Masterpiece: The Wall


[Today: Tear down the wall…]

Pink Floyd | The Wall

It was officially known as “Stützwandelement UL 12.11” (retaining wall element UL 12.11) and construction on it began in June of 1961. It was 12 feet high and four feet wide, and it ran for 87 miles down the middle of Berlin, separating East from West and providing a symbolic divide between the Communist and Democratic spheres of the world. Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. For decades that wall stood implacable and unfeeling, and there were no signs at the time that it wouldn’t stand for 100 years more. But with the dull thud of sledgehammers and ecstatic cries of joy, the Cold War came to a sudden and surprising halt on November 9, 1989, when the world was treated to the astonishing sight of people partying atop the the Berlin Wall and breaking chunks of it away while crowds cheered them on. For just a moment, it seemed that soggy cliches like One Love, One World, One People might actually be coming true.

Pink Floyd released The Wall in November of 1979 – 10 years to the month before the fall of the Berlin Wall. But unlike Stützwandelement UL 12.11, the wall referred to in the title is no physical structure of concrete, barbed wire, and watchtowers. This double LP recounts the unhappy life and times of a fictional rock star named Pink, who has enclosed himself within an impenetrable emotional wall. A dead father, overbearing mother, psychotic schoolteacher, and cheating wife have driven him to the brink, and through song he recounts the circumstances that brought him to emotional paralysis. It isn’t a pretty picture, it’s often heavy handed, and it doesn’t forecast much hope. But like the Cold War, The Wall ends with spirited chants of “Tear down the wall!” and just a flicker of hope.

Listen: Goodbye Blue Sky

Listen: Comfortably Numb

Listen: The Trial

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3 Responses to “Masterpiece: The Wall”

  1. functional hermit Says:

    Arguably one of the most influential albums of all time. Plus it helped give birth to the movie character Randy ‘Pink’ Floyd of Dazed and Confused. That’s worth bragging about.

  2. alejandro Says:

    Just landed in your Blog looking for some Fela Kuti. Great find, excellent selection. Good writimg. Overall one of the best blogs out there. Congrats. Not big into Floyd post-Syd, but now I have to go back and re-listen!
    Stop my Blog when you get a chance, I will be adding you to my Blogroll. I have mostly Funk, Soul, Highlife, Rocksteady.

  3. Bad Apple: Radio K.A.O.S « dk presents… Says:

    […] album, they sure perfected the recipe. Albums like Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall worked because they explored universal themes such as humanity, sanity, and war. In other words, […]

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