• About 15 seconds from the beginning of the track. The first 10 seconds or so were a single note — an ominous, sustained low D synth note before David Gilmour’s guitar rhythm begins.

“Another Brick In The Wall, Part 1” had a fascinating evolution from concept to finished track which really effected the overall story arc of ‘The Wall’.

 

“Another Brick In The Wall Part 1” is the first of the three “Bricks” tracks. Dynamically, it’s the quietest of the three, which build in intensity as the album progresses.

In an album that’s full of recurring themes, both conceptual and musical, this is the first appearance of the main “Bricks” theme. In addition to “Another Brick In The Wall” Parts 2 and 3, the three-notes-up-one-note-down leitmotif reappears throughout the album, notably in “Hey You“, “Empty Spaces“, “Waiting For The Worms“, and “The Trial“.

At least 15 seconds were cut from the very beginning of the track which is unfortunate. That additional intro would have made for an even better segue from “The Thin Ice”. It was most likely cut from the album to shave a few seconds from the running time of Side 1.


Originally, the first 10 seconds or so were just one single note — an ominous, sustained low D synth note before a single-note guitar rhythmic ostinato starts. Throughout the intro, David Gilmour played short guitar fills with a lot of delay every eight beats. If, at the time of recording, it was decided to extend the intro by another eight or 16 beats (which would have sounded really cool and heightened the drama of the track), the amount cut would have been even greater.

As released, “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 1” fades in sounding like we’ve already missed part of the song — which we have. The track fades in at about the sixth beat of a 32-beat guitar phrase, making the segue from “The Thin Ice” a little rough. The original intro allows for a much smoother transition between the two songs. “The Thin Ice” seamlessly blends into the single note and holds for several seconds, adding to the drama and anticipation of the track. As the two musical phrases are in complimentary musical keys, the transition is much more satisfying musically.

You can hear a little bit of how this would sound in the film Roger Waters The Wall and to a lesser extent in the original Pink Floyd live version. The transition between the two songs is a little longer. The ending of “The Thin Ice” has a long fade out and behind the audience applause you can hear the single note drone before the guitar of “Another Brick, Part 1” starts.

The missing intro can be found in an unlikely place. On September 29, 2015, a one-off public screening of the 19-minute film The Simple Facts – A Conversation with Nick Mason and Roger Waters was shown in cinemas around the globe. It was screened in conjunction with the global release premiere of Roger Waters The Wall. The short film opens with a clean version of the missing extended intro from “Another Brick, Part 1”. It was rerecorded in 2012 or later, most likely as a production demo for the Roger Waters The Wall tour, but those opening seconds are a nearly perfect recreation of the original recording. If this is so, essentially it was recorded by a surrogate band that’s led by the guy who wrote most of the original piece. The musicians are uncredited in the feature’s end credits. While not the original Pink Floyd recording, it is nearly identical and re-recorded by a band with the credentials to do so.

Given Roger’s attention to detail concerning The Wall shows and his maintaining the musical integrity of the original Pink Floyd live shows, I’m confident that this recording is an accurate recreation of the original track and allows the listener to hear what the full intro would have sounded like.

You can hear this extended version below. This is an edited track from Pink Floyd The Wall album. This is NOT an official release and is an unofficial, unauthorized fan edit. ©1979 Pink Floyd Music.


 

Production-wise, “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 1” has a fascinating evolution from concept to finished track which really effected the overall story arc of The Wall.

Throughout most of production, the working title of the track was “Brick 1: Reminiscing”. It was originally part of the original The Wall demo tape, but Roger Waters’ demo version has never been released to date — not even a snippet. Available on the Work In Progress discs of the The Wall: Immersion edition, the first band demo is much longer, running 4m 49s, and is different both musically and thematically than the version which was ultimately released. The studio version on the album clocks in at about 3m 12s.

In early demos, this was the first Pink Floyd track on the album and was preceded by a snippet of the World War II-era classic “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn.

Instead of the single-note drone and guitar intro, the track opened with a more fluid synth section in D minor which sounded electronic and bleak, more like something from the band’s earlier album, Wish You Were Here. It alternated between softer, acoustic guitar riffs before kicking into Gilmour’s harder-edged electric guitar. The overall sound was darker and more bitter. There was also a lot more keyboard work from Rick Wright in this version than on the final release.

