Another Brick in the Wall

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"Another Brick in the Wall"
Song series by Pink Floyd
from the album The Wall
Published Pink Floyd Music Publishers
Released 30 November 1979
Recorded April–November 1979
Genre Progressive rock
Length 8:28 (All three parts)
  • 3:11 (Part 1)
  • 3:59 (Part 2)
  • 1:18 (Part 3)
  • 5:43 (Radio Edit)
Songwriter(s) Roger Waters

"Another Brick in the Wall" is the title of three songs set to variations of the same theme on Pink Floyd's 1979 rock opera The Wall. All three songs were written by Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters.

Part 2 is a protest song against rigid schooling. It was released as a single and became Pink Floyd's only number-one hit in the United Kingdom, the United States, West Germany and many other countries. In addition, in the US, along with the tracks, "Run Like Hell", and "Don't Leave Me Now", "Another Brick in the Wall" reached number 57 on the disco chart.[1]

In the UK, Part 2 was Pink Floyd's first single since 1968's "Point Me at the Sky"; the song was also the final number-one single of the 1970s. For Part 2, Pink Floyd received a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by a Rock Duo or Group and lost to Bob Seger's "Against the Wind". In addition, Part 2 was number 375 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[2] The single sold over 4 million copies worldwide.[3]

That single, as well as the album The Wall, were banned in South Africa in 1980 after the song was adopted by supporters of a nationwide school boycott protesting racial inequities in education under the apartheid regime.[4][5]


Each of the three parts has a similar tune, and lyrical structure (though not lyrics, aside from the "all in all" refrain), and each is louder and more enraged than the one before, rising from the sadness of Part I to the protesting Part II to the furious Part III.

"Part 1" [edit]

"Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)"
Song by Pink Floyd
from the album The Wall
Published Pink Floyd Music Publishers
  • 30 November 1979 (UK)
  • 8 December 1979 (US)
Recorded April–November 1979
Genre Progressive rock
Length 3:11
Songwriter(s) Roger Waters

Part 1 of the song is very quiet dynamically and features a long, subdued guitar solo. The vocals are softer and gentler in tone than in Parts 2 and 3, although there is a short, sharp rise in dynamics and tone for a brief period towards the end of the lyrical portion. Sniffing, shouting, wailing, calling and children can be faintly heard in the background. The song's beginning coincides with the final chord of "The Thin Ice", and the echoing multi-guitar solo (after the lyrics) crossfades into the helicopter and yelling-teacher sounds of "The Happiest Days of Our Lives".


"The Thin Ice" discussed during the previous song breaks when Pink becomes older and learns of the death of his father. Pink is devastated by this reality and begins to build The Wall.

Film version

Pink's mother is seen praying in a church after the death of her husband overseas. Pink, however, is, at this point, oblivious of his death, and can be seen playing with a toy aeroplane. The song continues with Pink playing in a public park after his mother leaves him to go shopping. He sees a man who he takes a liking to in the absence of his own father. The man gives Pink a lift onto a ride, and it's clear Pink feels as if this man is his real father. Pink follows the man's son around, copying him, but doesn't understand why the other boy's father isn't paying attention to him. He grabs the man's hand but is shooed away, only to grab the man's hand again. The man pushes Pink away again, and dejectedly he sits on a swing. He looks over at the other parents swinging their kids, feeling even more alone.

"Part 2" [edit]

"Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)"
Single by Pink Floyd
from the album The Wall
B-side "One of My Turns"
Released 23 November 1979
Format 7-inch single
Recorded April–November 1979
Songwriter(s) Roger Waters
Pink Floyd singles chronology
"Have a Cigar"
"Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)"
"Run Like Hell"
Audio sample
Music video
"Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" on YouTube

In the album version of The Wall, "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" segues from "The Happiest Days of Our Lives". The song has strong drums, a well-known bass line and distinctive guitar parts in the background with a smooth yet edgy guitar solo. The song also features a choir of schoolchildren singing in the second verse: as the song ends, the sounds of a school yard are heard, along with a Scottish teacher who continues to lord it over the children's lives by shouting "Wrong! Do it again!", and "If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?!", and "You! Yes! You behind the bikesheds! Stand still, laddie!", all of it dissolving into the dull drone of a phone ringing. It trails off into the next song, ending with a deep sigh.


