Pink Floyd‘s enduring and influential concept album The Wall was released 40 years ago today, November 30.
Written mostly by singer/bassist Roger Waters, The Wall tells the story of a rock star named Pink, whose father is killed in World War II before he’s born, and who is psychologically abused as a child by his mother and teachers. His various traumas lead the adult Pink to build a metaphorical wall around himself.
The story was inspired by Roger’s own life and his feeling of alienation from his audience, sparked by an incident at a 1977 Pink Floyd concert in which he spit at a fan near the stage.
Originally released as a two-LP set, the album spent 15 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart in 1980. It includes Pink Floyd’s only chart-topping single, “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II),” as well as rock-radio staples like “Comfortably Numb,” “Hey You,” “Run Like Hell,” “Young Lust” and “Mother.”
The Wall has sold more than 11.5 million copies in the U.S., and has been certified 23-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Pink Floyd supported The Wall with a series of dramatic concerts during which a giant wall was built between the band and the audience.
Then, in 1982, a surreal musical film inspired by the album combining live action and animation premiered. It starred Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats and was directed by Alan Parker.
As a solo artist, Waters revisited The Wall for a massive world tour that ran from 2010 to 2013. The show was a multimedia spectacle featuring video projections, giant puppets, pyrotechnics and more.
An opera based on The Wall premiered in Montreal in 2017.
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