The Wall is a rock opera by Pink Floyd. It is also a double album. The album was released on November 30, 1979. With the exception of "Young Lust", "Comfortably Numb", and "Run Like Hell", all of the songs are written solely by Roger Waters. (Those three songs were written by both Waters and David Gilmour).
The album is semi-autobiographical in nature, as some of the things that the main character goes through actually happened to Waters. It is also notable that this album's story seems to contain hints of being cyclical, as the final song, "Outside the Wall", ends with the cut off sentence, "Isn't this where-", while the opening song, "In the Flesh?" begins with, "we came in?", thus finishing the sentence begun at the end of the album, implying that it never really ends. Also, the beginning of "In the Flesh?" continues the melody of "Outside the Wall". This cyclical nature could be due to the album being about how as every time one person breaks down a 'wall' isolating them from society, another person creates one around themselves.
Pink is a rock star who has gone through many unfortunate things during his life. This album explains the events.
"In The Flesh?": In this song, Pink tells the listener that there is a story that he is going to tell. Then he says things like "Lights. Where are all the sound effects?", signifying that there will be a performance. At the end of the song, you can hear a plane blowing up something, followed by a baby crying, thereby maybe showing that his dad died in the explosion.
"The Thin Ice": At the beginning of this song, we hear Pink crying as a baby. Pink's dad was killed during a war. The line "Dragging behind you the silent reproach / Of a million tear-stained eyes" signifies the total destruction done by war to the families of victims.
"Another Brick In The Wall, Part I": In this song, Pink is older than in the last song and understands that his father is gone, but does not understand that his father died in the war. Pink says that his father was "Another brick in the wall", showing that Pink is angry that his father is not there, and that this was one of the main reasons of (as we will find out as time goes on) Pink's isolation from the world outside (the wall).
"Happiest Days Of Our Lives" is about how back in the day (when Pink was a child), teachers used to do things to children to hurt them (such as caning them) and make them feel bad about themselves.
"Another Brick In The Wall, Part II" is about how Pink wishes that they could have risen up against their abusive teachers. It also says "All in all / You're just a brick in the wall", saying that school is another thing that helps him build the psychological wall.
"Mother" talks about how Pink's mother was extremely overprotective. She also "helps build the wall", thereby showing that his mother's overbearingness helped him become more isolated.
"Goodbye Blue Sky" is all about World War II, and about one of the bombings, and how they could not see the sky through all of the planes that were there.
"Empty Spaces" is about how there are still empty places in the wall. At this point, Pink is married. However, Pink and his wife are having trouble because he already does not talk to her that much.
"Young Lust": Pink has been on tour for a long time, because he is a rock star. At the end of this song, he tries to call his wife. He learns that his wife has been having an affair.
"One Of My Turns": Devastated by learning about his wife's affair, he invites a groupie to his apartment. At first, the groupie tries to get the attention of Pink, who is too busy thinking about his wife. Then, he starts to destroy the room. (Pink was probably drinking backstage, as well as probably doing drugs).
"Don't Leave Me Now": During this song, Pink is very sad that his wife has cheated on him. He is thinking about her, and wants to ask her to not leave him.
"Another Brick In The Wall, Part III": Pink, so upset that his wife has left him, decides to continue the wall. He eventually builds the wall.
"Goodbye Cruel World" signifies that he is done with the wall, and thereby has cut himself off from the outside world.
"Hey You": During this song, Pink realizes that he must destroy the wall. However, he cannot destroy it, despite his apparent desire to do so.
"Is There Anybody Out There?": At this point, Pink really wants to escape the wall that he has created. He is basically screaming to anyone that can hear him (nobody) to let him out of the psychedelic wall within which he has trapped himself.
"Nobody Home" is about his old relationship with his wife. It is about how he is sad about how it ended.
"Vera": The title is a reference to Vera Lynn, whose song "We'll Meet Again" was popular during World War II. This song might be about how Pink will never be able to see his father again, unlike what Vera has "promised".
"Bring The Boys Back Home" is about how Pink will, again, never be able to see his father, and how he wants them to bring the troops home so that nobody will suffer the same fate that he did in the future.
"Comfortably Numb": Pink has overdosed in his room. His manager comes into Pink's room to take him away to a show that he has to do, finding him overdosed. A doctor comes (voice of Gilmour) and tells him not to worry. He injects Pink with something to "Keep him going through the show". They then drag him out of his room, as he transforms into being extremely out of it.
"The Show Must Go On" basically states that although Pink is out of it, the show must go on.
"In The Flesh": Pink is under the impression that he is a neo-Nazi leader, with England being the country that is under control. Pink asks if there are any "queers" in the audience. Then, he begins to point out people simply by the way that they look ("That one looks Jewish / That one's a coon").
"Run Like Hell": In this song, Pink sends his "minions" to go and to hurt people that he would not like and that are not tolerated in a neo-Nazi society.
"Waiting For The Worms" is basically about Pink making a rally speech, about how if they want to restore England to its former glory, they must go under the rule of Pink ("All you have to do is follow the worms").
"Stop": Pink is scared by the thoughts that he has just had. He asks for the madness to stop.
"The Trial": Pink is put on trial in his mind for being "caught red-handed showing feelings / Showing feelings of an almost human nature." Then the schoolmaster, Pink's wife, and his mother testify at the trial. The judge orders Pink to "expose himself" as a punishment, by tearing down the wall.
"Outside The Wall" is not part of the main plot. This song rather serves as an ending song, as opposed to the plot.
Record Track Listing
This is a double album, meaning that it has two discs to it, bringing the sides up to four sides.
- In The Flesh? (3:19)
- The Thin Ice (2:27)
- Another Brick In The Wall, Part I (3:21)
- The Happiest Days Of Our Lives (1:46)
- Another Brick In The Wall, Part II (4:00)
- Mother (5:36)
- Goodbye Blue Sky (2:45)
- Empty Spaces (2:10)
- Young Lust (3:25)
- One Of My Turns (3:35)
- Don't Leave Me Now (4:16)
- Another Brick In The Wall, Part III (1:14)
- Goodbye Cruel World (1:13)
- Hey You (4:40)
- Is There Anybody Out There? (2:44)
- Nobody Home (3:26)
- Vera (1:35)
- Bring The Boys Back Home (1:21)
- Comfortably Numb (6:24)
- The Show Must Go On (1:36)
- In The Flesh (4:13)
- Run Like Hell (4:19)
- Waiting For The Worms (4:04)
- Stop (0:30)
- The Trial (5:13)
- Outside The Wall (1:41)
Eight Track Tape Track Listing
- In the Flesh?
- The Thin Ice
- Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)
- The Happiest Days of Our Lives
- Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) (Shortened)
- Goodbye Blue Sky
- Empty Spaces
- Young Lust
- One of My Turns
- Don't Leave Me Now
- Another Brick in the Wall (Part 3) (Shortened)
- Goodbye Cruel World (Shortened)
- Hey You (Introduction)
- Hey You (Conclusion)
- Is There Anybody Out There?
- Nobody Home
- Bring the Boys Back Home
- Comfortably Numb (Shortened)
- The Show Must Go On
- In the Flesh
- Run Like Hell
- Waiting For The Worms
- The Trial
- Outside the Wall (Shortened)
The album's total length is 1 hr, 21 minutes, and 27 seconds.
Pink Floyd The Wall
In 1982, MGM/UA released a movie called Pink Floyd The Wall, the movie version of the album. It stars Bob Geldof as Pink. It was directed by Alan Parker. The film contains 15 minutes of elaborate cartoons by Gerald Scarfe. It was written by Roger Waters. It is highly metaphorical in nature.