Brain Damage / Eclipse (as made famous by Pink Floyd)

“Brain Damage” is the ninth track[nb 1] from English rock band Pink Floyd’s 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon.[1][2] It was sung on record by Roger Waters (with harmonies by David Gilmour), who would continue to sing it on his solo tours. Gilmour sang the lead vocal when Pink Floyd performed it live on their 1994 tour (as can be heard on Pulse). The band originally called this track “Lunatic” during live performances and recording sessions.

When the band reconvened after the American leg of the Meddle tour, Roger Waters brought with him a prototype version of “Brain Damage” along with other songs such as “Money”. He had been playing the song during the recording of the Meddle album in 1971, when it was called “The Dark Side of the Moon”. Eventually this title would be used for the album itself. The song seemed to be partially inspired by their former band member Syd Barrett who had endured a mental breakdown. After road testing, the new suite entitled “A Piece for Assorted Lunatics”, the song was recorded in October along with “Any Colour You Like”. The piece represents Waters’ association with acoustic-tinged ballads, and along with “If” and “Grantchester Meadows”, “Brain Damage” uses a simple melody and delivery. David Gilmour actively encouraged Waters to sing the song, even though at this time he wasn’t particularly confident about his vocal abilities.

The song is somewhat slow, with a guitar arpeggio pattern similar to the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence”. It is in the key of D major and features a recurring lyrical pattern and chorus.

Roger Waters has stated that the insanity-themed lyrics are based on former Floyd frontman Syd Barrett’s mental instability, with the line “I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon” indicating that he felt related to him in terms of mental idiosyncrasies. The line “And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes…” references Barrett’s behaviour near the end of his tenure with the band; because of his mental problems, there were more than a few occasions where Barrett would play a different song than the rest of the band in the middle of a concert. The song has a rather famous opening line, “The lunatic is on the grass…”, whereby Waters is referring to areas of turf which display signs saying “Please keep off the grass” with the exaggerated implication that disobeying such signs might indicate insanity. The lyrics’ tongue-in-cheek nature is further emphasised by Waters’ assertion in the 2003 documentary Classic Albums: Pink Floyd – The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon that not letting people on such beautiful grass was the real insanity. Waters said that the particular patch of grass he had in mind when writing the song was to the rear of King’s College, Cambridge.

The German literary scholar and media theorist Friedrich Kittler attaches great relevance to the song, referring to its lyrics as well as to its technological arrangement. For him, the three verses stage the (sound) technological evolution from mono to stereo, culminating in total, “maddening” surround sound.[3]

In a 2008 paper in Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges Fusar-Poli and Madini suggest that the song includes avant-garde techniques and philosophical lyrics can be approached and analysed from a psychological perspective. The line “Got to keep the loonies on the path” references the attempt to maintain order and establish sanity. The detached description of a lobotomy is demonstrated in line “You raise the blade, you make the change. You re-arrange me ’till I’m sane”. The line “I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon”, which became a famous metaphor of human irrationality, expresses that madness that is always present but invisible, waiting to be exposed. In Sigmund Freud’s terms it would be the unconscious.[4]

Some releases of Dark Side of the Moon, for example TC-SHVL. 804 (cassette, New Zealand release) and Q4SHVL 804(quad LP, UK release) have a different mix of “Brain Damage”. During the closing instrumental, beginning at about 3:02, after the second chorus and leading into the final track, “Eclipse”, only Peter Watts’ “lunatic laughing” is heard, repeatedly, unlike other versions which have the speech sample “I can’t think of anything to say”, then Peter Watts’ laugh and another sample “I think it’s nice (ha ha ha)”.[citation needed]

Roger Waters – bass guitar, lead vocals, tape effects
David Gilmour – electric guitars, harmony vocals
Richard Wright – Hammond organ, VCS3 synthesizer
Nick Mason – drums, tubular bells, tape effects
Lesley Duncan – backing vocals
Doris Troy – backing vocals
Barry St. John – backing vocals
Liza Strike – backing vocals
The uncredited manic laughter is that of Pink Floyd’s then-road manager, Peter Watts.[5]

