By 1979, tensions among the members of Pink Floyd were high. Bassist/songwriter Roger Waters was increasingly the creative force within the band, either by merit or perhaps by sheer will and ego. Spurred by a 1977 incident where Waters spit on an audience member in Montreal, Water’s watershed work became The Wall. Issued at the end of 1979, and topping the charts for 16 weeks between January-April 1980. The album was fueled by the single, “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2″ which combined a catchy chorus with a Disco-era sound that also topped the charts.

The Wall is concept album about alienation and isolation. It tells the story of Pink, a rock star with similar personal history to Waters himself. Pink loses his father in the war, has issues with authorities such as schoolteachers, and has an overprotective mother. After becoming a rock star, Pink turns authoritarian and condemns others to beatings if they are considered unworthy. Feeling bad, he places himself on trial with the judge ordering him to “tear down the wall.”  All the music and lyrics on the double-album were by Waters, except for three songs where guitarist David Gilmour contributed to the music.  To date, the double-album has been certified as 23x Platinum.

Another Brick in the Wall” was split into three parts on the album. The songs all have a similar tune and bass-line, though the topics are different. Part two was originally entitled “Education” and is an indictment of the oppressive educational system in Britain. The song was often played on FM radio along with “Happiest Days of Our Lives” which precedes it, and is included in a slightly different form in the clip from the The Wall movie.  The song’s Disco beat was added at suggestion of producer Bob Ezrin, and was the subject of some derision by rock fans and even Pink Floyd band members.

The album was made into the film Pink Floyd The Wall starring Bob Geldof in 1982. The film mixed live-action production along with some animated sections, under the direction of Gerald Scarfe. Some additional songs were added, and some of the arrangements were different. But most Floyd fans found the film true to the album. The poetry used in the clip below is from Pink Floyd’s 1973 hit, “Money”.

Several other songs from The Wall received substantial radio airplay, most of which were from the set cowritten and/or sung by Gilmour. “Comfortably Numb” featured an epic guitar solo consistently rated among the best ever and was notable in the film for featuring Pink tearing his face off. “Run Like Hell” and “Young Lust” were also played heavily on FM radio.