...there are some very beautiful tunes nestling amid the pomp...
Daryl Easlea 2007-04-17
The Wall is possibly the greatest case of being careful what you wish for in rock music. The runaway success of 1973's Dark Side Of The Moon had trapped Pink Floyd into being a stadium band. Any intricacies or improvisation that one may have demanded from a Floyd show had gradually disappeared in favour of playing the hits – or in their case, whole albums – to audiences who didn't understand what leader Roger Waters was writing about. As their star grew ever bigger in America, fans came to party, not to appreciate their art. Waters was disgusted by this and spat in a fan's face at a gig in Montreal as he tried to get onstage. Shocked at his own actions and mournful at the alienation between fan and performer, he set about writing his magnum opus.
Recorded in Los Angeles, France and London over an eight month period, The Wall is a sort of recorded version of the David Essex film, Stardust. The tale of rock star makes it; falls apart; is put together to perform by those whose lives depend on him; goes bonkers, turns fascist and faces retribution. Its themes of loneliness, war, loveless marriages and overbearing mothers struck an enormous chord with audiences the world over; the accompanying stage show, which saw the group perform large sections of the show behind a polystyrene wall, wrote this alienation large.
Despite some of the morbidity of most of the material, there are some very beautiful tunes nestling amid the pomp, most notably the David Gilmour co-write, "Comfortably Numb," with Bob Ezrin's orchestration and Gilmour's searing guitar solo. It has become the single track that most defines Pink Floyd. The Wall also contained the unlikely Christmas No.1 "Another Brick In the Wall (Part II)".