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Lyric of the Week: WHEN THE SHOOTING'S OVER

When the shooting’s over

When the smoke clears

When the howitzers stop firing

We won’t be hiding our fears

When the shells stop exploding

In our backyards

When all will be quiet

We’ll be picking up the shards

The cannons

Watch out they’re shooting now

The cannons

There ain’t no way to stop them now

There won’t be no peace

Till the shooting’s over

The big guns on the border

They’re all quiet now

It’s an uneasy silence

No one knows just how

But we’re keeping the peace

So that no one is harmed

We’re keeping the faith

By the force of our arms

The cannons

Watch out they’re shooting now

The cannons

Hold still there ain’t no way to stop them now

There won’t be no peace

Till the shooting’s over

There was a time we were sure we were finished

‘Cause we ran out of shells

We were alone up there with our hands in the air

Beyond any help

The valley was silent and we were down on our knees

Not a single shot

But the enemy thought we had some trick up our sleeve

So the shooting stopped


When the shooting’s over

There’ll be no war

But the guns are still aimed

At each other’s door

When the treaty is signed

There’ll be no peace

The bloodshed won’t stop

Though the fire will cease

The cannons

Watch out they’re shooting now

The cannons

Hold still there ain’t no time for protest now

There won’t be no peace

Till the shooting’s over

The cannons

Watch out they’re shooting now

The cannons

Hold your piece you can’t stop them now

And you still won’t have your “peace”

When the shooting’s over

When the shooting’s over

When the shooting’s over

When the shooting’s over

When the shooting’s over

When the shooting’s over

(Forever hold your piece)

When the shooting’s over

(There won’t be no peace)

When the shooting’s over

(When the shooting’s over)

When the shooting’s over

(The fighting won’t cease)

When the shooting’s over ...

©2020 The Hesh Inc.


And you still won’t have your “peace” / When the shooting’s over.

About halfway through basic training, we recruits were subjected to a presentation by several retired generals and officers about the history of the artillery corps. It was set up in the base's auditorium in a format resembling a TV talk show or interview program, and it was boring as hell. We were operating on sleep deficits that we were unaccustomed to and it was all too easy to nod off ... but when the platoon sergeant would catch sight of a lolling head out of the corner of his eye, he'd hiss at the exhausted soldier to snap out of it and wake up. It must have happened to me 2 or 3 times. At the end of the program, though, we were treated to a recording of "שיר התותחנים" ("The Artillery Song"), not an old martial-sounding battle hymn but a new, synthy-dance-rock number, very much of the times — the times, of course, being the mid-1980s. We fell in love with the song right away and asked some of the staff, when relaxed protocol permitted such conversation, where we might be able to obtain a copy of the song. The request was duly noted, but never fulfilled. Oh well.


Later on during basic, we toured the fire bases along the northern border, and were shown the battlefield in the Golan Heights where some of the fiercest fighting of the Yom Kippur War had taken place. We got to see, in 3D, the actual arena of the battles that the officers had so uninterestingly described in the earlier presentation on base. Now, it seemed so much more real.


In essence, then, this song was a combination of all those experiences: what the officers described in their presentation, what we saw in our tour of the northern border, and a fleeting assessment of the geopolitical situation as we were experiencing it in the mid-80s, all to the tune of "The Artillery Song."


As it happened, the tune was intended to be adopted as the IDF Artillery Corps' new anthem, but it was rejected, and all copies destroyed or disposed of. No one in artillery HQ seems to remember it or wants to talk about it. It exists nowhere online; some subsequent research yielded the fact that it was composed and sung by Israeli new-wave singer Corinne Allal, but when reached for comment, she had nothing to say about it. I don't know why the song met with such antipathy when we grunts thought it was the coolest thing we heard; perhaps it falls to me to record some reconstructed version of it, but it wouldn't be the same as the original.


#originallyrics #IDF #armyservice


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