David Gilmour regrets the hit song of The Pink Floyd

David Gilmour

Pink Floyd was a band that constantly pushed the boundaries of their music, using it as a tool to engage in broader discussions about societal issues. Roger Waters and David Gilmour, the two influential figures behind the band, often had differing perspectives when it came to the messages conveyed through their remarkable work with Pink Floyd.

Throughout the history of music in popular culture, bands have possessed the ability to shape the thoughts and beliefs of younger generations. Whether it’s their style or their stance on important political matters, artists hold the power to influence the masses. Consequently, when they express themselves, they bear a weighty responsibility.

Nonetheless, not every message conveyed through a band’s art should be taken literally. Pink Floyd had a knack for infusing their work with a healthy dose of satire and artistic flair. A prime example of this is their song ‘Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)’. It featured a children’s choir chanting, “We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control, No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teacher, leave them kids alone.”

Many misinterpreted this playful chorus as a call to arms by Pink Floyd, demanding the end of education for Britain’s children. Ironically, they missed the double negative subtly woven into the chorus’s fabric. The song generated controversy. And according to Alun Renshaw, the head of music at Islington Green School, where the students sang on the track, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher “hated it.”

Although the elimination of education would have left Renshaw out of work, he viewed the track differently. “I wanted to make music relevant to the kids – not just sitting around listening to Tchaikovsky.  I just thought it would be a wonderful experience for the kids.”

Renshaw even made the recording without the knowledge of headteacher Margaret Maden, who initially had reservations about the song’s lyrics. However, she later conceded, “On balance, it was part of a very rich musical education.”

Waters later addressed the misunderstanding surrounding ‘Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)’. “You couldn’t find anybody in the world more pro-education than me. But the education I received in a boys’ grammar school in the ’50s was very controlling and demanded rebellion. The teachers were weak and, therefore, easy targets. The song is meant to be a rebellion against a wayward government, against those who hold power over you and are wrong. It absolutely demanded that you rebel against that.”

His bandmate Gilmour later discussed his qualms about the song’s misinterpretation and Pink Floyd’s role in it. Speaking to Andrew Marr on the BBC, he said, “Roger would say it’s all about context. And now I’m not sure if it was a wise idea to release something like that as a single.”

David Gilmour continued, “We do need teachers, and Roger was referring to the kind of teachers that were quite common in schools in our country when we were growing up. But I think I wouldn’t release that as a song in today’s climate.

Although Gilmour would opt against releasing ‘Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)’ in today’s environment, the song went on to become a significant part of the South African apartheid movement. It’s clear that Waters has no regrets about the song and its message.

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