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"Another Brick in the Wall"
Song by Pink Floyd

from the album The Wall

Released 30 November 1979 (UK)
8 December 1979 (US)
Recorded April-November, 1979
Genre Progressive rock
Length 8:24 (All three parts)
3:10 (Part I)
3:59 (Part II)
1:14 (Part III)
Label Harvest (UK)
Columbia (US)
Capitol (US)
Writer Roger Waters
Producer Bob Ezrin, David Gilmour, Roger Waters
The Wall track listing
"The Thin Ice"
(2 of disc 1)
----
"The Happiest Days of Our Lives"
(4 of disc 1)
----
"Don't Leave Me Now"
(11 of disc 1)
"Another Brick in the Wall"
(3/5/12 of disc 1)
"The Happiest Days of Our Lives"
(4 of disc 1)
----
"Mother"
(6 of disc 1)
----
"Goodbye Cruel World"
(13 of disc 1)
"Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)"
Single by Pink Floyd
from the album The Wall
B-side "One of My Turns"
Released November 1979 (UK)
January 1980 (US)
Format 7"
Recorded April-November, 1979
Genre Progressive rock, funk rock, art rock
Length 3:11
Label Harvest (UK)
Columbia (US)
Writer(s) Roger Waters
Producer Bob Ezrin, David Gilmour, Roger Waters
Pink Floyd singles chronology
"Have a Cigar"
(1975)
"Another Brick in the Wall"
(1979)
"Comfortably Numb"
(1979)
Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd track listing
"The Happiest Days of Our Lives"
(3)
"Another Brick in the Wall, Part II"
(4)
"Echoes"
(5)

"Another Brick in the Wall" is the title of three songs set to variations of the same basic theme, on Pink Floyd's 1979 rock opera, The Wall, subtitled Part I (work title Reminiscing) , Part II (work title Education), and Part III (work title Drugs), respectively, all of which were written by Pink Floyd's bassist and then lead songwriter, Roger Waters. It has become one of the most famous Pink Floyd songs.[citation needed]

Part II is a protest song against rigid schooling in general and boarding schools in particular,[1] which has led to the song being banned in South Africa.[2] It was also released as a single and provided the band's only number one hit in the UK, the US, West Germany and many other countries. In the UK, it was their first single since 1968's "Point Me at the Sky", the song was also the final number one single of the 1970s. For Part II, Pink Floyd received a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by a Rock Duo or Group and lost to Bob Seger's "Against the Wind". In addition, Part II was number 375 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.[3] The single sold over 4 million copies worldwide. In Israel Part II was chosen as the best rock song of the 1980s (although it was issued before 1980), in a survey by one of the main radio stations Israel Army Radio held at the end of 1989.[citation needed]

The single, as well as the album The Wall, were banned in South Africa in 1980 after the song was adopted by supporters of a nationwide school boycott protesting racial inequities in education.[4]

Contents

Concept

Each of the three parts have a similar, if not the same, tune and lyrical structure (though not lyrics, aside from the "all in all" refrain), and each is louder and more enraged than the one before, rising from the sadness of Part I to the protesting Part II to the furious Part III. This tune is repeated in almost every song on the album, albeit in a different form each time.

Part I

Composition

Part I of the song is very quiet dynamically and features a long, subdued guitar solo. The vocals are softer and gentler in tone than in Parts II and III, although there is a short, sharp rise in dynamics and tone for a brief period towards the end of the lyrical portion. Sniffing, shouting, wailing, calling, and children can be faintly heard in the background, along the lines of "You! Stand still, laddie!"

Plot

The Thin Ice discussed during the previous song breaks when Pink becomes older and learns of the death of his father. Pink is devastated by this reality and begins to build The Wall.

Film version

Pink's mother is seen praying in a church after the death of her husband overseas. Pink, however, is, at this point, oblivious of his death, and can be seen playing with a toy airplane. The song continues with Pink playing in a public park after his mother leaves him to go shopping. He sees a man who he takes a liking to in the absence of his own father. The man gives Pink a lift onto a ride, and it's clear Pink feels as if this man is his real father. Pink follows the man's son around, copying him, but doesn't understand why the other boy's father isn't paying attention to him. He grabs the man's hand but is shooed away, only to grab the man's hand again. The man pushes Pink away again, and dejectedly he sits on a swing.

