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Another Brick in the Wall - Pink Floyd (1979) - All about the song: history and facts

Rock classic "Another Brick in the Wall" - Pink Floyd (1979)

History of the song "Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd (1979)

What is the incentive for teachers to love and understand their students? There are many, but one of the strongest is to prevent your student from becoming a popular musician and then singing about your image and the whole educational system in one of the hits. It's hard to imagine how the teachers of Roger Waters at Cambridgeshire School felt when they heard the song "Another Brick in the Wall - Part II", the author of which was their famous student.

"Another Brick in the Wall" - Pink Floyd (1979)
"Another Brick in the Wall" - Pink Floyd (1979)

The Pink Floyd bassist often confessed that having to go to school was akin to punishment for him, and he mentioned the educational system with undisguised disgust. According to his recollections, the teachers were focused on discipline and obedience of the pupils, and knowledge was pushed to the back burner. At the same time, insults and humiliation were considered quite normal, even habitual. In one interview, he said that the idea of composition was not to condemn teachers, but the need to speak out about unacceptable methods of education was.

The creative history of the composition began in the summer of 1978. Waters showed his colleagues the developments of "The Wall" album. Among them was the song "Another Brick in the Wall - Part II".

It was sung on behalf of the central character of The Wall, a boy named Pink Floyd. He protested in every way against the school "brainwashing" that made everyone the same and gray. The main idea of the song was commented by Waters as follows:

You won't find a more ardent admirer of education in the whole world than I am. But the education I received in the '50s in a boys' high school was too authoritarian and provoked protest. Teachers were incompetent and quickly became objects of ridicule. The song was conceived as a protest against the illusions of those who were empowered and yet could not see the truth. The song then encouraged rebellion.

Mojo, 2009

The Wall album cover
The Wall album cover

The original composition of the song was a verse and a chorus - the author wanted to play them with the sound of an acoustic guitar. As Mason recalled, it sounded "mournful, depressing. The final, clean version emerged after meticulous work in the studio, as a result of the direct intervention of producer Bob Ezrin, whose credit for the fact that the exotic for the band disco rhythm was clearly felt in the sound of the composition.

The desire to breathe fresh air into the song with the help of children's voices was also the producer's idea. The sound engineer Nick Griffiths of Britannia Row decided to find the right kids. He made an agreement with the Islington Green School Choir, which resulted in the group being willing to sing for the opportunity to make a free studio recording.

"Another Brick in the Wall" - Pink Floyd (1979)
"Another Brick in the Wall" - Pink Floyd (1979)

The result exceeded the wildest expectations. Waters said:

Even now I shudder when I remember the feelings I felt when the children sang that song.

Despite the fact that in the beginning the choral part of the children's vocals was conceived as a background, as time went on it became obvious: it should be brought to the foreground and it is to it that the main emphasis should be placed.

When Another Brick in the Wall - Part II gained worldwide popularity, it was heavily criticized, mostly for its call for educational abandonment. It was considered disadvantageous to the younger generation. Waters noted:

The song provoked a strong, violent rage in some. The idea that we don't need education was seen as down-to-earth and revolutionary. But given the context, that was not the case at all.

Images from the short film for the song "Another Brick in the Wall"
Images from the short film for the song "Another Brick in the Wall"

The participation of schoolchildren in the recording of the song also provoked an explosion of indignation among teachers and officials, as well as parents, but it only fueled interest.

The song was nominated for a Grammy, but it was not awarded. But it was included in the top 500 greatest songs in history, according to Rolling Stone and many other authoritative rankings.

Several music videos were made, including the one based on the movie "The Wall". Today this composition has become a real classic of musical history.

This is interesting

  • The double-negative construction "We don't need no education" indirectly indicates a low level of knowledge-the error may have been intentional.
  • As a result of the scandal over the lack of royalties to the children's choir, the school was paid 1,000 pounds.
  • In 1980, African students made the song the anthem of the protests.
Brick wall
Brick wall

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