Originally closing out Side 3, late in production “Hey, You” was moved at the last minute to the top of the side right before the album went for mastering.
“Hey You” opens the second half of the album. At this point in the story, Pink’s wall has been completed. The song is a plea for help from his isolation behind the wall. It also contains the first mention of the worms which would be a recurring theme throughout the second half of the album.
The track goes all the way back to the original demo, Bricks In The Wall. There it was sequenced much later in the track listing — right before “Trial By Puppet”, an early version of “The Trial”. Part of the original recording from the Bricks In The Wall demo can be heard on the Immersion box set. At just over a minute, it is one of the longer snippets and there are many similarities between the demo and release versions. Overall, it is one of the songs that did not change much throughout production. It was recorded by the band in late 1978 during the first recording sessions for the album. A full-length, fairly-polished band demo also appears in the Immersion box set goodies.
Throughout most of the album’s production, the track closed out Side 3 where it was sequenced after “Comfortably Numb” at the end of the side. It was moved to the beginning at the last minute before the album went for mastering.
In a 1979 interview with Radio 1’s Tommy Vance, Roger Waters explained:
“Bob Ezrin called me up and he said I’ve just listened to side three and it doesn’t work. In fact, I think I’d been feeling uncomfortable about it anyway. I thought about it and in a couple of minutes I realized that “Hey You” could conceptually go anywhere, and it would make a much better side if we put it at the front of the side and sandwiched the middle theatrical scene with the guy in the hotel room, between an attempt to re-establish contact with the outside world — which is what “Hey You” is — at the end of the side which is, well, what we’ll come to. So that’s why those lyrics are printed in the wrong place, is because that decision was made very late. I should explain at this point, the reason that all these decisions were made so late was because we’d promised lots of people a long time ago that we would finish this record by the beginning of November, and we wanted to keep that promise.”
In fact, album artwork with the incorrect Side 3 track listing had already been sent out to print. The inner sleeve on the early releases of the LP still had “Hey You” closing out the side and “Is There Anybody Out There?” listed as the first track on Side 3. The US Columbia Records CD releases carried this over until 1997. This was fixed on the first Harvest Records issue of the CD and on the 1997 Columbia Records remaster/reissue CDs.
The main “Bricks” theme heard earlier in all three parts of “Another Brick In The Wall” returns here and is the musical bed behind David Gilmour’s guitar solo.
Why “Hey You” was cut from The Wall Movie
“Hey You” was one of two tracks that were cut entirely from Pink Floyd The Wall the movie, along with “The Show Must Go On”. The footage was cut after the film was finished and the footage used elsewhere in the film. In his commentary on the original laserdisc release of the the film, Director Alan Parker talked about why the track was cut:
“It wasn’t that we didn’t like “Hey You.” I mean, “Hey You” is brilliant I think, particularly Gilmour’s guitar piece within it. It’s just that it seemed that it interrupted the narrative flow, and therefore that’s the reason it went out. It’s to do with the film more than the music. I always liked it as a piece of music. These images then were adapted into “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 3.” They were too good to lose and they still said a great deal.”
A rough, black and white cut of the footage is available as the special feature “Reel 13” on the most recent version of the DVD release.
Sequencing: “Hey You” at the Beginning or the End of Side Three?
Some have argued that “Hey You” makes more sense in the narrative between “Comfortably Numb” and “The Show Must Go On” and that Pink has just completely withdrawn from his world in the previous song, “Goodbye Cruel World”. One of the arguments is that it makes more sense for Pink to reach out later on in a call for help outside his “wall” between him and the audience, so to speak, at the show he’s about to perform. It is a valid point and in the production demos, you can hear the tracks in that sequence.
I think “Hey You” works better at the beginning of the half where it was eventually released. Thinking of The Wall as theater, “Hey You” is an excellent way to begin the second “act.” It ties in several themes both musically and conceptually. For me, it’s a combination of an overture for the second act and a call for help from Pink from a very lonely place.
Just to hear for myself, I created a demo with “Hey You” sequenced between “Numb” and “Show” just to see how a finished version would sound. Thematically it may work but musically it just seemed to float out there. Overall, it was a good call and “Hey You” is perfect right where it is.
Pink Floyd Off The Wall – Special Radio Construction (1979). (4:40) A rare 1979 US 8-track, radio-friendly promo sampler LP for The Wall album distributed mainly to radio stations. This version has a clean outro. The mix fades out early and completely before any of the television sound effects preceding “Is There Anybody Out There?” rather than an actual extended, clean outro. Missed opportunity there to get an extra second or two of Waters’ echoing vocal. Mastering of the vinyl was a little better than the mastering of the LP due to its deeper grooves.
“Comfortably Numb” / “Hey You” single (1980). (4:40) Nothing edited. It’s all here. The original US version is just a lousy, noisy pressing on crappy Columbia 7″ styrene.
Last updated: January 18, 2018