“Eclipse” is the tenth[nb 1] and final track from British progressive rock band Pink Floyd’s 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon. It was sung by Roger Waters, with harmonies by David Gilmour and Rick Wright. After Waters left the band, Gilmour sang the lead when performing live. This song was one of several to be considered for the band’s “best of” album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.[1]

This song serves as the album’s end and features a loud, repetitive melody that builds up, then ends with a very quiet outro. When the main instrumentation ends at 1:30, the sound of a heartbeat from the first track, “Speak to Me”, appears, which appears again in 9/8, and gradually fades to silence.

Harmonically, the song consists of a repeating 4-bar chord progression: D, D/C, B♭maj7, and A7sus4 resolving to A7. The bass line is a descending tetrachord.

David Gilmour recorded two tracks of rhythm guitar, playing arpeggios, one in open position, and one much higher, around the tenth fret. The lower-pitched guitar part includes the open G and E strings during the B♭maj7, resulting in an added sixth and a dissonant augmented fourth. The quartet of female backing singers vary their parts, rising in volume, and echoing some of Roger Waters’ lyrics, as the piece builds in intensity. On the last repetition of the chord progression, the B♭maj7 leads directly to a climax on D major, resulting in a “brightening” effect (known as the Picardy third), as the aforementioned implication of D minor in the B♭maj7 chord shifts to the major.[2][3]

Waters wrote the lyrics on the road for the “Brain Damage” / “Eclipse” closing sequence as he felt the whole piece was “unfinished”.[4] The final words sung on the song and, indeed the album The Dark Side of the Moon, directs the listener, “and everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.” Waters explained the meaning of these words as well as the entire song by asserting:

I don’t see it as a riddle. The album uses the sun and the moon as symbols; the light and the dark; the good and the bad; the life force as opposed to the death force. I think it’s a very simple statement saying that all the good things life can offer are there for us to grasp, but that the influence of some dark force in our natures prevents us from seizing them. The song addresses the listener and says that if you, the listener, are affected by that force, and if that force is a worry to you, well I feel exactly the same too. The line ‘I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon’ is me speaking to the listener, saying, ‘I know you have these bad feelings and impulses because I do too, and one of the ways I can make direct contact with you is to share with you the fact that I feel bad sometimes.[5]

The doorman of Abbey Road Studios, Gerry O’Driscoll, is heard speaking at 1:37, answering the question: “What is ‘the dark side of the moon’?” with: “There is no dark side in the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark. The only thing that makes it look light is the sun.”[6][7]

A section of an orchestral version of the Beatles song “Ticket to Ride” can be heard faintly at the very end of the recording. That was unintended: the music was playing in the background at Abbey Road when Gerry O’Driscoll was being recorded.[8] This is not included on the 1983 Japanese Black Triangle CD issue of the album or any FLAC remastered versions of the album; the sound technicians copied one of the heartbeat samples, removed the orchestral “Ticket to Ride”, repeatedly pasted the sample in and faded out the new outro.

Roger Waters – bass guitar, lead vocals
David Gilmour – electric guitars, backing vocals
Richard Wright – Hammond organ, backing vocals
Nick Mason – drums, bass drums, tape effects
Lesley Duncan – backing vocals
Doris Troy – backing vocals
Barry St. John – backing vocals
Liza Strike – backing vocals

Wish You Were Here (as made famous by Pink Floyd)

“Wish You Were Here” is the title track on Pink Floyd’s 1975 album Wish You Were Here.[1][2] Like most of the album, it refers to former Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett and his breakdown. David Gilmour and Roger Waters collaborated to write the music, and Gilmour sang the lead vocal.