Part II

Problems listening to this file? See media help.

Composition

In the album version of The Wall, "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II" segues from "The Happiest Days of Our Lives", with a trademark Roger Waters scream. The song has strong drums, a well-known bass line and distinctive guitar parts in the background with a smooth, yet edgy guitar solo. The song also features a group of school children for lead vocals in the second verse: as the song ends, the sounds of a school yard are heard, along with the teacher who continues to lord it over the children's lives by shouting such things as "Wrong! Do it again!" which somehow sounds mocking, and "If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?!", and "You! Yes! You behind the bikesheds! Stand still, laddie!", all of it dissolving into the dull drone of a phone ringing and ending with a deep sigh.

School choir

For "Part II", Pink Floyd needed a school choir, and producer Bob Ezrin requested that sound engineer Nick Griffiths find one. Griffiths approached music teacher Alun Renshaw of Islington Green School,[5] around the corner from their Britannia Row Studios. Though the school received a lump sum payment of £1000, there was no contractual arrangement for royalties from record sales. Under 1996 UK copyright law, they became eligible for royalties from broadcasts, and after royalties agent Peter Rowan traced choir members through the website Friends Reunited and other means, they claimed their payments. Contrary to press reports, this did not involve suing Pink Floyd. Music industry professionals estimated that each student would be owed around £500.[6]

Plot

After being insulted by the teacher, Pink dreams that the kids in his school begin to protest against their abusive teachers.

Film version

Following "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" Pink starts to daydream during his class. He imagines several students marching in unison to the beat of the song, following a path until they fall blindly into an oversized meat-grinder to re-emerge as putty-faced clones void of individual distinction. Starting with Gilmour's guitar solo, the children destroy the school building using hammers (foreshadowing the subsequent neo-fascist Nazi-like animated sequence with its marching hammers) and crowbars, creating a bonfire, dragging their teacher out of the burning school kicking and screaming. The song ends with Pink rubbing his hand, which the teacher slapped with a ruler in the previous song.

During the song, the teacher's "meat and pudding" lines are folded into the first few lines of the school choir's lines, and are performed by the teacher in the film, played by Alex McAvoy.

Music video

Prior to the film, the first video for the track, directed by Alan Parker, depicted students running in a playground and the teacher puppet from The Wall concerts was used. The video also mixed in some animated scenes later used in "The Trial" and "Waiting for the Worms". The children who sang on "Another Brick in the Wall (Pt. II)" were not allowed to appear in the video as they didn't hold Equity Cards.[7]

Once the film was completed, the actual scenes of "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" and "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II" were combined into a new video, which now represents the music video for "Another Brick in the Wall".

Alternate versions

  • The single version had a short guitar intro but fades out earlier, ending after approximately 3 minutes 11 seconds.
  • The 1981 compilation A Collection of Great Dance Songs includes a hybrid (3:54) version which, like the single version, omits the segue from "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" but retains the longer playground ending of the studio version.
  • The versions from live albums and videos Delicate Sound of Thunder and P*U*L*S*E (recorded after Waters' departure from the band) feature the main guitar solo by David Gilmour, followed by an additional tapped guitar riff by touring guitarist Tim Renwick. These are backed by Guy Pratt's slap bass lines.
  • The version from Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980-81 (from the 1980–81 concerts at Earls Court, London) also features an extended solo by Snowy White and an organ solo by Richard Wright.
  • In 1990, prior to The Wall Live in Berlin a rare, limited edition promo CD was issued to radio stations (Mercury CSK 2126) which included When the Tigers Broke Free and a new version of "Another Brick in the Wall part 2" re-recorded by Roger Waters and the Bleeding Heart Band
  • The version from The Wall Live in Berlin has Cyndi Lauper singing lead vocals, and features Rick DiFonzo playing the original solo, Snowy White playing a second guitar solo, Peter Wood playing an organ solo, and Thomas Dolby playing a synthesiser solo.
  • The song was included with "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" in the compilation Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd, and segues into the first note of an edited version of "Echoes".
  • Another version of this video featured children with faceless masks arriving on a train, and several scenes feature a "conveyor belt" of school desks which the students sit at after marching through a steel tunnel; and even another machine featuring a hammer built against the side, pounding up and down to make it run, again referring to the "marching hammers".

