“Look mummy, there’s an aeroplane up in the sky.”
“Goodbye Blue Sky” is one of the original Wall tracks and was included on Roger’s original demo pretty much as it sounds on the album — except adding layers of David Gilmour’s vocals really improve and smooth out the track. Although it’s not listed in any of the published track listings of the demo, according to the excerpts of Roger’s original demo tape included on The Wall: Immersion, “Goodbye Blue Sky” was sequenced in the middle of what would become Side 2, somewhere around “Don’t Leave Me Now”.
By the band’s first production demo of January 9, 1979, it was moved up much earlier in the narrative to the fourth song on “Side 1,” sequenced between “Thin Ice” and “Teacher, Teacher.” By the second production demo of March 23, 1979, it had found its permanent slot in the running order at the top of Side 2.
The album version opens with pastoral sound effects of of chirping birds. A few seconds later, the ominous sound of an approaching bomber squadron starts to fill the soundstage. A child (voiced by a very young Harry Waters, Roger’s son) states, “Look mummy, there’s an aeroplane up in the sky”. The end of the track fades out to the sounds of public address announcements in an airline terminal as it segues into the cold, industrial-sounding opening of “Empty Spaces”.
An extended studio version of “Goodbye Blue Sky” was never released. All of the released studio versions are about the same length. There are some subtle differences, though, between them.
The movie version has a clean intro with none of the bird or airplane sound effects. During the verses, the audio mix has greatly enhanced woofer-busting subsonic frequencies. In a well-equipped cinema, this song really shook the building. This sub-bass boost gave the song a true sense of menace.
Listen carefully to the chorus and you can hear softly below the harmonies in the mix Roger Waters singing the melody in tenor.
For the movie version of the outro, the airport sound effects were removed. It’s a little quieter and you can hear a little more of the music. The sounds of middle school Pink and his friends paying near a rail line softly fade in. As the song fades out, there are also additional bass flourishes which were not present in the album mix.
A clean version for radio play was released on Off The Wall – Special Radio Construction promo LP. Although the intro is clean with no sound effects, the outro fades out completely right at the same spot in the music that we’d hear the first notes of “Empty Spaces” on the album.
An early band recording included in the Immersion box set includes a hint of the sub-sonic bass that was squelched from the final release. It also includes a much longer 50-second outro with a Richard Wright signature “french horn sound” solo. As much as I love his similar work on the band’s older album Wish You Were Here and others, I thought the sound of this solo was out of place here. It sounded nothing like his very airy, eery and excellent keyboard fills in the outro of the live versions of the song. 50 seconds of that would have been great.
The Gerald Scarfe animation which plays with the track during the movie was not originally part of Pink Floyd’s The Wall live shows and was created especially for the film. It was adapted and very similar animation was displayed on Mr. Screen and the wall for the Roger Waters The Wall live shows for the 2010-2013 world tour.
What Got Cut
- 16 beats of the intro was possibly cut. The live version features a longer 32-beat intro where the entire opening phrase repeats. This longer intro is not on any other version of the track.
- A longer 50-second outro appears in an early band demo version
- The outro of the live version is about 30 seconds long before the opening notes of “What Shall We Do Now?”
Pink Floyd Off The Wall – Special Radio Construction (1979). A rare 1979 US 8-track, radio-friendly promo sampler LP for The Wall album distributed mainly to radio stations. The intro is clean with no sound effects. The outro retains the airpot PA sound effects and fades out completely right at the same spot in the music that we’d hear the first notes of “Empty Spaces” on the album.
Pink Floyd The Wall movie (1982). Features a clean intro with no sound effects. The chorus includes Roger Waters singing the melody in tenor below the vocal mix. The outro features different, quieter sound effects. You can also hear additional bass flourishes which were not present in the album mix.
Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980-81 (1999). The live version features a longer 32-beat intro where the entire opening guitar phrase repeats. This may have been added for The Wall live shows only. The outro here is about 30 seconds long and is mostly an airy keyboard fill before the opening notes of “What Shall We Do Now?”
Pink Floyd The Wall – Work In Progress from Pink Floyd The Wall – Immersion Edition (2012). An early, rough, bare version from pre-release production demo tapes made by the band. It ends with a much longer 50 second outro with a Richard Wright signature “french horn sound” solo.
Last update: June 25, 2017