40 Years ago on November 30th 1979 a landmark album was released by Pink Floyd: The Wall. An album that really did something to how people would listen to music. The following story is from Christopher on the Echoes mailinglist that, except for some differences in school settings (living in the Netherlands, no school uniforms, being already 15 when I first heard it in 1986, etc.), beautifully sums up what happened to me after some friends introduced me to the Wall…
… we came in.
In 1979 I turned 11 years old. By November 1979 I was a couple of weeks off finishing Grade 6 at Bulimba State School, a small, working class school in Brisbane. School was fun. I loved to learn stuff. My first school was a small country school with more dirt than bitumen or grass, and my second was this inner city school, with more bitumen than grass or dirt. Sitting atop the biggest hill in the area, we could see for miles in all directions; to the city in the west, the ocean in the east, and the vast sprawl of houses north and south. I was perfectly happy struggling up the hill each morning on my bicycle and then roaring down it each afternoon. Although I wasn’t saint like, I avoided trouble simply because it wasn’t worth it; it was easy, and far more fun, to actually do the work and follow the rules. But then, in November of 1979, this weirdly titled and very obscure guy called Pink Floyd told me I didn’t need an education. And like so many school kids across the world, I believed him.
Laughingly I assumed like many new fans that Pink Floyd was an individual. I don’t know why I thought this, but I thought this for a couple of years at least. The film clip to Another Brick in the Wall pt2 was mind blowing. Street tough kids, out of uniform no less, bizarre cartoons, kids getting minced up and scenes of a far away city that looked so different yet so similar to my own little world. I was there, in that group of school kids, singing to my heart’s content!
Just over a year after the single for Another Brick in the Wall pt2 came out, I was introduced to the album in a fairly spectacular way. Setting up for a school dance one Saturday afternoon, (I had joined the stage crew of my high school and among various duties, all of which basically sucked, we had to spend our afternoons and weekends setting up for various things) I had the pleasure of a sound check to go through. I was in the lighting crew, so had no control over the sound, but enjoyed whatever was on. This particular day, blaring out through the speakers at full volume was this heavy, full on sound that was most pleasing to the ear. A few songs in I suddenly heard a very familiar, yet unheard tune. Another Brick in the Wall, but with a different tempo and different words. It was the same tune and the same chorus. It sounded wonderful. I expressed my ignorance to the guy next to me, a year 11 student, who promptly pulled the piss. In one breathe he told me it was one long song and the single was just a bit of it, and that Pink Floyd was a band, an old one, not a bloke, not a young one! He then told me to sit down and get ready for the next bit.
The next bit was a helicopter fading up to a roar followed by yet more full on music that built up to an almighty scream that was all at once swallowed by that all too familiar and well and truly entrenched favourite song. The song went on for longer, there was teacher talk fading into a phone ringing and then more. More wonderful sounds, song after song. And yet another version of Another Brick in the Wall before it finally, quietly ended. All the sound effects, the noises, the conversations, the up and down music. And it was telling a story. Stories in music were nothing new to me. But stories in full, loud, pounding, kick you in the face kind of music was something I wasn’t expecting. It was all too wonderful. Try as I might, the sound guys wouldn’t put it on again. But life had changed. I had absolutely no idea how much. But life had changed forever.
As soon as possible I was off into the city in the next few days, and I still remember coming home over the Story Bridge on my way home and looking at the artwork on the inner gatefold of my very own, first copy of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. A huge arse was smiling back at me, the teacher was there, who I was all too familiar with from the film clip, along with a whole bunch of other figures who I knew nothing about. There were all these words and low and behold, there were two albums. Not only was I about to be blown away again by what I had heard a few days earlier, but there was another record as yet unheard! How utterly
And how utterly fantastic it was! Within days I could now call myself a Pink Floyd fan; they were my favourite group having released my favourite song and my favourite album. In 1988 I had the grand pleasure of seeing Pink Floyd live and I sobbed and sobbed, again and again at the sheer emotional joy of such an experience. I have seen Roger Waters (founding member and key song writer on The Wall) 9 times, 3 of them performing The Wall; yes, I sobbed every time. Behind my wife and son, Pink Floyd in general and The Wall in particular come third in giving me a truly wonderful life full of joy and passion; and quite a few moments of tears. It’s exactly 40 years since the life of The Wall began, today, November 30, 1979. The link below is a bit of fun by me showing off a few of the copies I own; along with all sorts of bits and pieces associated with the album. Enjoy.
Isn’t this where…
i am remotely morty