- A 12-bar intro that starts with a simple 16-beat drum track that leads into an 8-bar guitar intro. The intro appears in an instrumental version of the track found on the ROIO Under Construction – The Wall Demos. It’s one of the later production versions with most of the track’s sound in place.
- In the original album version, the final 32 bars/43 seconds of the song are obscured by sound effects. Audio of a phone call where Pink phones home to his wife and a man answers twice plays over the outro. It propels the story, but obscures the music underneath.
Even in its edited, obscured form, this Waters/Gilmour rocker has been a rock radio staple since the album was released. Fortunately, a couple of the little-known single releases let us rebuild the entire unobscured track.
“Young Lust” showed once again that Floyd was more than just “first in space.” The song rocks with a bluesy, funky swagger and has been a rock radio staple since the album was released. It’s one of just three tracks on the album where David Gilmour was credited as co-writer.
The song is one of the tracks on Waters’ original demo cassette Bricks In The Wall. A brief 14 second snippet can be heard on the Work In Progress discs of The Wall: Immersion. Like most of the songs on the original demo, this recording is just Roger and an acoustic guitar. Basically, the snippet is a tease and shares only the song’s chorus. Other than being fleshed out and funked up by the band, the chorus did not change. But the sound and overall feel of the song are much different than what eventually made it onto vinyl.
In a 1979 BBC Radio 1 interview, Roger Waters talked about how the track evolved from original demo to the release version:
“When I wrote this song, the words were quite different. It was about leaving school, wandering about town, hanging around outside porno movies and dirty bookshops and things like that — being very interested in sex but too frightened to get involved. Now it’s completely different. That was a function of all of us working together on the record, particularly Dave Gilmour and Bob Ezrin.”
The finished track is one of the final creative collaborations between Roger Waters and David Gilmour. Only the chorus survived Waters’ original demo intact. The rest of the music was rewritten by Gilmour. A band demo version found on The Wall: Immersion features not only the earlier lyrics about “hanging around,” but have a different, pre-Gilmour melody.
On the original LP, the short “Empty Spaces” segues straight into the vocals of “Young Lust” with a pickup beat. An instrumental intro was removed which cut 30 seconds from Side 2’s running time. It also helped to build a sense of urgency to the side. Many edits were made to Side 2 not only to help tighten the narrative but to cut the overall running time of the side. The longer an LP ran, the shallower the grooves had to be cut into the vinyl, effecting the loudness and sound quality of the records. 18-20 minutes a side was the sweet spot and provided a balance between decent album run time and the ability to master an album with good sound quality. As released, Side 2 runs 18m 45s — an optimal running time for an LP side.
The outro of the song — the last 43 seconds — was obscured by sound effects consisting of a bit of dialog where Pink phones home. Fortunately, there are some little-known single releases which enable us to hear both the deleted sections and the entire unobscured track. On the live version, the phone call was sequenced on its own after the track and the outro was unobscured.
Despite not having been released as an A-side single in most countries when the album was shipped, “Young Lust” has received a lot of radio airplay over the years. A longer version of the track was released as the B-side for “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” in a few countries, including Italy, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
In 2012, a version was finally released as a single in the US and UK when a promo version of the band demo from The Wall: Immersion box set was released to radio stations. A band work-in-progress demo from the first production demo can be heard.
The guitar riffs evolved from “Death Disco”, an unused song from Roger Waters’ original Wall demo.
The Phone Call Home
The last 43 seconds or so of the album version are obscured with sound effects. In the story, while he’s on tour, Pink places an international collect call home. Expecting to hear his wife, instead a man answers, says “Hello…” then abruptly hangs up. Repeat. This actually happened to Roger Waters during the band’s 1977 tour.
Chris Fitzmorris is the voice of Pink’s wife’s lover in the call. The voice of the operator was a real long-distance operator who apparently was unaware that she was being recorded. She has never been identified. James Guthrie explained how they got the recording:
“We were in L.A. at Producer’s Workshop so I phoned my neighbour, Chris Fitzmorris in London. He had the keys to my flat and I asked him to go there and said that I would call him through an operator. “No matter how many times I call”, I said, “just pick up the phone, say ‘Hello’, let the operator speak and then hang up”. I placed a telephone in a soundproof area, got on to an extension phone and started recording to 1/4″ tape. It took a couple of operators – the first 2 were a bit abrupt, but the 3rd was perfect. I told her that I wanted to make a collect call to Mrs. Floyd. “Who’s calling?” she asked. “Mr. Floyd”, I replied. Chris’ timing was terrific, over and over he would hang up just at the right moment and she became genuinely concerned. “Is there supposed to be someone there besides your wife?” I was playing her along saying things like “No! I don’t know who that is!” and “What’s going on?” and she would try the call again. Unwittingly, she was helping to tell the story. Afterwards I went through the 1/4″ and edited my voice out, just leaving her and Chris. I sometimes wonder if she ever heard herself on the record.”
