When The Tigers Broke Free
Although the song was originally meant to be included on the album (and Waters considered it, along with Bring The Boys Back Home, one of the most important songs), it was eventually omitted. However, the fans can know it from the film version of The Wall, where it was used as the opening song.
The lyrics describe what is the theme of a large part of the album - the death of Roger Waters' father, who fell during the Allied landings near Anzio, Italy in January 1944.
The song was also available as a single released with The Final Cut, which only confirmed it to some of the fans that The Final Cut was nothing else than a collection of material left over from The Wall.
In The Flesh?
The album starts with the barely audible words "...we came in", which don't make any sense until one listens to the whole album and catches the words at the very end: "Isn't this where..."
The opening song's name was borrowed from the name of the 1977 Pink Floyd In The Flesh tour.
The name is in fact a genius wordplay, as the band never performed the song in the flesh. They were always substituted by the "surrogate band" (see Surrogate band), which consisted of:
Snowy White - guitar, Willie Wilson - drums, Andy Bow - bass guitar and Peter Woods - keyboards. In 1981, Snowy White was replaced by Andy Roberts. The name of the part 1 includes a question mark, so that the listeners can doubt if the people on the stage are the actual band, while the part 2 doesn't allow any doubts anymore.
The film version was sung by Bob Geldof, who portrayed the main character, Pink. Originally, Roger Waters wanted to play the part.
The Thin Ice
The first return to the members' childhood and youth. The idea of "the thin ice of modern life" might have been borrowed from the 1974 song Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of A New Day by Jethro Tull.
Another Brick In The Wall, part 1
The first brick in Pink's wall is the loss of his father. The song is typical for Waters' lyrics full of pain and the prominent, frequently reocurring bass guitar riff, sometimes covered by Gilmour's staccato guitar. On his 1987 tour, Waters played the song along with the two following songs as one. A short portion of the song was added before Another Brick In the Wall, part 2 on the 1994 Pink Floyd tour.
The Happiest Days Of Our Lives
Does anyone at all believe that what we call the school years are "the happiest days of our lives?" Roger definitely does not.
In the film, Pink is caught writing poems in class. The teacher takes them from him and to humiliate him, he reads one of them. It is the first verse of the song Money from Dark Side Of The Moon.
Another brick In The Wall, part 2
Critics used the lyrics of this song to criticise everything they did not like about Pink Floyd. Objections were raised about the song being "strongly against the education system" and about Pink Floyd involving the defenseless children in their "politics" by "forcing them" to sing about how they don't need education and thought control. The children were not even given copies of the album at first. Their teacher had to complain to EMI and then they were given the album with inscription.
In fact, in the song Waters warns us against cruel and old-fashioned teachers, who don't let the children develop freely and makes them follow old practice.
The song became one of the best known songs ever, not only for its pulsating bass riff and provocative lyrics. It is no wonder that it became the anthem of South African students revolting against the education system and was therefore banned in the country.
Waters admitted that this song was not only a criticism of his own mother but also "any other mother who is so strict she doesn't let her child live freely".
Several other musicians contributed to the song, but they were not credited. They were among others Jeff Porcano on the drums, Lee Ritenour on the guitar and an unknown keyboardist. In the film, another version with slightly different lyrics is used.
Goodbye Blue Sky
This song opened the B side of the first LP. Goodbye Blue Sky features acoustic guitar and keyboards with Gilmour's vocal, which is a sort of a sensible interlude after the epic opening and calms the music down for a while. It expresses Pink's feelings after the war.
In the film the song follows part 2 of When The Tigers Broke Free and accompanies an excellent animated sequence.
This largely instrumental song was in the film and in live concerts replaced by What Shall We Do Now, which sounds very similar.
The song contains another secret message, in fact a notorious one. Those who have the right equipment can hear these words:
Congratulations, you have just discovered the secret message. Send your answer to Old Pink, care of The Funny Farm, Chalfolt.
On the first CD edition, the song was mistakenly listed as one with Young Lust.
What Shall Do We Now
This song was omitted last minute, because the double album was likely to become a triple album, virtually unmarketable. It was too late to remove the text from the booklet as well, and so the first edition included a name of a song that was not on the album at all. In the live concerts and in the film, it accompanied Gerald Scarfe's cartoons and it is almost sure that it was added to the story additionally.
