Saturday, January 19, 1980

Pink Floyd's The Wall hit #1 in the U.S.

First posted 11/30/2012; updated 11/24/2020.

The Wall

Pink Floyd


Released: November 30, 1979


Charted: December 8, 1979


Peak: 115 US, 3 UK, 113 CN, 14 AU


Sales (in millions): 11.5 US, 0.3 UK, 30.7 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Disc 1:

  1. In the Flesh?
  2. The Thin Ice
  3. Another Brick in the Wall Part I
  4. The Happiest Days of Our Lives
  5. Another Brick in the Wall Part II (7/5/79; 1 US, 1 CL, 42 AR, 1 UK, 2 AU, platinum single)
  6. Mother (4 CL)
  7. Goodbye Blue Sky (13 CL)
  8. Empty Spaces
  9. Young Lust (2 CL, live: 4/8/00, 15 AR)
  10. One of My Turns
  11. Don't Leave Me Now
  12. Another Brick in the Wall Part III
  13. Goodbye Cruel World

Disc 2:

  1. Hey You (1 CL)
  2. Is There Anybody Out There? (21 CL)
  3. Nobody Home
  4. Vera
  5. Bring the Boys Back Home
  6. Comfortably Numb (1 CL; live: 12/3/88, 24 AR)
  7. The Show Must Go On (22 CL)
  8. In the Flesh
  9. Run Like Hell (5/10/80, 53 US, 2 CL)
  10. Waiting for the Worms
  11. Stop
  12. The Trial (19 CL)
  13. Outside the Wall


Total Running Time: 81:00


The Players:

  • Roger Waters (vocals, bass)
  • David Gilmour (vocals, guitar)
  • Nick Mason (drums, percussion)
  • Richard Wright (keyboards)

Rating:

4.278 out of 5.00 (average of 24 ratings)


Quotable: “Has become synonymous with, if not the very definition of, the term ‘concept album.’” – Bret Urick, TheWallAnalysis.com


Awards:

About the Album:

Pink Floyd’s The Wall is “a narcissistic, double-album rock opera” AMG which “has become synonymous with, if not the very definition of, the term ‘concept album.’” BU Its “overriding themes are based upon the causes and implications of self-imposed isolation, symbolised by the metaphorical wall of the title.” WK The main character, “an emotionally crippled rock star” AMG “is largely based on the band’s bassist and lyricist Roger Waters.” WK The story traces the protagonist “from his boyhood days in war-torn England to his self-imposed isolation as a world-renownedrock star, leading to a climax that is as questionably cathartic as it is destructive.” BU

The album’s concept “germinated during the band’s 1977 Animals tour when frontman Roger Waters, growing disillusioned with stardom and the godlike status that fans grant to simple rock stars, became disenchanted with the seemingly mindless audience and spit in the face of a concert-goer.” BU The tour was Floyd’s first experience “playing in large stadiums” WK and Waters was “depressed about playing to such large audiences.” WK He experienced a “sense of alienation on the tour…and…sometimes felt like constructing a wall or a barrier on the stage to separate himself from the audience.” WK

The rest of the band weren’t immediately receptive to Waters’ concept and there was ample friction during the recording process. Waters even “insisted that [member Richard] Wright leave, else he would refuse to release The Wall. Several days later…Wright quit…His name did not appear anywhere on the finished album,” WK but he “returned to perform during later concert performances as a salaried musician.” WK

The album’s most successful song was Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2. The band were reluctant to release the commentary on public education as a single, but when a multitracked vocal of a group of schoolchildren was added to the mix, “Waters was ‘beaming’ at the result.” WK

While not singles, Mother and Comfortably Numb proved very successful at classic rock radio. The former is an attack on an overprotective mother with the classic wall reference in the line, “Mother, did it need to be so high?” The latter serves as the central song on the album; some fans consider the dissection of a rock star falling victim to drugs “the quintessential Pink Floyd song.” BU

With such an involved and complicated story, it was no wonder that the album spurned dedicated followers as well as mixed reviews. The All Music Guide called the album “a series of fragments that are held together by larger numbers” AMG and said that while “the fully developed songs are among the finest of Pink Floyd’s later work, …The Wall is primarily a triumph of production: its seamless surface, blending melodic fragments and sound effects, makes the musical shortcomings and questionable lyrics easy to ignore. But if The Wall is examined in depth, it falls apart, since it doesn’t offer enough great songs to support its ambition, and its self-serving message and shiny production seem like relics of the late-‘70s Me Generation.” AMG A reviewer for Melody Maker said, “‘I’m not sure whether it’s brilliant or terrible, but I find it utterly compelling.’” WK

Over the years, the album has proved immensely successful and has seen several reincarnations. An elaborately-staged, but very brief, tour opened on February 7, 1980, in Los Angeles. A wall was constructed between the band and the audience during the show. A film version, directed by Alan Parker, was also released in July 1982. In 1990, Roger Waters and guests staged a one-time concert in celebration of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. In 2010, Roger Waters launched a hugely-successful solo tour in which he resurrected the elaborately-staged version of the album.


Notes: A live production of the album recorded in 1980 and 1981 was released in 2000 as Is There Anybody Out There? Roger Waters also performed the album live with numerous guest artists in 1990 in conjunction with the fall of the Berlin Wall. That was released that same year as The Wall – Live in Berlin.

Review Sources:


Related DMDB Page(s):

Saturday, January 5, 1980

1/5/1980: Kenny Rogers topped the country chart with “Coward of the County”

First posted 1/4/2020.

Coward of the County

Kenny Rogers

Writer(s):Roger Bowling/Billy Ed Wheeler (see lyrics here)


First Charted: November 17, 1979


Peak: 3 US, 11 CB, 11 HR, 6 RR, 5 AC, 13 CW, 12 UK, 13 CN, 6 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 44.8 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Review:

Kenny Rogers became the quintessential crossover artist in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s as he landed multiple hits on the country, pop, and adult contemporary charts. “Coward of the County” was his seventh #1 country hit and fourth top ten pop hit. Its #3 peak was his highest on that chart yet. It also topped the Cash Box singles chart in America and landed at #1 in the UK, Canada, and Ireland. WK

Rogers assumes the role of narrator in the song, telling the fictional story of his nephew Tommy. His father’s violent behavior lands him in prison, where he dies, but first he makes his son promise not to make the same mistakes, informing him, “Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man.” Tommy’s pacifism earns him the nickname of “Coward of the Country.”

As a young man, however, he unleashes his anger when the Gatlin boys gang rape his girlfriend, Becky. He approaches them in a barroom and takes all three out. At the end of the song, he makes a plea to his later father to understand that he tried to stay out of trouble, but that “Sometimes you gotta fight when you’re a man.”

The reference to the Gatlin boys stirred controversy because of its possible reference to the country group The Gatlin Brothers. Rogers said he didn’t make the connection or would have asked for the lyric to be changed. Both songwriters denied the reference, claiming they tried other names that “just didn’t have the grit.” SF Larry Gatlin claimed that writer Roger Bowling had a personal grudge against him, although he didn’t know why. WK After the song came out, Larry said “we started getting accused of being rapists…I think they could have showed a little good taste and used somebody else’s name.” SF


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