Roger Waters also loved this bit:
“I think it’s great. I love that operator. I think she’s wonderful. She didn’t know what was happening at all. The way she picks up on — I mean it’s been edited a bit, but the way she picks up all that stuff about “is there supposed to be anybody else there besides your wife” you know? I think is amazing. She really clicked into it straight away. She’s terrific.”
For the film, the phone call was moved to the beginning of “What Shall We Do Now?” which changes the effect of the call and the morality of the two characters.
Extended and unobscured versions of the studio recording of “Young Lust” have never been released on CD or digitally. The extended intro and unobscured outro was released in 1979 on several hard-to-get vinyl releases and was rumored to be part of the aborted Spare Bricks album which eventually became The Final Cut. Collectors were disappointed that none of these versions were released on the Immersion and Experience editions of The Wall.
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 (one of the stations I worked at in Los Angeles back in the day had one of these beauties). The track starts at the pickup beat and vocal and clocks in at 3m 25s on this release. Here, the track has the same running time as the original LP version, but the outro is clean and lacks the phone call dialog.
“Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)/Young Lust” Italian Single (1979). This extended version of “Young Lust” runs 3:58 and restores the full 12-bar intro which was cut during production. It also has the full, clean outro without the phone call. At about the 2’ 50” mark as the guitar solo ends, you can hear a few seconds of a Roger Waters scream which was mixed out of most other versions. Released in 1979, this version has never been re-released and is unavailable on CD or digitally.
In my opinion, a good-quality pressing of this vinyl is the best after-market version of this single. First pressings of this single were released with a misprinted label. The B-side of the record was erroneously labelled “One Of My Turns” instead. In 1980, the same extended mix was released — this time correctly labeled — as B-sides in a few other countries as well, including South Africa (as shown here) and Zimbabwe. You might be able to find it on eBay or the Discogs market. Be ready to empty your wallet for this one. It is one of the rarest of the Pink Floyd commercial releases.
Is There Anybody Out There?. The official live album of the original The Wall tour in 1980. Live versions of all songs. Many of them are extended or have some of the bits which were cut from the original studio LP of The Wall. The live version features an extended 16-bar intro — a 4-bar solo guitar intro and another 4 bars with a drum beat before the band kicks in. The solo section is extended. At about 3m 3s in, there is a 42-second Richard Wright organ solo which was added for the live shows. This added solo doesn’t exist in any of the production demos or promo mixes of the track. It also features the full, clean outro. Here, the phone call is separate from the track and plays after the song’s cold ending. End-to-end — audience applause, the track, and the phone call — this version runs 5m 19s.
Pink Floyd The Wall movie (1982). The mix for the film has a clean drum pickup note at the front end and an unobscured outro and cold ending of the single and Off The Wall versions. As the guitar solo ends, you can hear the Roger Waters scream from the single version. Here, it’s more prominent in the mix. There’s no phone call, but audio throughout the track has a lot of other sound effects from the movie mixed in which are distracting. The outro has also been shortened and is missing 8 measures.
Pink Floyd The Wall – Work In Progress from Pink Floyd The Wall: Immersion edition. (4:27) An early version from pre-release production demo tapes made by the band. It’s a little more downtempo, smoother, and more laid back — the overall sound is sleazier. The verses have different lyrics and are obviously still under construction, but the chorus and musical framework are there. On the release version, it’s a rocking party track that celebrates groupies, easy sex, and Pink’s rock star lifestyle. The demo version is less about picking up band groupies and instead explores a young adult Pink seeking out darker, seedier sexual exploits — just seeking them out.
The audio quality on this version is excellent. While I prefer the release version for it’s overall piece the the story, it’s interesting to see how this song evolved. Add in the really bluesy, skeezy sound of the not-used-on-this-album “Sexual Revolution” and some of Pink’s bricks evolved from a much darker place. This one is a great listen.
Last updated: January 10, 2023 – updated Young Lust single video link