Today in music history, the legendary British rock band Pink Floyd released one of the most recognizable songs of their career. Sure, it may only play on oldies radio stations now, but back when it first released, “Another Brick in the Wall (p.2)” topped the charts in the UK, US, and nine other countries.
Now, Pink Floyd wasn’t a band that tried to dish out radio singles just to reach the most ears. They made music that they wanted their listeners to pay attention to, not dance. But when “Another Brick in the Wall (pt. 2)” came out, its disco beat and catchy bass line hooked more people than they could have expected.
Another Brick in the Wall
What quickly became one of Pink Floyd’s more popular songs, also turned into one of their more important ones. When compared to some of their longer and more artistic works, some die hard fans out there may bristle at that statement.
But while “Another Brick in the Wall (pt. 2)” maybe wasn’t Pink Floyd at their best, it managed to make a comment on society that still resonates today. Specifically, into the resistance to education as “thought control” in apartheid-era South Africa. Turns out, the song was so relevant to the situation in South Africa, that the government banned it. I guess they didn’t want the word to get out. Those with power and control will always do whatever they can to ensure that they hold onto it.
Even though it had a large effect around the world, it’s doubtful that Roger Waters had South Africa in mind when he was writing “Another Brick in the Wall (pt. 2)”. The three parts of the song all come from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, which follows a semi-autobiographical narrative. The idea of school as a fascist, dystopian, mind-melding process came from Waters’ own views and experience growing up in England. The fact that it was still adopted by supporters of a nation-wide school boycott is a testament to the power of music.
Where it wasn’t banned, “Another Brick in the Wall (pt. 2)” hit the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100. It also hit the number one spot in the “UK, Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Australia, Sweden, and Denmark”.
So today, if you hear it playing on the radio, remember the history behind “Another Brick in the Wall (pt. 2)”, and the impact it had.
Also, if you’ve never listened to or seen Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, I would strongly recommend it. It’s weird and dark, but has an amazing soundtrack.