Loading player…

The Decemberists

When the War Came (8:31)

From When The War Came Songfacts. This song is a portrayal of the 900 day siege of Leningrad during WWII. During this siege, the German army surrounded the city entirely, preventing anything from going in or out. As a result, many died of starvation, and the final death-toll is estimated to be over one million dead. The song also has a political undertone to it; it is stated that despite the fact that people put their…

read more

Similar Tracks


With all the grain of Babylon
To cultivate, to make us strong
And hidden here behind the walls
Are shoulders wide and timber on

The Decemberists - When the War Came Lyrics


Leave a comment. Log in to Last.fm or sign up.

  • Does anyone else think he's about to launch into "No Quarter"? [4]
  • Good song
  • I like how this one begins, but the middle/end are not my favorite.
  • this made me angry
  • Does anyone else think he's about to launch into "No Quarter"? [3]
  • wow this song is great
  • Does anyone else think he's about to launch into "No Quarter"? [2]
  • @WingedTerrapin: thanks for that shout. the insight actually helps me like the song more. :)
  • Updated the info. There was a seed bank (a place where seeds of many species are preserved) in Leningrad established by Nikolai Vavilov (mentioned in the song). He'd collected seeds from around the world. His studies were mainly on crop genetics and improvement of yields to sustain the growing global population. Botanists at the seed bank chose to starve to death rather than eat the preserved seeds. “Solanum” is a genus of plant, some common representatives are tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants. “Asteraceae” is a family of plants, some common representatives are asters, sunflowers, daisies. “Babylon” was an ancient city, considered part of the cradle of civilization where many advances in agriculture were made. “All the grain of Babylon” is likely a reference to the diversity of crop species held within the seed bank. I’ll spare you from any further nerdery on my behalf. Unless, of course, you’d like to discuss the song or correct me on anything. Just note me or leave me a shout :]

API Calls