Song of the Day, September 13: Protocol by Gordon Lightfoot

Today’s song is Protocol by Gordon Lightfoot. It appears on his finest album, 1976’s Summertime Dream. The album is a folk-pop extravaganza, with songs ranging from upbeat and optimistic to dark meditations on life. It also includes one of his biggest hits, the unlikely #2 ballad about a shipping vessel The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Protocol is a darker song about the military mindset. An anti-war song in the last gasps of Viet Nam, its dense lyric has rich narrative power. Lightfoot is in fine voice and the stark accompaniment is perfect for his serious message.

Who are these ones who would lead us now to the sound of a thousand guns?
Who’d storm the gates of hell itself to the tune of a single drum?
Where are the girls of the neighborhood bars whose loves were lost at sea
in the hills of France and on German soil from Saigon to Wounded Knee,
who come from long lines of soldiers, whose duty was fulfilled
In the words of a warrior’s will and protocol?

Enjoy this powerful song today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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