Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Big Country Chronicles: 'Fields of Fire'

Five months before the band's debut album hit the shelves, Big Country released their first single recorded specifically for 'The Crossing'. As I mentioned in last week's installment, "Harvest Home" was technically their first single, but it was later rerecorded for the album. Now, if you're an American, you may be questioning your memory because you just swear "Fields of Fire" was the followup to the smash single "In A Big Country". You're not crazy. "Fields of Fire", however, was released before "In A Big Country" in the UK and other parts of the world.

The 12" single, released on Feb. 18, 1983, was an extended version that eclipsed the 7" single by almost two minutes in length. Most of the extra time is due to a pretty cool introductory chant of "400 miles" and lots of percussion from Mark Brzezicki, a key member added to the band after the original "Harvest Home" and 'The Crossing' demos. The flip side was the 7" inch version of "Fields of Fire", as well as one of Big Country's best B-sides, "Angle Park". In 1984, "Angle Park" would also be part of the 'Wonderland' EP. If you had the import version of 'The Crossing', "Angle Park" was there as well. Today, the remastered version of 'The Crossing' CD has it too, but back in 1983, an American just shy of his 13th birthday could only get "Angle Park" on this 12" single. What ever happened to the thrill of the hunt?

What I remember most about "Fields of Fire" was MTV's premiere of the video. That was back when a premiere video would be played at the top of the hour for an entire day. By then I already owned and loved 'The Crossing' and had seen the "In A Big Country" video dozens of times. That song will be our next installment of the Big Country Chronicles.

Big Country - Fields of Fire 12" (mp3)
Big Country - Fields of Fire (mp3)
Big Country - Angle Park (mp3)

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