Saturday, March 22, 1980

Pink Floyd hit #1 with “Another Brick in the Wall”

Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)

Pink Floyd

Writer(s): Roger Waters (see lyrics here)

Released: November 23, 1979

First Charted: December 1, 1979

Peak: 14 US, 13 CB, 15 HR, 42 AR, 15 UK, 16 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 1.1 UK, 4.26 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 643.0 video, 460.98 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

In Pink Floyd’s early years, they released some successful singles in the UK, but gradually became much better known as an album act by their blockbuster 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon. This helped establish the progressive and psychedelic group “as a credible group keen to distance themselves from the fads and fashions of the singles market.” HL

With their 1979 album, The Wall, Pink Floyd undertook their most ambitious endeavor yet, crafting a double album built around the concept of alienation as shaped by the album protaganist’s construction of an imaginary wall to shield him from the outside world.

To everyone’s surprise, the band opted to promote the album with their first single in eleven years. TB The song, “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II,” was singer/songwriter and bassist Roger Waters’ “vicious attack on teachers…inspired by the cruelty of his own schoolmasters.” RS500

The unexpected US and UK chart-topper owed its success to guitarist David Gilmour’s last-minute suggestion to have the chorus sung by school children. HL While initially intended only for the background, the strong results led to the choir being featured up front in the vocals instead. TB

The apartheid regime of South Africa ironically fed right into Waters’ message when they banned the song because the black school children were adopting it as a protest against the country’s repressive educational system. TB

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Pink Floyd
  • DMDB page for parent album The Wall
  • HL Michael Heatley and Spencer Leigh (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. London, England: Blandford Books. Page 143.
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (2004). “500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 185.

Last updated 4/24/2021.

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