Chart

Chart (1979–1980) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart 1
Austrian Singles Chart 1
Danish Singles Chart 1
French Singles Chart 1
German Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 31
Spanish Singles Chart 1
Swedish Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1

Part III

Composition

The song is dynamically loud, and features the once subtle bass line, now much louder, to express Pink's rage. It is also the shortest 'part' of "Another Brick In The Wall".

Plot

Pink decides to finish this wall as a result of his rage after his wife's betrayal. He states that he has seen the "writing on the wall". He concludes that he no longer needs anything at all, dismissing the people in his life as just "bricks in the wall".

Film version

In the film, the song is accompanied by a montage of events that contributed to the construction of the wall.

Personnel

Selected single sales

Country Certification Sales Certification date Comment
France Gold [14] 841,000 1980
United Kingdom Platinum [15] 995,000 January 1980
USA Gold [16] 1,000,000 03/24/1980 Re-certified platinum 9/25/01, same sales level.
USA Gold [17] 500,000 05/08/2008 Digital Sales Award
Germany Gold [18] 150,000 1993

Cover versions

"Another Brick in the Wall, Pts. 1-3"
Single by Korn
from the album Greatest Hits, Vol. 1
Released 2004
Recorded 2004
Genre Alternative metal
Length 7:08
Label Epic Records
Producer Jonathan Davis, Korn, and Frank Filipetti
Korn singles chronology
"Word Up!"
(2004)
"Another Brick in the Wall, Pts. 1-3"
(2004)
"Twisted Transistor"
(2005)
  • A teacher in Chicago cut his own record as a rebuttal to Pink Floyd, changing the lyrics to "We all need an education."[19]
  • In 1986, à;GRUMH... covered "Part II" on their Underground EP.
  • In 1995, Jaz Coleman released an album Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd, including symphonic arrangements of Pink Floyd songs including "Another Brick in the Wall".
  • In 1998, for the film The Faculty, "Part II" was covered by Class of '99. A cover of "Part I" also appeared on the soundtrack album.
  • In 1999, the British Rock Symphony with Eric Burdon released a cover of "Part II".
  • In 1999, ApologetiX parodied the song under the name "Kick in the Wall Pt. 2" on their album Biblical Graffiti.
  • Since 2001, Umphrey's McGee has performed a cover of "Another Brick in the Wall" over 20 times live. On Halloween 2008, they combined "Another Brick in the Wall" with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" to create a unique mash-up song.
  • In 2001, Luther Wright and the Wrongs released Rebuild the Wall, a country and western version of The Wall, including cover versions of "Another Brick in the Wall".
  • In 2004, Korn released their version of the song on the compilation album Greatest Hits Volume 1, consisting of all three parts of "Another Brick in the Wall" and "Goodbye Cruel World".
  • In 2005, rock group Parason made a cover version of "Part II" named Vaša škoła (Ваша школа), meaning Your school in Belarusian.
  • In 2005, Keller Williams released a bluegrass version of the song on the album Grass.
  • Lounge/comedy group Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine covered "Part II" on their 2006 album The Sunny Side of the Moon: The Best of Richard Cheese.
  • In 2007, Eric Prydz released a remix of the song, entitled "Proper Education" which was released as a single.
  • In 2008, the song was covered by the Taliesin Orchestra on the band's Rock Rhapsody album.
  • Stahlhammer covers the song on their Killer Instinkt album.
  • Bob Rivers made two parodies called "Another Dick In The Mall" & "Another Kick In The Balls"

See also

Footnotes

References

  • Fitch, Vernon. The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia (3rd edition), 2005. ISBN 1-894959-24-8
  • Fitch, Vernon and Mahon, Richard, Comfortably Numb - A History of The Wall 1978-1981, 2006
Preceded by
"Walking on the Moon" by The Police
UK number one single
15 December 1979 - 12 January 1980
Succeeded by
"Brass in Pocket" by The Pretenders
Preceded by
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
March 22, 1980 – April 12, 1980
Succeeded by
"Call Me" by Blondie

External links

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