An absolutely brilliant song, paired with an absolutely baffling video.
Kronomyth 0.9: Pain and truth don’t matter.
Men made in the crossing, their anthem rising over the highlands and drifting toward us on the same tide that brought the call and the alarm. Definitely one for the fresh new sounds of 1983, Big Country made a fan of me in the moment I heard this song. The single version sounds like a different mix than the elpee version, smoother and shorter where the latter was edgy. You’d sell your soul (metaphorically speaking) to write a song like this, and for an instant it looked like they might make it big in this country. But Americans didn’t seem to be hungry for more, instead content to gnosh on an alternative sampler plate that included Madness, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Split Enz, etc.
If you tuned in for Wonderland and Steeltown, give yourself a gold star for loyalty. The B side is a nonalbum track, “All of Us,” that features the same idiosyncratic sound but in a less-pressurized setting. It was later added to the 1996 Mercury remaster of The Crossing. It’s worth mentioning that this and X’s “Come Back To Me” are two songs that never fail to rouse me from whatever ennui I’m living in at the moment; a sort of “This is the day I’m gonna change my life” rallying cry, as opposed to, say, The The’s “This is The Day.”
Original 7-inch Version
A1. In A Big Country (Big Country) (3:55)
B1. All of Us (Big Country) (4:09)
Original 12-inch Version
A1. In A Big Country (Pure Mix)
B1. In A Big Country
B2. All of Us
1988 CD Single Version
1. In A Big Country (3:52)
2. Fields of Fire (3:32)
3. Chance (4:36)
4. Porroh Man (7:45)
5. In A Big Country (video) (3:45)
1992 7-inch “Collectables” Reissue
A1. Breakout (by Swing Out Sister)
B1. In A Big Country
Released on 7-inch and three-track 12-inch on May 20, 1983 in the UK (Mercury, COUNT3/312), the US and Australia (Mercury, 814 467-7), Canada (Vertigo, SOV 2329) with picture sleeve. Reached #17 on the UK charts and #17 on the US charts (charted on October 22, 1983 for 15 weeks).
- Re-released on 5-track CD single in 1988 in the UK (Mercury, 080 070-2).
- Re-released on 7-inch in 1992 in the US (PolyGram Collectables, COL 4856) with “Breakout” by Swing Out Sister on the A side.