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Into the Valley

Posted on January 10, 2018 at 6:00 AM


On this date in 1979, SKIDS released the single, INTO THE VALLEY, (Jan 9th, 1979).


INTO THE VALLEY, with its dramatic and heroic edge, is pure anthem from its pulsating bass intro to Richard Jobson’s martialling over Stuart Adamson’s indomitable fuzz barrage.


What began as a poem written by Jobson in his youth, inspired by a line from "The Charge of the Light Brigade - "into the valley of death rode the six hundred," the song took on a more native note when it drew upon the plight of Scottish youths recruited into the British army and a personal one after a friend was killed on duty in Northern Ireland.


"Tennyson's poem had all the things you love as a young guy - heroism and tragedy and loss," Jobson recalled. "They were the very same qualities I tried to imbue in what was to become 'Into The Valley.'"


"A lot of the guys I knew who went to Northern Ireland had become prejudiced when they came back," Jobson continued. "They spoke about Catholics or Irish Nationalists in a very negative way, and always used that precursor, 'I know you're not like that, but...' It definitely had a curious effect on them as people, and psychologically scarred them. So that had a deep influence on the song."


“Into the valley/Betrothed and divine/Realisation's no virtue/But who can define/Why soldiers go marching"


And not to forget its inspired b-side, a live rendition of TV STARS, parading a list of then-famous characters largely drawn from soaps Coronation Street and Crossroads punctuated by a rousing chorus of grouchy Rovers’ regular 'ALBERT TATLOCK'. Richard Jobson has said that it was made up on the spot for a John Peel session – on which it sounds far tamer without the inclusion of a crowd joining in – name-checking the DJ in its lyrics.


Despite Jobson’s dismissal of the song as pure ‘novelty, public demand means that he’s risking his life at gigs if he fails to play it – such is the track’s popularity!


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