“You! Yes, you! Stand still, laddie.”
This is one of the album’s shorter songs. It clocks in at only 1m 51s; of that, the first 24 seconds is the sound of a helicopter approaching. This is followed by the Teacher shouting one of The Wall’s most iconic lines, “You! Yes, you! Stand still, laddie.”
“The Happiest Days Of Our Lives” is about how the now school-age Pink sees the contempt certain teachers have for their students and the rumors “around the town” (realistically, more like between the other schoolchildren — you remember grade school) about those teachers’ dark and suppressed home life. Pink seems to take glee in the thought that the teacher is probably as miserable at home as he makes his students at school. In the DVD commentary for the movie version of The Wall, Roger Waters admits to having teachers like the one we see punishing Pink.
“Happiest Days Of Our Lives” was not on Roger Waters’ original Wall demo tape and was added to the storyboard later. It makes its first appearance by the work’s second production demo, dated March 23, 1979. This shorter track replaced “Teacher, Teacher” in the running order to help trim time off of side 1. At the time, Waters felt that track was redundant because “The Happiest Days Of Our Lives” tells a similar story except from the viewpoint of Pink.
Other than the recording being fleshed out musically by the band, the track remained basically the same throughout the rest of production. A very raw recording of a Roger Waters’ demo of the track can be heard on the Work In Progress discs of the Immersion box set. This demo recording is raw and distorted and sounds a lot like one of the original demos, although no date is given to indicate when it was recorded. Again, the song was not originally part of his original demo, but this may have been one of his leftover tracks.
The track has never been issued as a single per se, but since its release, radio has usually programmed the track followed by its segue into “Another Brick In the Wall, Part 2”, giving the combined tracks a running time of about 5m 50s.
The film version features an annoying split into two parts with a scene and some dialog inserted into the middle. The scene is set in a classroom; the Teacher grabs Pink’s little black book of poems. The poem he quotes is a few lines from Pink Floyd’s 1973 hit “Money.” This works within the context of the movie and the use of “Money” is a nice nod to Floyd fans. When listening to the audio-only of this version, this split takes the listener right out of the track.
Pink Floyd The Wall movie (1982). The film version adds a few changes to the track. A longer sequence with the sound of an approaching train as Pink and his friends play in a tunnel is used instead of the helicopter sound effects. Actor Alex McAvoy, who played the Teacher in the film, says the lines “You! Yes, you! Stand still, laddie.”
In the film, the song is split with the first part fading out after the line “… however carefully hidden by the kid.” A classroom scene and additional dialog was inserted into the middle. In it, the Teacher grabs Pink’s little black book of poems. The poem he quotes is a few lines from Pink Floyd’s 1973 hit “Money.” An additional 8 beats of the bass, drums and cymbal stabs has been added under the end of the dialog to help with the segue as it fades back into the music.
The instrumental transition to “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II” has additional chorus harmony vocals which are much more present in the mix. These additional vocals are used in all live versions of the track.
Last update: January 3, 2018