Producer Bob Ezrin suggested the band add elements of disco, which was popular at the time. According to Gilmour:[6]

[Bob Ezrin] said to me, "Go to a couple of clubs and listen to what's happening with disco music," so I forced myself out and listened to loud, four-to-the-bar bass drums and stuff and thought, Gawd, awful! Then we went back and tried to turn one of the [song's] parts into one of those so it would be catchy.

When Ezrin heard the song with a disco drum beat, he was convinced it could become a hit, but felt it needed to be longer, with two verses and two choruses. The band resisted, saying they did not release singles; Waters told him "Go ahead and waste your time doing silly stuff."[7] While the band members were away, Ezrin edited different takes into an extended version, and had engineer Nick Griffiths record children singing the verse at Islington Green School, close to Pink Floyd's studio.[7] Alun Renshaw, head of music at the school, was enthusiastic about the idea, saying: "I wanted to make music relevant to the kids – not just sitting around listening to Tchaikovsky. I thought the lyrics were great – "We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control ..." I just thought it would be a wonderful experience for the kids."[8]

According to Ezrin, "I called Roger into the room, and when the kids came in on the second verse there was a total softening of his face, and you just knew that he knew it was going to be an important record."[6] Waters said "It was great—exactly the thing I expected from a collaborator."[6] Despite his reservations about Ezrin's additions, Gilmour felt the final song still sounded like Pink Floyd.[6]

Though the school received a lump sum payment of £1,000, there was no contractual arrangement for royalties. Under a 1996 UK copyright law, they became eligible for royalties from broadcasts, and after royalties agent Peter Rowan traced choir members through the website Friends Reunited and other means, they lodged a claim for royalties with the Performing Artists' Media Rights Association in 2004.[9]


After being insulted by the teacher, Pink dreams that the kids in his school begin to protest against their abusive teachers. The song talks about how he had a personal wall around him from the rest of the world, and the teachers were just another brick in the wall.[citation needed]

Film version

Following "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" Pink starts to daydream during his class. He imagines several students marching in unison to the beat of the song, following a path until they enter a steamy tunnel section to re-emerge as putty-faced clones void of individual distinction and proceed to fall blindly into an oversized meat-grinder. Starting with Gilmour's guitar solo, the children destroy the school building using hammers (foreshadowing the subsequent neo-fascist Nazi-like animated sequence with its marching hammers) and crowbars, creating a bonfire, dragging their teacher out of the burning school kicking and screaming while chanting "We don't need no education." The song ends with Pink rubbing his hand, which the teacher slapped with a ruler in the song previously.

During the song, the teacher's "meat and pudding" lines are folded into the first few lines of the school choir's lines (with the instrumental breaks between shortened by a bar in 2 places), and are performed by the teacher in the film, played by Alex McAvoy. Once the film was completed, the actual scenes of "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" and "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" were combined into a new video, which now represents the music video for "Another Brick in the Wall".

Music video

Prior to the film, the first video for the track, directed by album/concert/film art designer Gerald Scarfe, depicted students running in a playground (Kings Square Gardens, Islington) and the teacher puppet from The Wall concerts was used. The video also mixed in some animated scenes later used in "The Trial" and "Waiting for the Worms". The opening shot, a pan across the London skyline was filmed from the top of Turnpike House in Islington, both St Lukes Church and St Clements Church (the one overlooking the playground) are both clearly visible in the shot. After the media furore surrounding the song, the Islington Green school head teacher Margaret Maden refused permission for the children who sang on the song to appear in the video or on Top of the Pops, although at the time they were told it was because they didn't hold Equity Cards.[10] The teacher's lines in the song are absent from the version in the music video.

Live versions

When performed as part of the various live shows of The Wall, the teacher is represented by a giant inflatable puppet, based on the figure from Scarfe's animations. This puppet duly becomes the focus of the song's anger and frustration.

