Third Light – (Song)

Third Light, sung by Eddie MacDonald, is another live-in-studio take. We wrote it as a war story, a song for an unknown soldier. But it turned into an analogy for our early days in London. Our fans took it as an anthem, when they were telling the world about the Alarm. So, to us, they’re the unknown soldiers – not fighting a war with bullets, but fighting one on our behalf – Mike Peters doing a track by track guide to Declaration – Boston Rock Magazine 1984

Third Light relates to a story my Grandfather used to tell me about his experiences in France during the First World War of 1914-1918. The “third light” of a cigarette became a symbol of bad luck for his generation, because many of his fellow countrymen lost their lives to German snipers, who would look out for the man who took the “third light” of a cigarette and use it as a target to shoot at during darkness hours. Mike Peters Alarm 2000 collection liner notes.



“Did you know it was considered frightfully unlucky, even fatal, to light three cigarettes with the same match during the First World War? While odd to us today, there is some truth in this fear, as a lit match in the dark of night was sure to draw enemy fire. The longer it stayed lit, the greater the chances a sniper or machine gun would find its mark, aiming at this tell-tale sign of human activity. Thus, to be the “third man” on a lit match was indeed a potentially fatal omen.
Source : Pegler, Soldiers’ Songs and Slang of the Great War, p. 182-183.

Third Light was a song that featured right at the beginning of The Alarm era as it was certainly performed at the second ever Alarm show at The Stables, St Asaph, North Wales on 30th June 1981.

A live version of Third Light first appeared as the B-side of the 7″ single The Stand released in April 1983. This live version was recorded at The Marquee, London, England on 30th January 1983. This version has also appeared on the remastered album releases of Eponymous. A studio recording of the song appears on the Declaration album which was released on 13th February 1984. This original recording was remastered for the Alarm 2000 box set and also for the 2018 double vinyl, double CD release of Declaration

In 2016 Eddie Macdonald formed a new band by the name of Smalltown Glory and revisited the song recording a brand new updated take on the song Third Light 2016 (The Young Known Soldier). (see separate entry for this version)

1984 Declaration album recording details
Running length 3:20
Written by Macdonald / Peters
Musicians & Credits
Eddie Macdonald – Lead Vocals, Electric Guitar
Dave Sharp – Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mike Peters – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Nigel Twist – Drums,Ppercussion, Backing Vocals

Backing track recorded at Good Earth Studios, Soho, London W1D, England 2nd November 1983
Produced & mixed by Alan Shacklock
Engineered by Chris Porter

Alternative studio recording releases ~ Remastered ~ Re-imagined

2000 – The Alarm – The Alarm 2000 Collection Box Set : Declaration [Remastered]
Running length 3:23
Musicians & Credits
Eddie Macdonald – Lead vocals, electric guitar
Dave Sharp – Electric guitar & backing vocals
Mike Peters – Bass guitar & backing vocals
Nigel Twist – Drums, percussion & backing vocals
Remastered from the 1983 original recording by Mike Peters
Remastering Engineered by Gary Butler @ RTS Liverpool in 2000

2014 – The Alarm – Declaration [Reimagined]
Running length 2:29
Musicians & Credits
Mike Peters – Lead vocals, acoustic & electro-acoustic guitar, bass guitar, RC300 loop station
Steve “Smiley” Barnard – Drums, percussion & backing vocals
Recorded by Andrea Wright & Mark Warden at Aerial Studios, Bethel Chapel Studios and Tape Studios Wales 2014. Produced by Michael Peters

2018 – The Alarm – Declaration [1984-1985] [Remastered]
Running length 3:19
Musicians & Credits
Eddie Macdonald – Lead vocals, electric guitar
Dave Sharp – Electric guitar & backing vocals
Mike Peters – Bass guitar & backing vocals
Nigel Twist – Drums, percussion & backing vocals
Remastered from the 1983 original recording by Pete Maher
Remastering supervised by Mike Peters