There are two verses to this early version. Narratively, this first production demo is less about Pink the person and more about the band. The song starts chronologically somewhere in the later part of Pink’s band’s career. Instead of the first person childhood memories of “Another Brick In The Wall, Part I”, the voice flipped between “the band” and an anonymous third person. Apropos of a band that’s tired, bitter, and had it up to here with touring and living up to fan expectations, “Brick 1” started right off with Pink establishing a wall — a barrier between the band and the fans.

 

Brick 1: Reminsicing

Music and lyrics by Roger Waters

We don’t need your adulation.
We don’t need your starry gaze.
How the years have come between us.
You should have seen them in the early days
Should have seen ‘em in the early days.


All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.

They don’t need your reminiscing.
They don’t need your memories.
They don’t want to hear who’s missing.
You should have seen them when the boys were young.
You should have seen ‘em when the boys were young.

All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.

 

On Immersion, even though this is one of the band’s first production demos, it’s recorded well and production is very good. Story-wise, The Wall would have been a much different album if it had kept this version as its starting point.

Until Bob Ezrin insisted on zshooshing up “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2” to create the hit single, Brick 2 musically and vocally sounded a lot like Brick 1.

Although not widely released as a single, ”Another Brick In The Wall (Part I)” was released as an A-side in a few countries, including Costa Rica and Argentina. The Argentina single has a running time of 3m 21s and is backed with the album version of “Goodbye Blue Sky” — twittering bird intro included. The Costa Rica release was paired with “Another Brick In The Wall (Part II) as the B-side. The labels show a running time of 3m 21s for Part I and 3m 59s for Part II. Pink Floyd Archives lists the timings a little differently:

Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1) is 3:15, and fades during the echoed guitar at the end of the song. Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) is 4:02 and begins with the helicopter sound, and is actually “The Happiest Days of Our Lives” and only the beginning of Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2), with a fade during the guitar solo.

This may simply be an instance where the time on the label was a little off. If not, I have no idea what this version sounds like or whether those extra few seconds are from the beginning or the end of the track. Those are extra 3 (or 9) seconds I’d love to hear. Regardless, this is a unique and interesting single.



 

another brick in the wall, part 1, single, pink floyd, costa rica, CR

“Another Brick In The Wall Part I”, Costa Rica single

 

Alternate Versions

Pink Floyd The Wall – Work In Progress from Pink Floyd The Wall: Immersion edition. An early, rough, bare version from pre-release production demo tapes made by the band. The two additional demo versions available here dramatically illustrate the evolution of this track. The first band demo from the January 9, 1979 band production demo, as discussed above, is different both tonally and lyrically. The second band demo (3:42), from the March 23, 1979 production demo, is much closer to the release version. Musically, it’s quieter and “eerie” like the release version. With one or two minor changes, the lyrics are about the same as the release version and sung in the voice of Young Pink. It even ends with the sounds of children on a playground and a rudimentary “You! Yes, you behind the bike sheds! Stand still, laddie!”

Is There Anybody Out There?. The official live album of the original The Wall tour in 1980. Live versions of all songs. The live version has a longer running time at 4:09. Overall, it’s the same as the studio release. The intro has been extended a little bit. Here, the vocals start after the six 8-counts. On both the album and the demo versions, vocals start after four 8-counts.

The live version fades out about where the studio version does, but has an additional keyboard outro with Rick Wright playing a short solo. I think this was exclusive to the Pink Floyd The Wall live shows only — as a way to showcase Wright a little more. On the original album, he has only one keyboard solo — on Side 4 in “Run Like Hell”.

Pink Floyd The Wall movie (1982). The movie version is about 2:57. A little bit of the intro is shaved off and the outro fades a few seconds earlier than the album. On the album version, generic children and playground sounds are behind the instrumental second half of the track somewhat subdued in the audio mix. The movie version takes a similar approach but also tells a simple yet heartbreaking story in the scene behind the track. Looking for a father figure like other children playing have, Young Pink latches on to another boy’s father on the playground. At first, the man responds courteously, begrudgingly placing Young Pink on the merry-go-round before later shooing him off. A lonely Young Pink then watches enviously of other kids who have two parents to play with. It’s a quietly powerful scene in the film and one where I think the sounds do a good job of clarifying and propelling the story. That’s British character actor Ray Mort playing the part of the Playground Father.

 

Last update: September 5, 2017

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