In the original album version, the song segues from “Have a Cigar” as if a radio had been tuned away from one station, through several others (including a radio play and one playing the opening of the finale movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony), and finally to a new station where “Wish You Were Here” is beginning.[4] The radio was recorded from Gilmour’s car radio. He performed the intro on a twelve-string guitar, processed to sound like it was playing through an AM radio, and then overdubbed a fuller-sounding acoustic guitar solo. This passage was mixed to sound as though a guitarist were listening to the radio and playing along. As the acoustic part becomes more complex, the ‘radio broadcast’ fades away and Gilmour’s voice enters, becoming joined by the full band.[5]

The intro riff is repeated several times, before Gilmour plays further solos with scat singing accompaniment. A third verse follows, featuring an increasingly expressive vocal from Gilmour and audible backing vocals. At the end of the recorded song, the final solo crossfades with wind sound effects, and finally segues into the second section of the multi-part suite “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”.

‘Wish You Were Here’ was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, as part of the sessions for the entire album.

A noted part of the song was a planned contribution by Stéphane Grappelli. A jazz violinist popular at the time and well known for his collaborations with Yehudi Menuhin, both violinists were recording in a downstairs studio at Abbey Road at the time. Gilmour had suggested that there be a little “country fiddle” at the end of the song and invited them to participate. Grappelli duly obliged (Menuhin declined) on arranging a session fee of £300, equivalent to £2,300 in 2017.[6] Ultimately during mixing it was decided to almost remove his contribution, although it can just be heard around 5:21. According to Waters it was decided that it would be insulting to credit Grappelli in the sleeve notes for something so inaudible, although he did receive the agreed-upon fee.[7][8][9]

As part of the Why Pink Floyd…? campaign, the Experience and Immersion versions of the Wish You Were Here album include an alternative version of the song where Grappelli’s part is heard in the instrumental break after the second verse and throughout the third verse before a considerably extended outro. Other less obvious differences are audible, for example at the section leading into the second verse.

The master tape of the original recording includes an entire performance of pedal steel guitar and electric guitar solos, played by David Gilmour, that were not used in the final mix.[citation needed]

David Gilmour – six and twelve-string acoustic guitars, pedal steel guitar, tape effects, lead and backing vocals, scat singing
Nick Mason – drums, tape effects
Roger Waters – bass guitar, tape effects
Richard Wright – Steinway piano, Minimoog

Comfortably Numb (as made famous by Pink Floyd)

“Comfortably Numb” (working title “The Doctor”) [3] is a song by the English rock band Pink Floyd, which first appears on the 1979 double album The Wall. It was also released as a single in 1980 with “Hey You” as the B-side. It is one of only three songs on the album for which writing credits are shared between guitarist David Gilmour and bassist Roger Waters. The chorus music and guitar solos were written by Gilmour while Waters contributed the lyrics and the music for the verses. An early version of the song was included under the working title on the “Immersion Box Set” of The Wall, released in 2012.

The song is one of Pink Floyd’s most famous, and is renowned especially for its guitar solos in the middle and at the end of the song.[4] In 2004, the song was ranked number 314 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[5] In 2005, it became the last song ever to be performed by Waters, Gilmour, keyboardist Richard Wright, and drummer Nick Mason together. In 2011, the song was ranked 5th in the BBC Radio 4’s listeners’ Desert Island Discs[6] choices. The two guitar solos were ranked as the greatest guitar solos of all time by both Planet Rock listeners and WatchMojo.com.[7][8]

The Wall is a concept album about Pink, an embittered and alienated rock star. This song compares Pink’s memories of being feverishly ill as a child with his feeling nothing at all in adulthood. The lyrics feature interplay between a doctor treating the adult Pink (verses, sung by Waters) and Pink’s inner monologue (chorus, sung by Gilmour).

A large group consisting of Pink’s manager (Bob Hoskins), the hotel manager (Michael Ensign), paramedics, and roadies burst into Pink’s trashed hotel room, to find an unconscious Pink (Bob Geldof) sitting in a chair. As the paramedics try to revive Pink, his manager berates him, complaining about how he never liked him. The hotel manager does not take kindly to Pink’s destruction of the room, but Pink’s manager insists that “he’s an artist”, and eventually resorts to stuffing cash into the hotel manager’s pockets. After injecting a drug into Pink’s arm, the paramedics drag Pink out of the hotel and to his limousine.

