This is the last 7″ Single I found at Mad Jack’s on the last dig I had back earlier in the Summer. This time around it is the song “Strength” by the UK band The Alarm. This was the first single off the album of the same name. The song came out prior to the album release which was in 1985. It reached #40 in the UK but didn’t chart in the U.S. However, I saw the video for this song on MTV and my brother had their prior album, so I was really in to it and in fact, the album ‘Strength’ is a personal favorite of mine.
The song is credited to the whole band which is not normal for them. The song came to Mike Peters in the middle of the night while at a hotel in Newcastle. He and his friend went down to the get his guitar out of the van so he could start writing. The next day during soundcheck, the whole band worked through the song as Mike still didn’t hav the right chords for it. And that is why the whole band got credit.
My copy is the Pinckneyville Pressing from the U.S. Pretty standard. The cool thing about it is the B-Side is a non-album track. The song is called “Majority”. You can now get it on subsequent re-issues of the album, but not back in the day. This was the only place which would’ve made this a prized single to get.
The song is about finding that one someone in your life that gives you the strength to accomplish anything and be the better version of yourself. It has an indie, alternative feel to as you’d expect from a band on the I.R.S. label (which I love by the way). The guitar sound is a mix of acoustic and electric with a driving drum beat with an almost military feel as the snare is so strong. The bass also helps drive the song along. Mike Peter’s vocals are melodic with a little grit to it that makes it a great sounding rock vocal. He really puts a lot of emotion in to his vocal delivery. The song has a whole empowerment feel to it and almost anthem like quality. A super inspirational track.
The B-Side is a song called “Majority” and as I said is a non-album track. The song was written by Eddie MacDonald and Mike Peters as normally was the case for The Alarm. An interesting note is that this song apparently was a inspiration for the band The Killers who were big fans of The Alarm and have covered some of their songs in concert. “Majority” was originally written from a third person point of view, but due to the band playing it while opening for U2, Bono thought it would be cool to hear it from a first person point of view and that is what we have here. The song is political as a lot of their songs and seems to be about the younger generation living their life like they want but the machine isn’t paying attention to them and moving on without them.
The song is a rocker with machine gun like lyrics, really upbeat and another driving beat. It has that classic Alarm sound with the guitars and not sure why it didn’t make the album because it would’ve fit nicely. Peter’s vocal delivery is a treat as he maintains an exhausting pace and not sure how he breathes. Another great track.