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Paul Hardcastle - 19 - Lyrics Meaning

In 1985, this single became a worldwide hit for British composer and musician Paul Hardcastle. There are no subliminal messages hidden within it and there's no need to read between the lines to understand its meaning as this is an out and out, in your face anti-war song.

The lyrics are the spoken words of American TV presenter Peter Thomas taken from a television documentary about post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by Vietnam War veterans. The title, and the focus of the track, comes from the claim that the average age of the soldiers in combat was only nineteen.

With such a strong anti-war message, the track was always going to be controversial. The actual age of soldiers in the conflict has been disputed but Hardcastle also came under fire from ABC, the makers of the documentary, for the use of extracts without permission. His musical composition brought more flack when Mike Oldfield, composer of Tubular Bells, claimed that parts of the track had been copied from his work.

Nonetheless, Hardcastle certainly got his point across with repeated use of the word, `destruction' and gave listeners food for thought by highlighting the on-going mental battle still being fought by many returning soldiers long after the physical war was over.

The spoken line of a soldier, `All we want to do is come home,' seems particularly poignant.

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