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"Generals and Majors" is a song written by Colin Moulding. It appeared on the 1980 album Black Sea. It reached No. 32 on the UK singles chart and No. 104 on the Billboard Pop chart.

A live medley of "Generals and Majors" and "Living through Another Cuba" appeared as the B-side to the "Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)" 7" single.

A live version appeared on BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert, later on the 1998 Transistor Blast box set.

A rehearsal tape version appeared on the 2002 Coat of Many Cupboards box set.

Single tracklistingEdit

DoublepackEdit

  1. A-side: "Generals and Majors (single edit)" 3:39 (Moulding)
  2. B-side: "Don't Lose Your Temper" 2:37 (Andy Partridge)
Plus bonus single
  1. A-side: "Smokeless Zone" 3:53 (Moulding)
  2. B-side: "The Somnambulist" 4:37 (Partridge)

UK, France, West Germany, Holland SingleEdit

  1. A-side: "Generals and Majors (single edit)"
  2. B-side: "Don't Lose Your Temper"

Canada, Australia, New Zealand singleEdit

  1. A-side: "Generals and Majors (single edit)"
  2. B-side: "The Somnambulist"

QuotesEdit

Colin (on the promo video): “One for all the military types - justify your manhood here, chaps. Partly inspired by a school mate's brother who was a mercenary in Angola and got killed. I'm sure it wasn't just for the money. I tried to introduce a little sarcasm and pomposity into it as well, so it wasn't too heavy going. In the style of ‘Oh What a Lovely War’.”

Andy (on the promo video): “You were reluctant about this, weren't you?” Colin: “It was a half-finished song, really. It only came to life when Andy came up with the chorus - most of it was created in the studio.” Andy: “It's related to ‘Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines’.”

Andy (on the BBC Radio 1 version): “Bang! Into the formula one, furious fascist skank of ‘Generals and Majors’.”

Colin (on the rehearsal tape): “Think of Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines, and you're almost there. The chap with the handlebar moustache, who lives up at the big house, is getting a bit stir crazy and thinks it's a good idea to bomb this that and the other and goes on television and says so. I pointed the fun stick for a brief moment at this gentlemen's club as things at the time between us and the Ruskies were getting a bit hairy and these guys, I thought, weren't helping matters. I think it's the nearest thing we did to a military march, albeit using rock instruments. If one sees it that way, I think it is quite adventurous. But we're still in the act of arranging parts when Mr Lillywhite turned on the tape, so for the musos, here's a chance to dissect the soup. I'm la-la-ing the main theme, in the hope that we'll eventually find someone that can whistle. Mr Lillywhite was particularly keen on the idea, as he had recorded the whistling, recently, on Mr Gabriel's ‘Games Without Frontiers’, only trouble is, there wasn't anyone who could whistle it with any strength. Enter monophonic synthesizer. Well, it was cheaper than Roger Whittaker. I vaguely remember some humming auditions at the Townhouse, where the cook got the job, but that is too fantastical for anyone to believe. (And what did I say about that ‘Pea Souping’ earlier [see ‘Sleepyheads’]. I rest my case.)”

Andy: “A little late in the day as it may have seemed, the first thing we did on setting up at Polygram Studios was to play through, for Steve, all the songs we had for this album we were commencing. In that bunch was a new song of Colin's called ‘Generals And Majors’. The reason it doesn't sound very well worked out yet is because it isn't. I'm fumbling along like a beginner, looking for a part. Terry taps along, not having settled on his violent ‘pea soup, pea soup’ disco drumming yet. Colin searches for a style to sing it in, while I flounder behind him searching for the right harmonies. Really the only one who seems to know what he's doing from the off is Dave.

“So embarrassed am I, by my unpreparedness I can be heard mumbling at the end, to Colin, ‘I got to work out another bit (guitar), it's clashing with your vocals terrible’. We got it together eventually.”

LyricsEdit

Generals and Majors ah ah

they're never too far

from battlefields so glorious

out in a world of their own

They'll never come down

till once again victorious


Generals and Majors always

seem so unhappy 'less they got a war


Generals and Majors ah ah

like never before are tired of being actionless.


Calling Generals and Majors

Generals and Majors everywhere

Calling Generals and Majors

your World War III is drawing near


Generals and Majors ah ah

They're never too far

away from men who made the grade

out in a world of their own

They'll never come down

until the battle's lost or made


Generals and Majors always

seem so unhappy 'less they got a war


Generals and Majors ah ah

like never before, are tired of being in the shade.


Calling Generals and Majors

Generals and Majors everywhere

Calling Generals and Majors

your World War III is drawing near

VideosEdit

PromoEdit

Virgin media mogul Richard Branson appeared in the promo video.

Promo video for "Generals and Majors." Uploaded by YouTube user "courageousjohnny."

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