He is then transported to a concert where he was scheduled to play. Flashbacks of Pink’s childhood are inter-cut into the scene. In the flashback, a young Pink finds a wild rat and shows it to his overprotective mother. Her negative reaction towards the rodent causes Pink to hide the rat in a nearby shed. Pink later catches a fever that keeps him bed-ridden for some time. After he recovers, Pink returns to the shed only to find that the rat has died in his absence. Pink dumps its lifeless body in a nearby river.

As he is dragged through the halls of the hotel towards a waiting limousine, the drug causes Pink to hallucinate that his body is developing into a hideous, bulbous pink shell. He dreams of injured (or perhaps dead) soldiers attempting to give him back his deceased rat, accompanied by his disapproving (and heavily made-up) doctor and teacher. Upon being pushed into the limousine, Pink tears off his diseased shell to reveal himself in Nazi-like military attire, and now appears very clean, alert, and in control of his surroundings.

The mix of “Comfortably Numb” in the film is very much the same as the album version, except that Richard Wright’s organ before David Gilmour’s final solo is removed, the bass guitar is more prominent, and Pink’s screams (as performed by Roger Waters) are mixed in, as he claws his way out of his shell. Additionally, the song in the film has an additional line at the start, “Is there anybody in there?”, when Pink’s associates barge into his hotel room.

The verses are composed in the key of B minor, while the chorus is in that key’s relative major, D major. The song, together with “Mother”, is one of two tracks on The Wall which are free-standing and do not fade into or out of an adjacent track. This is also the longest song on the album at 6:21, followed by “Mother”, which is 5:32.

According to Rolling Stone, the lyrics came from Roger Waters’ experience when he was injected with tranquilizers for stomach cramps by a doctor prior to playing a Pink Floyd show in Philadelphia on the band’s 1977 In the Flesh tour.[9][10] “That was the longest two hours of my life,” Waters said, “trying to do a show when you can hardly lift your arm.” The experience gave him the idea which eventually became the lyrics to this song.

An afterthought from Gilmour’s first solo album, the music first existed as a largely wordless demo. “I never get to the ‘I have become comfortably numb’ bit,” the guitarist recalled, “because Roger said he wanted to put that line in as a lyric, and I had to write the extra bit there and then.”[11]

Waters and Gilmour disagreed about how to record the song as Gilmour preferred a more grungy style for the verses. In the end, Waters’ preferred opening to the song and Gilmour’s final solo were used on the album. Gilmour would later say, “We argued over ‘Comfortably Numb’ like mad. Really had a big fight, went on for ages.”[12] For the backing of Gilmour’s vocal section, he and session player Lee Ritenour used a pair of high-strung acoustic guitars, similar to “Nashville” tuning, only the low E string was replaced with a high E string, two octaves higher than normal, instead of one. This tuning was also used for the arpeggios heard throughout most of “Hey You”.[13]

In 1989, readers of the Pink Floyd fanzine The Amazing Pudding voted this song the best Floyd song of all time.

This song features two guitar solos by Gilmour. The first solo is played over a shortened version of the chorus music, and the longer outro solo is played over the verse structure. David Gilmour’s solo was rated the 4th best guitar solo of all-time by Guitar World magazine, in a reader poll.[14] Also in Guitar World, there were details on David Gilmour’s “Comfortably Numb” solo, stating that the solo (most likely the outro solo) was pieced together from several other solos that he had been experimenting with at the time; this was accomplished by recording several solos and marking his preferred segments for the perfect final take. In August 2006, it was voted the greatest guitar solo of all time in a poll by listeners of digital radio station Planet Rock.[15] In addition, Gilmour’s guitar tone in the song was named best guitar sound by Guitarist magazine in November 2010.[16]

