The Alarm recorded The Stand in 1983. They released the track in the UK as a single. Mike Peters credits the song with launching The Alarm’s first US tour. The band’s unique sound used harmonicas and acoustic guitars in a genre and era dominated by the electric guitars and heavy distortion effects.
The acoustic sounds harkened back to the days of Dylan and The Beatles, but left some observers scratching their heads. When The Alarm played with U2, Bono asked “what’s up with the harmonica? And that acoustic guitar?” And EMI told The Alarm they liked The Stand as a song, but didn’t like the sound of the band.
For Mike Peters, it was all about staying true to the creative process. The Alarm were song writers, first and foremost. They wrote using acoustic instruments. When they tried to arrange the songs for the typical band setup at the time, it felt all wrong. So they decided to stay acoustic for the arrangements. Then they plugged in all the amps and gear later. This approach created a unique sound, influencing Alternative Music bands like Midnight Oil.
The Stand was an homage to Stephen King’s novel of the same name. The Alarm were concerned with the threat of nuclear war. They wanted to use their music to take a stand for humanity. That’s what the book was all about, taking a stand for humanity, so the name just fit.
The Alarm ultimately released The Stand on a special five-track EP outside the UK. They released the EP in 1983 under the self-titled name, The Alarm, while they were on their first US tour.