Not one of the unused song concepts leftover from demos, “The Fletcher Memorial Home” is a song that was written for the Spare Bricks album.
“The Fletcher Memorial Home” is a track that was first released on 1983’s The Final Cut album. The “Fletcher” in the title of the song is a nod to Roger Waters’ father, Eric Fletcher Waters, who died at the Battle of Anzio in World War II. This was the background and story of “When The Tigers Broke Free”.
It is not one of the early songs leftover from The Wall demos but was one of the first tracks written and and ready to be recorded for the planned Spare Bricks (the scrapped film soundtrack album) along with several other tracks including three that have been linked to the original Wall demos, “Your Possible Pasts”, “The Final Cut” and “The Hero’s Return” (a track originally titled “Teacher, Teacher” originally written and recorded for The Wall sessions).
Recording began on the tracks in May, 1982 before the general release of Pink Floyd The Wall movie and nine months before the release of The Final Cut album. The first sessions ran through June, 1982. As late as September of that year, the album was still being planned as a reworked soundtrack from the film. . There is still a lot of speculation and hearsay elsewhere about which songs on The Final Cut were intended for The Wall, the film, Spare Bricks, or The Final Cut. “Fletcher” is not usually considered one of them. The early timing of these recording sessions might suggest otherwise and that “Fletcher” predates The Final Cut sessions and was at least originally intended to be part of the abandoned film soundtrack album.
And here is where speculation kicks in and we have to connect some dots….
“Fletcher” is a track that was written for Spare Bricks, the cancelled follow-up album that would have contained leftover tracks from The Wall album, music from the film as well as a few new tracks written to help enhance and expand certain aspects of the story. My guess is that this track changed very little when the focus of this album changed and that the main change to the track was the simply the addition of the spoken word section over the instrument bridge that featured a list of tyrants and world leaders of the 1970s and 80s.
The extensive orchestrations by Michael Kamen give the track a sound very similar to much of the music that was rerecorded for the movie, especially “Mother”, “When The Tigers Broke Free”, and the extended “Bring The Boys Back Home” — all orchestrated by Kamen.
In a 1982 interview for Melody Maker, Roger Waters talked briefly about how the Pink Floyd The Wall movie soundtrack eventually became The Final Cut:
“We were contracted to make a soundtrack album but there really wasn’t enough new material in the movie to make a record that I thought was interesting. The project then became Spare Bricks, and was meant to include some of the film music, like “When The Tigers Break Through” and the much less ironic version of “Outside The Wall” which finishes the movie… plus some music written for the movie but left on the cutting room floor.”
If “Fletcher” ever appeared on Roger Waters’ original Bricks In The Wall demos — and it most likely did not, it would have been no more than an idea, rough song concept, or musical fragment. Again, it is unlikely likely that the roots of the song went that far back.
However, musically and thematically, the track sounds as though it fits in seamlessly on Side 3 of The Wall, especially when Waters’ spoken-word list of 1980’s world leaders from the bridge of the track is removed.
If “Fletcher” was one of the tracks written specifically for Spare Bricks before Waters chose to change the concept of the album from a collection of movie tracks, original LP leftovers, and new tracks written to expand the story, that implies at least an unlikely connection to The Wall canon at some point.
“The Fletcher Memorial Home” with a clean, instrumental-only bridge. Spoken-word vocals have been removed. Skip to about 58 seconds to hear the revised bridge.
My Unofficial, Alternate Timeline, Armchair-Record Producer Reasoning for Why “Fletcher Memorial Home” Belongs on The Wall
So why talk about it here?
There is a lot of speculation about this particular track and fairly little documented about its history. Regardless, I like the song. Apparently, the band did as well. It’s the only track from The Final Cut (at the time) that the band unanimously agreed to include on the Echoes best-of compilation and the only one to appear on 2011’s The Best of Pink Floyd – A Foot In The Door single-disc compilation.
Like most of the songs on The Final Cut, there’s not a lot of reliable information available for this track and how its history connects with The Wall, Spare Bricks, and The Final Cut.
Musically, it shares a similar sound to existing tracks on The Wall — “Vera” and “Comfortably Numb” in particular. It shares the same cascading orchestrations as “Comfortably Numb”, adding to the appearance that the two tracks are connected. This is due in large part to Michael Kamen who wrote and conducted the orchestral arrangements for all three tracks.
The last line of the song, “Now the final solution can be applied” references Pink’s hallucinatory descent into musical fascism a few tracks later in “In The Flesh” and “Waiting For The Worms”. This means that “The Fletcher Memorial Home” ties in fairly well with The Wall narrative.
On Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd, “Fletcher” is sequenced right before “Comfortably Numb”, which means that at some point — whether it was during production of Spare Bricks or much later, the band wanted to hear these two songs together. Perhaps a little subtle, late revisionism from the band long after the fact? Without an absolute confirmation from the band, this just adds another layer of confusion as to whether or not “Fletcher” was written specifically for The Final Cut or in fact had its beginnings closer to The Wall.
What Got Cut
- The song did not appear in any form on the original Pink Floyd The Wall album
The full song was officially released in March 1983 on The Final Cut album.
“The Fletcher Memorial Home” is the last of the four tracks to appear in the 1983 film The Final Cut, a 19-minute promotional film for the album. It was produced from a screenplay by Roger Waters and directed by Willie Christie, who was Waters’ brother-in-law at the time.
1 – The Complete Pink Floyd: The Ultimate Reference by Glenn Povey, 2016, p. 284
2 – Hogan, Richard. “Over The Wall with Pink Floyd.” Circus, August 1983, pp 28-31. Print.
Last update: July 4, 2017