Pretty much my whole life I have known about a TV Series known as Sharpe. It’s a show based on a series of books by Bernard Cornwell about a British Soldier/Officer played by Sean Bean, who is picked up and risen through the ranks during the Napoleonic Wars. When I was young I didn’t think much of it, but after my Mam got the series on DVD, I began to get an interest in the series. One of the constant occurrences in the show is that at the very end of each episode; Sharpe and his men walk into the hills, and as the credits roll, co-star John Tams will sing the show’s theme tune: Over the Hills and Far Away.
Up until very recently, when I thought of ‘Over the Hills and Far Away‘, my mind would immediately jump to Sharpe and that song; but now I have found something else to reference it to. A few months ago, I started getting into the music of Thin Lizzy. I had already heard of the song The Boys are Back in Town of course, but I began to hear and learn of other notable songs they made such as Jailbreak, Don’t Believe A Word and Rosalie. I also began to learn new things about the band too, including their history and background, especially that of frontman Phil Lynott.
Well, over time as I continued to listen to their stuff on YouTube, I find out about other projects, and this makes me jump from Thin Lizzy, into side projects that Lynott did with former Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore which led to the song Out in the Fields.
As I heard this song more and more, it led to further links and a song by Gary Moore which bared a very familiar title – Over the Hills and Far Away. I gave it a go a couple of times and was surprised how the lyrics were not the same as the other song. I thought given the title, it would bear some resemblance, but it was very different and told a tale, its own tale; not a tale of signing up for war in the Napoleonic Wars, but a tale of a wrongly convicted man and his far away love. I am a big fan of classic rock and heavy metal; which this song carries along with some more traditional instruments to create a nice loud and fast, but also very unique sound. I was amazed by this song’s power, and could barely listen to anything else for the next week. I have become a fan of many of the songs I have discovered during this trip into Thin Lizzy’s archives, but have also come across some real hidden gems that have in the process become some of my favourite songs. Now when I think of Over the Hills and Far Away, my mind jumps to something very different.
(A running joke between me and my brother about Sharpe, is that when Sharpe and his men leave for the hills at the end of each episode, it’s so that they can get away from the man singing that song).