On this day, 40 years ago, Pink Floyd released “The Wall”.
At that time, I was in the first year of 6th form, at that age where you are still trying to find and define your musical identity, which for soem reason mattered more in those days. As someone who’d bene brought up with classical and church music, and who played in orchestras, prog inevitably drew me in.
And then Pink Floyd released this. The ever so worldly upper sixth formers I knew (in what I would now know to call a vertical tutor group), were astonished that the album appeared to be so commercial, and were even more shocked that they managed to get a number one single from it, “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2”. Possibly my least favourite song on the entire album, with its “We don’t need no education” refrain.
But the album had absolute gems, and even at first it didn’t seem to compare to Dark Side, or Wish You Were Here, some lyrics just stood out, and stand the test of time.
“Hey You”, with its spiky acoustic guitar, and the sound of fingers sliding across the frets:
Hey you, out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old
Can you feel me?
Hey you, standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles
Can you feel me?
Hey you, don’t help them to bury the light
Don’t give in without a fight
The despair of “Nobody Home”:
I’ve got a little black book with my poems in.
Got a bag with a toothbrush and a comb in.
When I’m a good dog, they sometimes throw me a bone in.
Side 4 was never a comfortable listen (yes kids, albums had sides in those days). You had to remind yourself the fascist Pink was part of a dream sequence, but you know there’s plenty of people around today who would happily say
“There’s one in the spotlight, he don’t look right to me”
Finally, redemption in “Outside the Wall”.
Some hand in hand
And some gathered together in bands.
The bleeding hearts and artists
Make their stand.
And when they’ve given you their all
Some stagger and fall, after all it’s not easy
Banging your heart against some mad bugger’s wall
But let’s face it, the top track is the last one in side 3, with two fabulous Dave Gilmour guitar solos. This is from the band’s “reunion” in 2005. Enjoy