Alternative versions
  • The single version has a short 4-bar rhythm guitar and drum intro before the first verse, but fades out earlier, just before the playground ending of the studio version.
  • The compilation A Collection of Great Dance Songs (1981) includes a hybrid (3:54) version, which like the single version omits the segue from "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" and includes the 4-bar guitar/drum intro, but retains the longer playground ending of the studio version, fading out just before the telephone sounds.
  • The versions from live albums and videos Delicate Sound of Thunder and Pulse (recorded after Waters' departure from the band) feature the main guitar solo by David Gilmour, followed by an additional tapping guitar riff by touring guitarist Tim Renwick. These are backed by Guy Pratt's slap bass lines. On Delicate Sound of Thunder, the children's choir part is played from a tape, while on Pulse, it is performed by the backing singers. The version on Delicate Sound of Thunder starts right after "Money" with the single four-bar intro, then stops, until the vocals start after a short break. The ending is also similar to the one on The Wall but without the shouting and other sound effects. In contrast, the version on Pulse is more of a reworked version with excerpt from all three parts: It starts with the telephone from the end of Part 2, then a helicopter can be heard, before David Gilmour starts playing the main guitar riff of Part 1 and the band join in for a couple of bars. Then the end part of Happiest Days comes up and the transition into the actual song is the same as on the studio album. After the second guitar solo, the keyboard staccato from Part 3 can be heard while the helicopter comes back shortly before the track ends with a cold stop. On the Pulse DVD, the vocal echo from the song Dogs can be heard during that final part, but it is not audible on the CD.
  • The version from Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81 (from the 1980–81 concerts at Earls Court, London) also features an extended solo by Snowy White and an organ solo by Richard Wright.
  • In 1990, prior to The Wall – Live in Berlin a rare, limited edition promo CD titled "The Wall Berlin '90" was issued to radio stations (Columbia CSK 2126) which included "When the Tigers Broke Free" and a new version of "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" credited as a "New Recording by The Bleeding Heart Band / June 1990".
  • The version from The Wall Live in Berlin has Cyndi Lauper singing lead vocals, and features Rick DiFonzo playing the original solo, Snowy White playing a second guitar solo, Peter Wood playing an organ solo, and Thomas Dolby playing a synthesiser solo.
  • The song was included with "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" in the compilation Echoes,[11] and segues into the first note of an edited version of "Echoes".
  • Roger Waters' 2000 US tour, In the Flesh – Live (released on CD and DVD in 2006), featured the song—segued in from "The Happiest Days of Our Lives"—with live backup singers and the taped children's choir singing with Waters in the second verse, and—after two guitar solos—a third verse (same lyrics as second verse).
  • During The Wall Live tour 2011, Waters added an acoustic coda to "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" with brand new lyrics referring to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes.[12]

Charts and certifications[edit]

"Part 3" [edit]

"Another Brick in the Wall (Part 3)"
Song by Pink Floyd
from the album The Wall
Published Pink Floyd Music Publishers
  • 30 November 1979 (UK)
  • 8 December 1979 (US)
Recorded April–November 1979
Length 1:18
Songwriter(s) Roger Waters

This song is louder than the previous two parts, expressing Pink's rage. It is also the shortest part of "Another Brick in the Wall", and cross-fades into "Goodbye Cruel World". On the live version the song gets an extended ending seguing into the instrumental "The Last Few Bricks" which continues its keyboard staccato.


Pink decides to finish this wall as a result of his rage after his wife's betrayal. He states that he has seen "the writing on the wall". He concludes that he no longer needs anything at all, dismissing the people in his life as just "bricks in the wall". The song also contains the line "I don't need no drugs to calm me", possibly foreshadowing what is going to happen in the song "Comfortably Numb", although Waters has stated that "Comfortably Numb" is not about drugs.[47]

Film version

In the film, the song is accompanied by a montage of events that contributed to the construction of the wall. This version was also completely re-recorded with a faster tempo.