Album appearances and discography for studio versions


All the following are Worldwide releases except where stated
(All Images right click to open larger in new window)


(V)
13th February 1984 The Alarm – Declaration
Released in the UK on vinyl IRSA 7044, cassette IRSC 7044, CD IRS CDA 7044 by IRS Records
Declaration was released on vinyl, cassette and CD in USA, Canada, Japan, Australia. Vinyl only South Korea, New Zealand, Israel, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Europe. Cassette only Netherlands
Original 1983 recording

2000The Alarm – Declaration (1984-1985) – Catalogue number 21C011. Appearing as part of the Alarm 2000 collection box set and then later as an individual disc. This is a remaster of the original 1983 recording

2002 The Alarm – 68 Guns compilation album released in the Netherlands on Disky catalogue number SI 905175. Original 1983 recording

2018 – The Alarm – Declaration (1984-1985) – Catalogue number double vinyl LP 21C094 and double CD 21C096. Remaster of 1983 recording.

Single appearances and discography for studio versions

UK Release
April 1983 – 7″ vinyl single – B-Side of The Stand – Live version recorded at The Marquee Club, London, England on 30th January 1983 – IRS Records, catalogue number PFP1014
(A promo release was also released but on the same catalogue number just with a large A on the label)

Netherlands
1983 – 7″ vinyl single – B-Side of The Stand – Live version recorded at The Marquee Club, London, England on 30th January 1983 – IRS Records, catalogue number ILSA 3697

Officially released live recordings – Audio

All the following are Worldwide releases on Twenty First Century Recording Company
(Except where stated)

30th January 1983. Recorded at The Marquee Club, Wardour Street, London W1F, England
Band Line up : Mike PetersDave SharpEddie Macdonald and Nigel Twist
Mixed by Steve Tannett. Running length 3:37
Released in April 1983 as The Alarm on 7″ vinyl single – B-side of The Stand. IRS Records, catalogue number PFP1014 (UK). Catalogue number ILSA 3697 (Netherlands)
Released on CD in 2000 as The Alarm – Eponymous (1981-1983) – Catalogue number 21C010, part of the Alarm 2000 collection, remaster of the April 1983 single release
Released on CD & Vinyl in 16th March 2018 as The Alarm – Eponymous (1981-1983) – Catalogue numbers double vinyl LP 21C093 and double CD 21C095, remaster of the April 1983 single release

27th September 1983. Recorded live at Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Band Line up : Mike PetersDave SharpEddie Macdonald and Nigel Twist
Running length 4.07
Released on CD in 1999 as The Alarm Live on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. On King Biscuit Flower Hour Records, UK catalogue number KBFHCD028, USA catalogue number 70710-88049-2, Spain in 2000 catalogue number CELCD 027.
Released on CD in 2002 as The Alarm Blaze of Glory. Europe on Disky, catalogue number SI 794172
Released on DVD-Audio in 2003 as The Alarm From The Front Row ….. Live! USA on Silverline, catalogue number 288157-9

14th February 1984. Recorded live at Hammersmith Palais, London W6, England
Band Line up : Mike PetersDave SharpEddie Macdonald and Nigel Twist
Running length 3:46
Released on CD in 2002 as The Alarm Record Collectors Club Vol II – Hammersmith 1984. Catalogue number ARCC002

9th November 1985. Recorded live at Orpheum Theater, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Running length 3:47
Band Line up : Mike PetersDave SharpEddie Macdonald and Nigel Twist
Released on CD in 2003 as The Alarm The Sound & The Fury Live 1981 to 1991 (UK, Export)
Released on CD in 2014 as The Alarm When The Storm Broke (UK)

23rd August 2003. Recorded at William Aston Hall, NEWI, Wrexham, Wales
Running Length 2:38. Mike Peters Solo acoustic.
Released in 2003 on Alarmstock Volume 4 – The New Wave Songs Are Rising
10th November 2003. Recorded at The Knitting Factory (East), New York, USA
Running Length 2:47 (band line up tbc)

