The Day Pink Floyd Took Another Brick In The Wall To The Top

(Gibson) On this day in 1980, Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)," started a four-week run at no. 1 on the U.S. singles chart. Also no. 1 in the U.K. Gibson takes a look back: By the end of the '70s, Pink Floyd had been around for more than a decade, morphing from Syd Barrett's psychedelic project into a progressive rock behemoth fronted by Roger Waters and David Gilmour. Although they had become hugely successful around the world, the band had never really conquered the pop charts and, seemingly, weren't interested in such a pursuit. Their expertise was geared to album-oriented rock (i.e. the classics The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here) and dense, winding, multi-part epics (such as "Echoes" or "Dogs"). But that was about to change.

Following Pink Floyd's 1977 In the Flesh tour, Waters began working on material that dealt with abandonment and isolation partially inspired by uncaring concertgoers and his own personal history. The bassist and songwriter's desire to build a wall between him and the audience was channeled into Floyd's 1979 album, The Wall, a dark rock opera that marked a departure from the band's recent albums (certainly in structure, if not in tone).

In working on the album, Waters decided to create three parts of a song that would become "Another Brick in the Wall." Sharing the basic melody and refrain, the three parts came at different points in the story, all bringing the main character (named Pink) to isolate himself from other people. Originally, all three parts were meant to be relatively brief, with one verse and one chorus each. Parts 1 (about the death of his father) and 3 (about drugs and the end of a relationship) kept to that idea, but Part 2 ended up a little different. The middle composition, dealing with an imaginary children's revolt against abusive schoolmasters, grew in stature during the recording process.

The credit for this goes to Bob Ezrin, a producer who had worked with Alice Cooper, KISS and Peter Gabriel and was brought in to helm The Wall sessions. Upon hearing the rough version of "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)," Ezrin recognized that the song had the potential to be a hit. His suggestion was met with harsh resistance from Waters and the band. more on this story

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