Waters asked Gilmour to share the vocal, almost as hard as in The Nile Song, with him. Waters thought of the song as "a story of almost any band on tour." The phone on which we can hear Pink's wife's lover speaking was played back, but the operator was real and did not know what he was a part of in the live performances...
One Of My Turns
Disgusted by the circumstances, his cheating wife and the dissolution of his marriage, Pink destroys a hotel room (the idea was inspired by many actual, mostly punk bands, that made this a sort of an entertainment on their tours - Nick Mason even ironically said, that many of his colleagues had made it a kind of an art and were pretty good at it).
In the film, we can see the film The Dambusters on the TV. One of the main characters is portrayed by Leonard Cheshire, who established the foundation for which Roger organised The Wall Live In Berlin show in 1990.
The guitar part, the autor of which, Lee Ritenour was not credited, was supposed to be played by Gilmour, who rejected, saying he had "no idea what to play."
The woman was originally to be voiced by Waters, but fortunately, Bob Ezrin found a woman willing to record the speech eventually.
The song was surprisingly chosen as the B-side of the Another Brick In The Wall, part 2 single.
The original CD edition listed the song as divided into two parts (at the moment when Pink's mood changes from melancholy to rage) and on some of the CDs, the song is even listed as One Of My Tunes!
Don´t Leave Me Now
Like most greedy and selfish men, Pink does not understand, why his wife left him despite all the wonderful things he had given her.
In the film, the song is accompanied by Freudian paste-ups and animations.
Another Brick In The Wall, part 3
Disgusted, Pink says he does not need anyone and anything around.
When it was performed live, a long instrumental solo followed the song. In the film, the tempo is a little different.
Goodbye Cruel World
The wall around Pink is complete, he has isolated himself from his friends and those he loved. The song closed the first LP and the part 1 of the live shows. In the wall that separated Pink Floyd from the audience there were just a few remaining gaps.
The bass guitar part in this song is, according to Waters, the best one since Careful With That Axe, Eugene.
The fact that the lyrics to this song were in the wrong place in the original booklet is yet another example of the chaos that marked the release of the album.
In the live shows, the song was played right after the intermission, while the lights were still on and nobody knew when the concert was going to continue. The band were hidden behind the wall...
Waters performed Hey You in his 1984/85 concerts and the band played it as an encore on the 1994 tour.
Is There Anybody Out There?
Pink realizes the consequences of his behaviour, but it is too late.
David Gilmour refused to fight with Waters all the time and so he invited an external musician to record the guitar, saying that he could play with his fingers, but not with his heart.
He also said it would be good to partially credit the song to Ezrin, because the song was his idea.
The seagull-like sounds might have been taken from Echoes, while the dialogues were taken from the American western series Gunsmoke (episode Flandango).
Later, Waters remade the song (adding some sounds as a background) for a certain charity organisation, ending it with the word "yes" ironically.
Still in the (now destroyed) hotel room, Pink considers his situation. The line "elastic bands keeping my shoes on" is an allusion on the behaviour of Syd Barrett few weeks before he left the band, as well as the one about "a grand piano to prop up my mortal remains" is a nag to Rick Wright.
The mentioning of an "obligatory Hendrix perm" is to remind us of Syd Barrett and his hairstyle, which indeed resembled Jimi Hendrix at times, although it was mocked by Barrett's colleagues and friends. The most famous story related to Syd's hair says that before one of the concerts, the band were standing ready on the stage, waiting for Syd to come, but nobody could find him. In the end they found him in the dressing room, rubbing a mixture of hair gel and ground Mandrax pills to his hair. Then he ran to the stage, where the bright lights melted the gel and so Syd looked (to the others' horror) like a giant melting candle...
When Waters performed the song live, for example as a part of his The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking Tour, he had various props with him on the stage. In fact it was a whole hotel room with a table, a chair, a lamp and a TV set. He could even switch programs and the sound could be heard from the PA system speakers.
A reoccurence of the war theme. Pink feels betrayed by his father's "inability" to return home, all the more because "The Forces' Sweetheart," actress and singer Vera Lynn, promised that "we will meet again some sunny day." At the beginning, we can hear a short portion of Vera Lynn's "The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot." The same song can be heard before the opening credits.
Bring The Boys Back Home
In this song, Joe Porcano, the father of Jeff Porcano, plays the strings.
A version of this song, heavily remade and with a contribution from the Pontarddulais Male Choir, is the B-side of the single When The Tigers Broke Free.
