Max’s vinyl trip: The Wall – Pink Floyd

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I was first introduced to Pink Floyd by my grandma. I asked what her favorite groups were, and she simply replied: Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and Dire Straights. The first time I heard this answer I thought it was old people’s music. I wasn’t a fan of rock music, since I’m more of a indie fellow that finds himself listening to Arctic Monkeys and Oasis.

Strangely enough, I asked my grandma recently if she wanted me to burn some CDs for the CD player in her car and she said, “Sure, can I have some Pink Floyd?” So with that, I went out on to The Pirate Bay, and downloaded some of their stuff (I’m in Amsterdam, sue me!). Their ‘best of’ album called Echoes was just out so I got that because I didn’t know which albums were her favorite.

I burned the CD and started to listen to it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on this sound, it started out weird, yet turned spiritual, then good ol’ rock, and then back to weird. From that moment on, my eyes (and ears) were opened! I went then and discovered Pink Floyd album by album by album.

With some other bands out there, their ‘best of’ albums really aren’t. Most of them are a collection of the group’s best songs thrown onto a CD. Pink Floyd’s albums don’t quite work like that. Every album has a theme, and the songs on every album tells a story.

The simplistic cover of the album. Don't mind the stain, it is not part of the original packaging

I got this album as soon as I saw it in the record store. Total damage: 10€.

The Wall was released in late 1979 and tells the story of a character called ‘Pink’ (based on Pink Floyd’s front man Roger Waters). If you listen to the lyrics, there is a huge story to be told. The child Pink is described on side one, he grows up and gets married then becomes a rock star, after that he starts to isolate himself from the world (aka building his wall) on side two.

One side three, Pink recovers and discovers that isolating himself was a stupid thing to do, yet there is no hope and instead of saving himself from self-imposed isolation joins a fascist movement. Pink then starts to feel the pressure of being a rock star and collapses; a doctor pretty much has to revive him.

On side four, Pink goes mad thinking he’s a dictator of sorts. He turns his audience into a hate mob which goes on a raid of the neighborhoods nearby. After that he eventually stops being a psychopath and realizes that all what has happened is his fault.

The iconic walking hammers.

So the album is a kind of rollercoaster if you listen to all of the lyrics. But it’s a definite musical masterpiece with and all sorts of emotions tied to each song. The album is supposed to be listened to as a whole but there are a few songs that are easy to listen to on their own.

One of which is “Comfortably Numb” maybe Pink Floyd’s most popular singles ever. It describes a conversation of sorts between the doctor and Pink (in his catatonic state). The first time I heard it I thought it was pretty scary, I don’t know why.

Overall the album is a classic. One of Pink Floyd’s best, and it’s not even my favorite! This was a really wide release album that is pretty common, you should easily be able to find the album in good shape.

If you see other Pink Floyd albums like Wish You Were Here or Dark Side of The Moon (ed note: I recommend Animals). You should pick them up as well.

(Editor’s Take: Maxio is damned close to the complete story regarding the story behind the wall, but not quite correct according to many of the fans.

Pink starts building his wall when he’s just a child and his father died during WWII. It is further built because of the negative influences he has from his mother being overprotective, his wife being a controlling harpy who cheats on him when he’s on tour, and the schoolmaster who beat him as a kid.

The story continues as Pink begins to close himself off from society more and more, which is an amazing feat considering he’s an international rock star. At one point his wall is so fully complete and built that he shuts himself off and appears in a catatonic state. It’s his doctor and manager who force him to come out of his shell, using drugs, as a transformed being that appears in the songs “Run Like Hell” and “Waiting For The Worms”. He isn’t actually a facist leader nor does he incite a acts of hate at his shows, it’s all going on in his head.

At this point, the young and terrified Pink shakes the effects of the drugs (Stop) and realizes that he was wrong as his psyche starts to judge and sentence him for the crimes he committed against his own will (The Trial), as his wall has been sentenced to be torn down (Outside The Wall). It is here where I feel that Pink committed suicide because he can’t live without it and the album loops back the beginning of the first track of Side One when Waters says: “Isn’t this”…flip back to side one…”Where we came in?”

Sorry for walking all over your post Max, but this is one of my all time favorite LPs that I own from ’79. ~Xopher)

The 2 Lp's with the sleeves behind them with the lyrics printed on them

Remember, you can recommend some albums for me to listen to! The whole point of me buying vinyl is to get me interested into new forms of music and new artists. I appreciate all recommendations and will look into all of them. I like spending time in the record store so the more I look for new stuff, the happier I am.

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