Crass – Nagasaki Nightmare

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Crass- Nagasaki Nightmare/Big A Little A 7″ cover (1980)

With the increasing tensions of the cold war, the Euromissiles Crisis, and the revamped arms race in the 1980s many people began to wrestle with the legacy of World War II and the renewed threat of nuclear war.  This can be clearly seen in underground cultural production of the era.  A good example is ‘Nagasaki Nightmare’ by the British punk band Crass.  Released as a 7″ backed by the song ‘Big A Little A’ in 1980 on their own label, Nagasaki Nightmare confronts directly the horrors of nuclear war and the fear of these weapons again being loosed upon the world.  Crass maintained an activist stance throughout their time as a band, and some have credited the band with resurgent interest in the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in the 1980s.  The activist impulse can be seen clearly in this release.  The interior foldout poster included in the release includes a map of England, and exposes the nuclear infrastructure in the country; locating missile sites, submarine bases, bomber bases, and waste dumps.

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Crass- Nagasaki Nightmare/Big A Little A 7″ foldout insert (1980)
[Click to enlarge the image]

Nagasaki Nightmare Lyrics:

They’re always there high in the skies…
Nagasaki nightmare
Pretty as a picture in the generals’ eyes
They’ve done it once, they’ll do it again
They’ll shower us all in the deadly rain

Fishing children fish in the Imperial Waters
Sons and lovers, lovers and daughters
Cherry blossom hanging on the cherry blossom tree
Flash, blinding flash, then there’s nothing to see

Dying they’re still dying, one by one
Darkness in the land of the land of the rising sun
Lesson learnt the lesson? No, cos no one really cares
It’s so easy to be silent just to cover up your fears

So they die in the nightmare, nightmare, nightmare
And die in the nightmare, nightmare, nightmare
So they die in the nightmare, nightmare, nightmare
And live in the nightmare, nightmare, nightmare
Will you stand by and let it happen again?
Nightmare death in the deadly rain

Live in the nightmare, nightmare, nightmare
And die in the nightmare, nightmare, nightmare
Nightmare comes in deadly rain
Nightmare, nightmare, nightmare rain

Manmade power, manmade pain
Deadly rain, deadly rain
They’ll do it again, shower us in rain
Deadly, deadly, deadly rain
Nagasaki nightmare

Video by Alan Louttit.

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