National Flag Week post: Bruce Dickinson, “Silver Wings” with bonus Gene Simmons tribute to the troops

I missed Flag Day because of sheer overwork, but for once 0bama did something that doesn’t give me heartburn: he declared the whole week National Flag Week. In honor of that, here is a musical tribute to the USAF (still the USAAF then): Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson performing “Silver Wings”.

The YouTube video is mislabeled as a track from the upcoming Iron Maiden album “The Final Frontier (preview download link)”, but, while the track has many familiar Maiden ingredients, any Maiden fan (or any bass player) will immediately recognize the bass player is not band leader Steve Harris. The lyrics refer to the final stage of the air war over Nazi Germany, where USAAF bombers flew as the “Silver Fleet”, not even bothering to have the planes painted anymore. It saved paint and weight, and made little difference versus an air defense that had become increasingly ineffectual thanks to gasoline shortages — themselves the result of careful precision bombing. Lyrics:

Sound of Merlins fired up and their spoiling for the fight
A thousand bombers ready, it’s the target for the night
Deeper into Germany, but we all know the score
I know that I’m not coming back like those that did before

Now the flare gun fires and we get the go
Say good bye to the earth below

Tonight, on Silver Wings
I’am soaring through the mountains of the moon
On Silver Wings
Flying where no angels fly

I have brought these engines to the very jaws of hell
Metal hearts are beating through this hail of shot and shell
Terror from the skies where the angels fear to tread
Nothing in my eyes, I’am the living dead

Now the search light blinding us with its spite
Can’t shake this one off tonight

Tonight, on Silver Wings
I’am soaring through the mountains of the moon
On Silver Wings
Flying where no angels fly, yeah

Sky is bleeding gasoline and fuel is running low
Tanks are blown to pieces, soon the wing is gonna go
All the crew have bailed out over Essen long ago
But every night since 45 this bomber boy has stayed alive

I can’t believe she still in the sky
Me and my Merlins fly

Tonight, on Silver Wings…

While we’re on the Flag Day theme, none other than Gene Simmons (minus KISS face paint) is seen here offering a medley of US military anthems.