Your Essential St George's Day Playlist
Ten tracks full of the joys of England – even the crappy weather
Hurrah, it's St George's Day! We've all painted our faces with the Cross Of St George – the flag we nicked from Genoa for wily commercial expedience – in honour of the Israeli-born Roman soldier who almost certainly never really slew a dragon. All this venerating largely fictional martyrs business might seem a bit silly, but it's a good excuse for a noble top ten of patriotic metal classics.
Bruce Dickinson – Jerusalem
Despite being proud Englishmen, Iron Maiden seldom go in for overt lyrical patriotism, but Bruce perfected the form in majestic style with his interpretation of William Blake's stirring poem, England's unofficial national anthem. With a profoundly charged, epic and windswept arrangement, Bruce makes the piece even more emotively redolent of "England's green and pleasant land" with the addition of the phrase "Let it rain".
Manowar – Hail To England
Lots of British bands were looking to the USA for inspiration and success in 1984 – Saxon were Sailing To America, even Sunderland scruffbags Battleaxe were desperate to Make It In America – so it's jolly decent of New York metal gods Manowar to return the compliment. This emotional singalong was a thank you to the first country to fully embrace Manowar's epic power metal, which must have surprised the Germans.
Saxon – English Man o'War
Saxon's 2004 classic Lionheart saw the Barnsley Big Teasers reconnecting with the English historical milieu that inspired their name, with rollicking odes to King Richard I, Suffolk witchfinder Matthew Hopkins and, on this sturdy nautical corker, the mighty Royal Navy warships of the 17th century. Might it even be an oblique, subconscious response to Manowar's Hail To England?
Cradle Of Filth – English Fire