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A Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot On A B-29

75 years ago, while two young men escaped from Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Berlin, the United States nuked a city for the first time in history.

Japan, 75 years ago

6 August 1945 — At 8:15 am (Hiroshima time) an atomic bomb called Little Boy, the first ever to be dropped on a populated city, took less than 50 seconds to fall from the Enola Gay to the city.

The B-29 stayed over the target area for two minutes and was ten miles away when the bomb detonated.

The Enola Gay dropped Little Boy on Hiroshima.
The aftermath, Hiroshima.

Germany, 75 years ago

April, same year — Two men escape from a concentration camp called Sachsenhausen, built in the town of Oranienburg, north of Berlin. One of them, who had spent four years there, was my grandfather.

Now a fugitive, he’s running away from imprisonment with a fellow Soviet inmate. They have to steal from German citizens, for food, protection and to go unnoticed during the day. They tie themselves to tree branches at night. The skinny kid came back home, mostly walking, from Berlin to Italy.

A glimpse of something

A Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot On A B-29 is the second song from the concept album After 1989: A Trip To Freedom. It plays around the two events. A glimpse of hope for the two tired men running away in Central Europe, a horrific wasteland in Japan.

The nuclear era was born.

‘Little Boy’ official video

Credits

Dan Ecclestone / vocals, ukulele, toy piano
Callum Gardner / acoustic guitar
Paolo Clementi / viola
Simone Silvestroni / bass, drums, sound effects

Production and mix Minutes to Midnight
Mastering Ian Shepherd
Video Minutes to Midnight

Footage

Prelinger Archive
U.S. Army
Barbed wire design by freepik.com

Song backstory

Vera Lynn sings at a munitions factory in wartime Britain, early 1941
Vera Lynn sings at a munitions factory in wartime Britain, early 1941.

The title is a pun over an old tune by Vera Lynn — also played at the beginning of the film Pink Floyd The Wall by Alan Parker — intertwined with the name of the atomic bomb and the plane that dropped it.

Since the song is about two fugitives running away from a concentration camp, I wanted to convey a feeling of cautious optimism at the beginning. Truman’s speech announcing the event, while wrongly acknowledging Hiroshima as ‘a military base’, introduces the world to the horrors of the nuclear era.

The contrast between the Christmas carol-like music of the final section, and this flatly delivered horrifying declaration is chilling.

Song demo

Recording violas in London
Paolo and I, in London, recording Little Boy

Here is the demo of the song, at the time entirely played by Paolo Clementi with the acoustic viola. We recorded dozen of tracks, while he played the solo on top of these layers.

Both the solo and the final riff made it to the final version.

Watch More

Find all the music videos from After 1989:

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