to describe the way they sing that phrase. I guess you can listen to it yourself and then let me know how to describe it.

1:16-1:21 – The bit after the chorus leading up to the sort-of guitar solo.

1:21-1:39 – This is a strange guitar solo. I don’t know if it can be classified as a guitar solo, so I’ll try to describe it briefly and let you decide. A guitar plays a simple note, slides it down to a lower note, and lets that lower note stay there. Once that lower note is firmly in place, another guitar plays a few notes. After that second guitar finishes playing its few notes, the first guitar plays the note that slides down again, and the second guitar comes back to play a few more notes. This all happens one more time, and then it’s back to the verse. Was it a guitar solo?

1:39-2:56 – More lusty singing and rampant enthusiasm. As this song continues on its merry way to the end of the fade-out, I’ve come to the conclusion that “Swords Of A Thousand Men” is primarily a drinking song. I can imagine pubs across Britain in the 1980s full of young men and women holding glass filled with alcoholic beverages and singing along to this song as loudly as possible.

I’ve finished listening to “Swords Of A Thousand Men”, and now I’m thirsty.

Before I go and get that drink, I reckon I’m in a position to sum up what I thought of the song. I can tell you what I thought of it in three words: silly but fun. And I enjoyed it.

Thanks, Michael!