Pink Floyd — Brick in the Wall

«Another Brick in the Wall» is, arguably, among the most famous songs in the history of rock and roll, and a staple of laser rock nights at local planetariums.

Both the showpiece of Pink Floyd’s 1979 album, The Wall, and a highly political track, which has been used as a protest song, «Another Brick in the Wall» is actually three songs. On The Wall, the song is split into three parts, respectively titled «Part I», «Part II», and «Part III.» Most people, however, are most familiar with «Part II», as this was the part that later turned into a hit single, almost winning a Grammy Award.

Since The Wall was a concept album-perhaps the greatest concept album ever-the metaphor and storyline of its most famous song is sometimes misunderstood. While «Another Brick in the Wall» is usually associated with the children’s chorus from «Part II», The Wall was also a film, and a controversial one at that. The film and album versions of The Wall are, essentially, the story of Pink, who is suffering some sort of a mental breakdown. The bricks that are mentioned in «Another Brick in the Wall» are metaphors for traumatic happenings and events that create a «wall» in Pink’s head, with this wall representing Pink’s isolation from society, and eventually, his mental downfall.

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Although all three songs were written by Roger Waters, David Gilmour and the boys’ choir from the Islington Green School steal the show on «Part II.» Thematically, this part deals with students rebelling against an abusive teacher. In the film version, the schoolchildren, earlier seen exiting a maze and entering a grinder, destroy the school and kill their teacher. This created a lot of controversy, even though the actions were hazy daydreams by main character Pink. A real life controversy came out of the song, also, when black students at a South African school protested the Apartheid-influenced curriculum, in part by screaming lyrics from «Another Brick in the Wall.» This was known as the Elsie’s River Uprising.

«Another Brick in the Wall» has, for years, been a source of fascination for other bands, provoking a series of covers. Prominent acts such as Korn, D12, Dirty Vegas, and short-lived super-group Class of ’99 have all tried their hand at the song, with mixed results. Regardless, though, «Another Brick in the Wall» guitar tablature is readily available on the Internet and at music shops, and if you’re interested in covering it yourself, it’s not terrifically hard to learn, musically. Regardless, though, there is a plethora of information that exists concerning this song, both politically and musically. Pink Floyd is, rightfully, among the most important acts to ever change the face of rock and roll, and their brilliant album, The Wall, will always be remembered as a title that was as intelligent as it was visionary, notorious as it was revered.

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