“Sitting in a bunker here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms to come”
To shave a few more seconds from the running time of side 4 of the album, a short section of “Waiting For The Worms” was trimmed from the final release.
The song is not in the track listing of Waters’ original demo, Bricks In The Wall, but it was added to The Wall early on and appears on the first band production demo dated January 9, 1979. Originally called “Follow The Worms”, it was sequenced between “Run Like Hell” and “Trial by Puppet” (what later became “The Trial”). This sequence of the three tracks can be heard on the first disc of The Wall: Work In Progress on the Immersion box set. Without “Stop” there to serve as musical contrast and a dramatic buffer, “Worms” ends cold with the sound of an old jail cell door slamming shut, followed by echoing footsteps in a hall. The musical intro of “Trial by Puppet” then starts.
Although mostly rerecorded over subsequent months, the sound and feel of the final release version remained relatively unchanged from this early demo version. This version includes the recording of Roger Waters’ bullhorn invective which made it on to the final release.
Roger Waters talked about the fascist overtones of the track and the rant with Jim Ladd:
“The thing that is really important about ‘Waiting For The Worms,’ mainly as you’ve spotted it’s just a kind of long rambling, ranting piece of nonsense, is that it’s beginning to wear off….in the story, whatever it is that the doctor has given him is beginning to wear off and he’s kind of flipping backwards and forwards from ranting and raving to saying it starts off sitting in a bunker.
“And then he keeps flipping into the other persona which is the raving, facist persona that he has adopted. I could explain one thing and that is that all that shouting, the bullhorn stuff is actually describing a march from a place in south London. It’s a heavily black-populated area of south London where the National Front is particularly active. And it describes a march from a place called Brixton Town Hall and it just describes the roads and things and which bridge they come over and where they’re going. And they’re going towards Hyde Park Corner to have a rally in Hyde Park. And at the end of it, I don’t know if can hear, they’re saying “hammer.” And that’s another thing. On side four, the audience who start off in between ‘The Show Must Go On’ and ‘In The Flesh’…you can hear them chanting “Pink… Floyd…,” but slowly that gets taken over by “hammer.” The idea was for a rock show to turn into a rally.”
By the second band production demo of March 23, 1979, the title of the track had been changed to “Waiting For The Worms”.
The studio release from the album is about 3m 57s in length. The movie version was edited down considerably and clocks in at 2m 27s. The track was never released as a single or a B-side.
On the studio and live releases, Waters shouts the line “Eins, zwei, drei, alle…” to open the track. It is German for “One, two, three, all….” The line does not appear on the liner notes.
The marching hammers and other animations by Gerald Scarfe seen during this segment of the film were stretched and repurposed from the original animations projected on the wall during the original 1980-81 live performances. In the original stage shows, the song climaxed as rows of marching hammers were projected across the completed wall behind the band.
What Got Cut
- As the track builds to its fevered crescendo, just over six seconds was cut. Two bars of the crowd chanting “Hammers, hammers…” along with extra guitar work were trimmed off a few beats before the track’s cold ending. These extra seconds can be heard in Pink Floyd The Wall movie soundtrack.
Pink Floyd The Wall movie (1982). Over a minute and a half was cut from the movie version. Despite the cuts, the film version restores just over six seconds of music with the crowd chanting “Hammers, hammers…”. This was trimmed from the very end of the track. The missing section can be heard at the 2’17” mark of the movie version.
Last update: August 19, 2017