Pink Floyd’s album The Wall is perhaps one of the most engaging and most innovative albums in music history. Recorded in 1979 and made into a movie in 1982, The Wall tells the story of a guy named Pink Floyd, who lost his father in World War 2 at a very young age.
Raised by an overprotective mother, Pink led a bleak and prison life, eventually falling into drugs. As a result of drugs and dark memories, Pink slowly descends into a frenzied emptiness. This immortal album is inspired by the real-life of 2 members of Pink Floyd. Pink’s childhood is very similar to that of Roger Waters, the lead author of The Wall.
Waters, who lost her father in World War II, instilled in the album her own feelings of loneliness and abandonment. Pink’s adult life is based on the life of former PF member Syd Barett. After suffering from mental illness from abusing psychoactive drugs, Barett was replaced by David Gilmour. Based on these real lives, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright create a mystical and chaotic adventure that explores the deepest recesses of the human psyche.
About album The Wall
The album was released in 1979, and it was Pink Floyd’s eleventh studio album. The Wall is a concept album, which means that the songs are all related to each other thematically. The lyrics were written by Roger Waters, who also served as the album’s producer. The music was composed by David Gilmour and Rick Wright. The Wall tells the story of a character named “Pink” who is struggling with mental health issues and isolation. The album deals with topics such as abandonment, fatherhood, war, and fascism.
Pink Floyd’s The Wall is an album that many people have strong opinions about. The album has been interpreted as a commentary on the different facets of life, and how they can wear away at a person until there is nothing left.
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The lyrics and their meaning
The title track The Wall tells the story of someone who has built up walls around themselves to protect them from reality – but what happens when those walls start crumbling? This blog post will explore some of these interpretations, as well as discuss the impact that The Wall had on popular culture.
Disappointingly, PF removed this bittersweet song from the album, but thankfully, it was featured in the Music Video. “When the Tigers Broke Free” is set during World War 2 in a land temporarily occupied by British troops in Anzio, Italy. The tigers here are metaphors for the German tanks attacking Anzio, and the “few hundred ordinary lives”, as part 2 of the song refers to, are the men in Pink’s father’s army. In the movie, we first see the hotel where Pink is staying, then the scene quickly transitions to the man under the kerosene lamp, smoking and cleaning his gun. We later learn that the man is Pink’s father, preparing to go to war with the Germans.
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Another notable point is that the opening song of the film, before entering the song “When The Tigers Broke Free” is a song by Vera Lynn called: “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot”.
The lyrics of that song are as follows: “Christmas comes but once a year for every girl and boy/ The laughter and the joy/ They find in each new toy./ I tell you of the little boy who lives across the way/ This fella’s Christmas is just another day…”. At this point in the movie, the vacuum cleaner starts working, and “When The Tigers Broke Free” begins.
When the song ended, Vera’s song started again: “He’s the little boy that Santa Claus forgot/ And goodness knows, he didn’t want a lot./ He sent a note to Santa, what he wanted was a drum / This broken little heart when he woke and he hadn’t come/ In the streets, yes he…”
The wall here is the mental wall that people build to block out the chaos and insecurity of the world. It is also a limit that prevents anyone from getting too close because when a person has no walls around to protect them, that person will be extremely vulnerable. In the somber beginning of the “Brick In The Wall” trilogy, young Pink recalls that his father died, having flown “across the ocean” because of the war. All he left behind were memories, pictures in the album. In this song, Pink expresses for the first time the bitterness he feels about his father who died in the war, leaving nothing but memories. “Daddy, what d’ya leave behind for me?”
Final thoughts on The Wall
Despite being released more than thirty-five years ago The Wall remains an incredibly popular and influential album. The Wall is a concept album, but its songs can also be enjoyed individually. The music on this record has been performed live by Roger Waters with his own band in 2010/11, as well as during The Division Bell tour which took place in 1994/1995. Pink Floyd’s The Wall tells the story of someone who built up walls around himself to protect him from reality – but what happens when those walls start crumbling?
This blog post will explore some of these interpretations, as well as discuss the impact that The Wall had on popular culture. That was my content for writing about “The Wall”!!!