Phil Taylor, Pink Floyd’s technician, declared:

[David Gilmour] is obviously using a couple of effects, like a Big Muff and a delay, but it really is just his fingers, his vibrato, his choice of notes and how he sets his effects. I find it extraordinary when people think they can copy his sound by duplicating his gear. In reality, no matter how well you duplicate the equipment, you will never be able to duplicate the personality.[17]

During the 1980/81 The Wall tour, where a giant wall was constructed across the stage during the performance, the song was performed with Roger Waters dressed as a doctor at the bottom of the wall, and David Gilmour singing and playing guitar from the top of the wall on a raised platform with spotlights shining from behind him. It was the first time the audience’s attention was drawn to the top of the completed wall. According to David Gilmour, the final solo was one of the few opportunities during those concerts that he was free to improvise completely.

Gilmour declared:

It was a fantastic moment, I can tell, to be standing up on there, and Roger’s just finished singing his thing, and I’m standing there, waiting. I’m in pitch darkness and no one knows I’m there yet. And Roger’s down and he finishes his line, I start mine and the big back spots and everything go on and the audience, they’re all looking straight ahead and down, and suddenly there’s all this light up there and they all sort of—their heads all lift up and there’s this thing up there and the sound’s coming out and everything. Every night there’s this sort of “[gasp!]” from about 15,000 people. And that’s quite something, let me tell you.[18]

After Waters had left the band, Gilmour also revised the verses to his preferred grungier approach during live performances. The verse vocals were arranged for three-part harmonies. In both 1987–88 and 1994, the verses were sung by Richard Wright, Guy Pratt and Jon Carin.

In December 1988, a video of the live performance from Delicate Sound of Thunder reached number 11 on MTV’s Top 20 Video Countdown. The video was two minutes shorter than the album version and the video clip had different camera angles from the home video version.

A 10-minute version of “Comfortably Numb” was performed at Earls Court, London on 20 October 1994, as part of The Division Bell tour. The Pulse video release edited out approximately 1:20 minutes of the ending solo, whereas the original pay-per-view video showed the unedited version.

Pink Floyd, complete with Waters, reunited briefly to perform at the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park, London in July 2005. The set consisted of four songs, of which “Comfortably Numb” was the last.

Roger Waters – vocals (verses), bass guitar
David Gilmour – vocals (chorus), bass guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, Prophet-5 synthesiser
Nick Mason – drums
Richard Wright – organ
Michael Kamen – orchestral arrangements
Lee Ritenour – acoustic guitar[24]

Bike (as made famous by Pink Floyd)

“Bike” is a song by British rock band Pink Floyd, which is the final track featured on their 1967 debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.[1][2]

In the song, Syd Barrett’s lyrical subject shows a girl his bike (which he borrowed); a cloak; a homeless, aging mouse that he calls Gerald; and a clan of gingerbread men, because she “fits in with [his] world.” With each repetition of the chorus, a sudden percussive noise is heard similar to the firing of two gunshots. Towards the end of the song, he offers to take her into a “room of musical tunes”. The final verse is followed by an instrumental section that is a piece of musique concrète: a noisy collage of oscillators, clocks, gongs, bells, a violin, and other sounds edited with tape techniques, apparently the “other room” spoken of in the song and giving the impression of the turning gears of a bicycle. The ending of the song fades out with a tape loop of the band members laughing reversed and played at double speed. The song was written for Barrett’s then girlfriend, Jenny Spires. She is also mentioned as “Jennifer Gentle” in the song “Lucifer Sam”, which is also on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

Syd Barrett – electric guitars, double-tracked lead vocals, laughing, tape effects
Richard Wright – piano, tack piano, harmonium, celesta, violin, double-tracked backing vocals (final verse), laughing, tape effects
Roger Waters – bass guitar, laughing, tape effects
Nick Mason – drums, timpani, chimes, percussion, laughing, tape effects