Sabaton Wiki

To Hell and Back is the fifth song on the Heroes album by Sabaton.


  • Joakim wanted to make a song that mixed heavy metal with spaghetti western soundtrack music, f.ex. like Ennio Morricone's works.[1]
  • The band thought that Joakim's was stupid to make a song like that and were convinced that it wouldn't work; Joakim took it as a challenge to make it work.
  • The fact that the song tells about Audie Murphy who after the war starred in Westerns was a coincidence.
  • Some of the lyrics were taken from Murphy's poem "The Crosses Grow on Anzio".
  • Joakim said it's one of the songs he's most proud of.[2]
  • Joakim visited Audie Murphy's grave in the Arlington cementery.[3]
  • The band got in contact with Audie Murphy's son who came to their show in the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and gifted the band one of the original posters from the movie "To Hell and Back" in which Audie Murphy played himself.[4]
  • Audie Murphy's son said that he was happy because Sabaton didn't make another country/folky ballad song about his father because he got tired of them; the band keeps the memory of his father alive, without crying over him.[5]
  • The song was released as the first single from the album Heroes.
  • The song became one of the band's most popular songs.[6]
  • The video for the song was released on 15th May 2014.[7]
  • The video shows what could potentially happen to Audie Murphy during the week he closed himself with a loaded gun in a hotel to cure his drug addiction and depression as a result of PTSD he got from the war.[8]


Joakim: "When I started writing this song, I always had this idea it would be fun to mix heavy metal with spaghetti western soundtrack music. You know, The Good, the Bad, The Ugly; Fist Full of Dollars; For a Few Dollars More. I told the guys and everyone told me I was stupid – It can’t be done. And you know, telling me it can’t be done is one efficient way to get me to do it! It’s also nice to write and push my own envelope. Make it sound ‘Sabaton’ but there’s also something different in there. It’s a very fine line to walk: Take it too far and it doesn’t sound like Sabaton, don’t take it far enough and it sounds like everything else we’ve done before."[9]

Pär: "Joakim wrote the song. I remember we were all sitting together, then Joakim said he had an idea for a while, it was me, Thobbe, Chris and Hannes having a few beers. Then the phone rang. It was Joakim who had called us, saying we had to listen to a new song. We had the first seconds ready. Right away we thought it was too new and weird, but then it worked out amazingly! The music has a western inspiration and when we wrote the lyrics, Audie Murphy was chosen as a big coincidence, who was also a western actor."[10]

Joakim: "You guys are either going to love it or you're going to hate it."

Pär: "We listened to it and immediately imagined a jumping crowd. We all agreed that it was a great song."[11]

Joakim: "I like Spaghetti Westerns. It’s not that I’m a fan of anything but the music, so I had an idea to mix Spaghetti Western and metal. Everybody in theband told me I was stupid. Of course being a child as I am, I had to do it since they told me I couldn’t do it. I ended up writing the song and then I wasn’t sure – it’s kind of a playful theme, how can we, in a dignified way, honor a hero with something so playful? How can we tie this to the music? Then Audie Murphy turns up who starred in Western movies. There’s a link there, obviously. And what I really loved was reading his poems that he wrote after the war. In the song about him, he wrote a certain amount of the lyrics himself."[12]

Joakim: "I love spaghetti western music, I always thought we could mix it with metal. I was getting laughed at for that. But I did it! We thought a lot with Pär about how we could connect this music with lyrics. The music and the lyrics came in two parts. There's an American, Audie Murphy, who is one of the most decorated soldiers in World War II. He did some pretty crazy stuff that they could make a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger! [laughter] He was also very appreciated by the other soldiers on a personal level. When he came back home, he wrote a book called "To Hell and Back". He also wrote poems that we used in the lyrics:

"Crosses grow on Anzio Where no soldiers sleep And where hell is six feet deep"

After that, he became an actor and played the lead role in the movie "To Hell and Back" and then he played in Hollywood westerns. You could think it was made up!"[13]

Joakim: "They say it's better never to meet your heroes, but I would probably chose Audie Murphy. Maybe not necessarily because of what he did during World War II, but because of how he overcame post-traumatic stress. Back then it was called shell shock. Murphy first took drugs to calm down, then became depressed and locked himself in a hotel room for a week, carrying a loaded gun. He reportedly told himself that he would either get out of there free of drugs and depression or shoot himself. If I could, I would like to hear from him what happened to him during that week in the hotel."[14]

Historic fact

This is the story of Audie Murphy, the most decorated US soldier in WW2. There are simply too many stories about his deeds to even try to cover them in such a short text, but among his fellow soldiers he was truly a hero and a great inspiration. When he returned from the war he suffered heavily from post-traumatic stress (back then called shell shock) and after a long time on medicines he finally locked himself into a motel for 1 week to cure his addiction of the drugs. After this he became a very famous movie star and even acted in the movie about himself.[15]


  • The song became a staple in the band's live shows since its premiere.
  • The song replaced Metal Crüe as the band's last song played live on their concerts starting from the 2017 Leg of The Last Tour.


A short man from Texas
A man of the wild
Thrown into combat
Where bodies lie piled

Hides his emotions
His blood’s running cold
Just like his victories,
His story unfolds

A white light
If there’d be
Any glory in war

Let it rest
On men like him

Dead men will never come back

Crosses grow on Anzio
Where no soldiers sleep
And where hell’s six feet deep
That death does wait
There’s no debate
So charge and attack
Going to Hell and Back

A man of the 15th
A man of Can Do
Friends fall around him
And yet he came through

Let them fall face down
If they must die
Making it easier
To say goodbye

A white light
If there’d be,
Any glory in war

Let it rest
On men like him

Who went to Hell and came back

Crosses grow on Anzio
Where no soldiers sleep
And where hell is six feet deep
That death does wait
There’s no debate
So charge and attack
Going to Hell and Back

Oh gather round me
And listen while I speak
Of a war
Where Hell is six feet deep

And all along the shore
Where cannons still roar
They’re haunting my dreams
They’re still there when I sleep

Crosses grow on Anzio
Where no soldiers sleep
and where hell is six feet deep
That death does wait
There’s no debate
So charge and attack
Going to Hell and Back



To Hell and Back





SABATON - To Hell And Back (Official Music Video)


Sabaton - To Hell And Back (Live at Resurrection Fest EG 2017)

Sabaton History


To Hell and Back – Audie Murphy – Sabaton History 004 -Official-