‘…we came in?’
Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ celebrates it’s 30th anniversary today! It is the biggest selling double-album of ALL TIME and is widely considered to be bassist and songwriter Roger Waters’s magnum opus. He got the idea after Pink Floyd had become a stadium sell out band, and in the heat of the moment on the last show of the 1977 ‘In The Flesh’ tour in Montreal, he spat into the face of a young fan who threw a bottle at him. It is also the last album to feature the seminal Floyd line up of: Roger Waters (Bass), David Gilmour (Guitar), Richard Wright (Keyboards) and Nick Mason (Drums). Wright was fired by Waters during the recordings, but Waters allowed Wright to tour the album in 1980-81 as a paid musician. Waters then left the band in 1985 after recording ‘The Final Cut’ – a solo album in all but name – and calling Pink Floyd a “spent force”. But David Gilmour rehired Wright and with Mason, lead Pink Floyd on to astounding international success in the late 1980s and mid 1990s with two new studio albums: ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ and ‘The Division Bell’, and their respective live albums ‘Delicate Sound of Thunder’ and ‘P*U*L*S*E*’. Waters meanwhile had an average solo career after his 1987 album ‘Radio KAOS’.
But I’m here to talk about the birthday album.
For those of you who don’t know the story of the album, here is a brief summary.
‘The Wall’ follows the life and misfortune of Pink who has a mental breakdown on disc one, builds a mental wall in which he shuts out the rest of the world in his head, and must live with his wall on disc 2. Pink himself is based on Waters’s life and feared isolation about being in a huge band like Pink Floyd. Founding front man Syd Barrett who was one of Britain’s first high-profile Acid casualties in the late 1960s also makes up parts of Pink. His breakdown is brought on by: never knowing his father (who like Waters’s father was killed in the Battle of Anzio in World War 2), his mother’s smothering of him, the cruel teachers he meets at school, his wife running off with another man, and the pressures of being a world-famous rock star. After Pink destroys his hotel room and nearly kills a groupie, his management team pump him full of drugs so he can play that night’s concert. Unfortunately the drugs cause him to completely lose his mind, leaving him believing that he is the leader of a neo-nazi group. Ashamed at what he has become, Pink puts himself on trial and is sentenced to be exposed before his peers, and to TEAR DOWN THE WALL.
The album itself has some of Pink Floyd’s best-loved and most successful songs on it like: ‘Run Like Hell’, ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’, ‘Hey You’, ‘Comfortably Numb’ and the international chart-topper (plus 1979 UK Christmas No.1) ‘Another Brick in the Wall Part 2’. But every song on the album is epic, just like almost every other Pink Floyd song. I just thought you’d have heard of these.
In 1990, Roger Waters performed ‘The Wall’ live in Berlin to celebrate their wall coming down. The concert has gone down in history amongst music lovers everywhere.
The video I am leaving you with is Pink Floyd performing ‘Comfortably Numb’ at Live 8 in 2005. This was the first time: Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason played together in 24 years. It was also to be their last show as a quartet due to Wright’s death in September 2008. So this is the last song they ever played together.
What a way to say ‘Goodbye’.
‘Isn’t this where…’