The song, part number unspecified, won Waters the 1983 British Academy Award for 'Best Original Song' from the movie of The Wall.[48]


Personnel per The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia.[49]

Part I

Part II


Part III

Cover versions[edit]

Korn version[edit]

"Another Brick in the Wall, Pts. 1–3"
Korn - Another Brick In The Wall.jpg
Single by Korn
from the album Greatest Hits, Vol. 1
Released 2004
Recorded 2004
Genre Alternative metal
Length 7:08
Label Epic
Songwriter(s) Roger Waters
Korn singles chronology
"Word Up!"
"Another Brick in the Wall, Pts. 1–3"
"Twisted Transistor"

Nu metal band Korn have covered the three parts of the song as well as "Goodbye Cruel World" (which comes to conclude the track) for their greatest hits album released in 2004.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974–2003. Record Research. p. 203.
  2. ^ Rolling Stone: The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time Archived 8 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Rock and Pop Music. "Pink Floyd: 10 things you didn't know about the band, Telegraph, February 28th, 2012". Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Counting out time Pink Floyd the wall – song was banned in South Africa in 1980". 30 November 1979. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  5. ^ (UPI) "South Africa Bans Floyd's 'The Wall'" The New York Times 15 July 1980: C6
  6. ^ a b c d Simmons, Sylvie, ed. (October 2009). ""Good Bye Blue Sky", (Pink Floyd: 30th Anniversary, The Wall Revisited.)". Guitar World. Future. 30 (10): 79–80. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011.
  7. ^ a b Fielder 2013, p. 135.
  8. ^ Blake 2008, p. 273
  9. ^ "Payout after Pink Floyd leaves them kids alone". TimesOnline. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  10. ^ 'The Brick In The Wall Kids', BBC One, 3 October 2007
  11. ^ "Echoes: the album credits". Pink Floyd. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  12. ^ "'It's a surprise to people': Roger Waters discusses the new song he's added to The Wall tour". Something Else!. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  13. ^ "The biggest hits that never made No. 1 in Australia". Daily Telegraph. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  14. ^ " – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  15. ^ " – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  16. ^ "RPM Volume 32, No. 26". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 22 March 1980. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  17. ^ " – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  18. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search charts". IRMA. 2008. To use, type "Another Brick in the Wall" in the "Search by Song Title" search var and click search. Archived from the original on 9 June 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  19. ^ a b Mark Blake (2008). Da Capo Press Inc., ed. Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd. ISBN 978-0-306-81752-6.
  20. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 3, 1980" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  21. ^ " – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  22. ^ " – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  23. ^ " – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)". VG-lista. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  24. ^ John Samson. "Another brick in the wall (part II) in South African Chart". Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  25. ^ Davidalic (12 February 2010). "Listas de superventas: 1980". AFE. Listas De Superventas. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  26. ^ " – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  27. ^ " – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  28. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  29. ^ "Pink Floyd Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  31. ^ " – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  33. ^ "Top 100 Singles (1980)". RPM. Retrieved 2017-07-21.
  34. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts 1980" (in German). Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1980". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  37. ^ Billboard 20 December 1980: TIA-10
  38. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  39. ^ "French single certifications – Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall" (in French). InfoDisc. Select PINK FLOYD and click OK. 
  40. ^ "Les Singles en Or :" (in French). Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  41. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Pink Floyd; 'Another Brick in the Wall')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  42. ^ "Italian single certifications – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana.
  43. ^ "Sólo Éxitos 1959–2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979–1990" (in Spanish). Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  44. ^ "British single certifications – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall Pt.2". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Enter Another Brick in the Wall Pt.2 in the search field and then press Enter.
  45. ^ Lane, Dan (27 June 2013). "Daft Punk's Get Lucky becomes one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  46. ^ "American certifications – Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  47. ^ "MOJO Issue 193 — Pink Floyd | MOJO". MOJO. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  48. ^ "Past Winners and Nominees – Film – Awards". BAFTA. Archived from the original on 10 January 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  49. ^ Fitch, Vernon (2005). 'The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia (3rd ed.). pp. 73, 76, 88. ISBN 1-894959-24-8.


Further reading[edit]

  • Fitch, Vernon and Mahon, Richard, Comfortably Numb – A History of The Wall 1978–1981, 2006

External links[edit]