29th August 2004. Recorded at William Aston Hall, NEWI, Wrexham, Wales
Running Length 2:48. Mike Peters Solo acoustic.
Released in 2004 on Alarmstock 2 Volume 5 – Yesterday As If It Was Today

6th August 2005. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London NW8, England
Running Length 7:03. Mike Peters Solo acoustic.
Released in 2005 on Alarmstock III London Set 1 – Declaration [Take This Song OF Freedom]

22nd October 2010. Record at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, Scotland
Running Length 2:36. Mike Peters Solo acoustic
Released on CD in 2010 Mike Peters // The Alarm – Direct Acoustic MMX live in Glasgow
catalogue number 21C054

17th November 2011. Record at Islington Academy, London N1, England
Running Length 2:49. Mike Peters Solo acoustic
Released on CD in 2012 Mike Peters of the Alarm – 30th Anniversary Acoustic Alarm Tour 1981-2011 catalogue number 21C059

5th April 2014. Recorded at The Deaf Institute, Manchester, England
Running length : 3.37. Mike Peters acoustic
Released in 2014 on CD – Declaration – Live From The Deaf Institute, catalogue number 21CDVD017
18th April 2014. Recorded at McCabe’s, Santa Monica, California, USA.
Running Length 3:42 Mike Peters Solo acoustic
Released on CD in 2014 Mike Peters In Concert at McCabe’s, catalogue number 21C069

Officially released live recordings – Video / DVD

All the following are Worldwide releases on Twenty First Century Recording Company
(Except where stated)


5th April 2014. Recorded at The Deaf Institute, Manchester, England
Running length : 3.37. Mike Peters acoustic
Released in 2014 on DVD – Declaration – Live From The Deaf Institute, catalogue number 21CDVD017

Lyrics – Declaration Album

Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot
Your head on my shoulder
Two months you’ve been a soldier
I feel so sick inside
Two months should have been alive now

So no one here knows your surname
No one knows from where you came
The Red Cross takes you to your grave
For which your government kindly pays

White Cross up on the hillside
There lies that unknown soldier
No one can remember your name

Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot
So here I stand by your graveside
The steel helmet lies upon your cross
They said you died for king and country
That’s no comfort to the life you’ve lost

First Light
The sniper saw you.
Second Light
Took careful aim
Third Light
He pulled the trigger of the gun
Dead dead dead
(Dead dead dead dead)

White Cross up on the hillside
There lies that unknown soldier
No one can remember your name

Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot
Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot
So here begins the human harvest
Another war to end all wars
To give a life for rhyme nor reason
There are no words to justify the cause
So if our future lies in the scarlet fields
Who would be a patriot at the price of humanity?
Who would be a patriot at the price of humanity?

No, not me
No, not me

White Cross up on the hillside
There lies that unknown soldier
No one can remember the
White Cross up on the hillside
There lies that unknown soldier
No one, no one, no one
Dead Dead Dead

Alternative Lyrics – Declaration re-imagined 2014

Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot Shot
Your head on my shoulder
Two months you’ve been a soldier
I feel so sick inside
Two months should have been alive

SNo one here knows your surname
No one knows from where you came
The Red Cross takes you to your grave
For which the government kindly pays

White Cross up on the hillside
There lies that unknown soldier
No one can remember your name

Here I stand by your graveside
The steel helmet lies upon your cross
They said you died for king and country
That’s no comfort to the life you’ve lost

White Cross up on the hillside
There lies that unknown soldier
No one can remember your name
No one can remember your name

First Light
The sniper saw you.
Second Light
Took careful aim
Third Light
He pulled the trigger of the gun
Dead dead dead,

Audio & Visual Sources

Audio link – 2018 remastered version from Declaration 1984-1985 release

(Page updated 17/08/2022)

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