Writing started with symbols, hidden knowledge in some vague shapes, but only for the uninitiated.
So, the set of these symbol shapes creates complete information, of course for those who know how to recognize it.
Notes may also have this role in the beginning, but the fact is that they can store or even disseminate information.
Of course, in a song, this becomes easier and here the role of the symbol takes its title.
And always a simple name hides many secrets, which are not always revealed in the lyrical part.
Perhaps the name “Philby”, to an ignoramus, refers to a man related to the life of the great Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher.
That is, an owner of a pub, in which the artist used to suffer from a liver.
But the creation of the same, which is on the eighth album, “Top Priority” of 1979, reveals many other secrets.
It actually refers to a person who played an important role during the Cold War.
More specifically, it is the double agent, of the Soviets and the British, Kim Philby.
A typical person, one of those who fascinated the Irishman, an untouchable in essence and unacceptable to society as a whole.
Kim Philby (1912-1988), the son of a soldier, joined the Communist Party of Great Britain at an early age.
He belonged to the so-called circle of educated Cambridge traitors, along with Burgess and Maclean (no song was written for them, so we will not deal with them).
When he started working as a journalist he was recruited by MI6’s predecessor, MI5.
And as it is understood, the English do not have much originality in the names of their secret services.
The spy himself is believed to be responsible for the deaths of many of his British counterparts.
When his actions were exposed, he withdrew from the Soviet Union.
The original lyrics “Now ain’t it strange that I feel like Philby, there’s a stranger in my soul, I’m lost in transit in a lonesome city, I cannot come in from the cold” are inspired by his novel John le Carre, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold”.
The Irish musician in an interview revealed that he was passionate about the personality of the spy.
He had read everything related to him.
Although he did not agree with his ideological positions, but also with any kind of espionage in general, he admired the courage with which the hero of the song acted.
And maybe that admiration was the reason why the song was considered his best moment in live performances, where he played it like ecstatic.
As if living the life of the song character.
For the studio performance, the Coral electric sitar was borrowed from Pete Townshend, to give a more “eastern” feel to the song.