Waters said, that the song was not only about soldiers who should return from the front, but also about musicians, who should return from the tour!
Pink's manager (excellently portrayed by Bob Hoskins) comes to accompany Pink to the concert, but he is unable to do anything. The manager, who only sees the financial side of the situation, calls the doctor to give him an injection which would get him on his feet again. This was based on a real situation, when they made Waters play a concert, despite the fact that he took strong hepatitis medication.
Waters' lyrics were given a melody by David Gilmour. Gilmour considers the song the best one he ever recorded with Pink Floyd and his solo belongs to the very top of the rock scene. It is so famous it even got its own name (Come On Big Bum).
The song is so popular it was featured on every Pink Floyd tour that followed, by demand of the public and Roger Waters, who performed it at the 1991 Guitar Legends festival in Seville.
The Show Must Go On
Originally, Waters wanted to record the song in a Beach Boys-like style and even asked the Beach Boys to record the backing vocals. That went in vain after Beach Boys decide the album's content was not for them and set off for their own tour instead. Eventually, the vocals were sung by Bruce Johnston (who replaced Brian Wilson as a member of Beach Boys in 1965), Joe Chemay (an external singer of Beach Boys), Stan Farber, Jim Haas and John Joyce.
The song was meant to have 45 minutes, but on the 1994 edition it is only 30 seconds long and on the 8 CD Shine On edition it has 31 seconds. The band recorded the song again for both editions.
It was not a part of the film version.
In The Flesh
Pink gets to the stage, but thinks he is someone else. The song is a reprise of the opening song (but without the question mark in the name).
The Hammond organ is played by Freddie Mandell and the song is sung by Bob Geldof in the film version.
Although a fiction, this and the following two songs have been criticised by those who see paralells with reality. In 1987, there were racist grafitti in London that depicted the crossed hammers we know from the film or the 2000 Is There Anybody Out There? release. Although many actual skinheads act in the film (Tilburg Hammerskins), they did not approve what Geldof portrayed and protested against it.
Run Like Hell
On the first hearing, the pulsating bass and electric guitar remind us of disco, or even the "military" 2/4 tempo, which makes the song simple, but excellent backing for Waters' hard, direct lyrics.
In the first conacerts, the song could not go without the inflatable pig. Roger liked to announce it as "Run Like Fuck" and dedicate it to all the "paranoic kids in the audience."
It is also one of Gilmour's favourite pieces and he wrote the music to it when he was working on his solo album in 1978. He performed it on his 1984 tour.
Pink Floyd performed the song on several tours, often as the last encore, to which the crew ran all the light effects and pyrotechnics at once, including explosions in the front of the stage, lasers and light panels on which the names of the songs or the lyrics would appear, which often resulted in an electricity blackout.
In the film La Carrera Panamericana, Roger Waters was replaced by Guy Pratt, who changed the line "send you back to mother in a cardboard box" to "send you back to New York."
Waiting For The Worms
Pink uses a megaphone to describe the march of "the right ones" from various parts of London to Hyde Park (notice the strange laughter at 2'24").
In Waters' demo, the worms, a symbol of moral and emotional corruption, get much more space.
Pink finally starts to be concerned about what he is becoming.
In the film, this short verse is read by Pink from his own book of poetry. He recites more of his "poems," mostly fragments of lyrics we can trace in the later songs Your Possible Pasts from The Final Cut or 5.11am (The Moment Of Clarity) from Waters' solo album The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking.
In a desperate attempt to save himself, Pink turns to a trial. He himself is the judge, the plaintiff and the advocate. His only punishment and at the same time his salvation is destroying the wall, facing his situation and changing his attitude towards the society. The screaming we hear when the wall tumbles down shows us how hard it is for Pink to lose his "protective" wall.
The song, written by Waters and Ezrin, is a Watersian take on the style of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.
When the judge says he is "filled with urge to defecate," we can hear a voic crying "come on judge, shit on it!"
Outside The Wall
Waters explained the album's finale this way:
"The last song just says: Fine, so this was it, now you have seen it. It is the best we could do. And the whole album is not what we are. This is what we are. It is just to show you what we could be and what you think we are."
This song was re-recorded for the film, again with the Pontarddulais Male Choir.
Each of the live performances was different, but usually Mason played the acoustic guitar and Gilmour played the mandolin.
|English version by:|
Vít Benešovský, Jan "Johnny" Petrus