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Intro

"Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" is not your typical Pink Floyd song. This is a band who believed their music should be listened to, not danced to, and yet we get a catchy disco beat. The members prided themselves on the cerebral nature of their art, but the kids' choir in the second half of the song is a bit gimmicky. How did this happen?

It turns out that the band's producer, who was scheming for a marketable single, played a large role in the making of "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2." While the band ended up approving the song, it took it a while to come around.

Lo and behold, "Another Brick in the Wall" became the band's only #1 hit, and it remains one of their most recognizable songs. On top of that, it may be their most important. Most Pink Floyd fans would disagree with you there, citing one of a dozen other more complex and esoteric pieces as better art. But while it may not be on top of the "true fan's" playlist, "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" did play its way into history – specifically, into the resistance to education as "thought control" in apartheid-era South Africa.   

How did a song that started out as a mere 1-minute transition between two other ones end up doing that? Read on to find out.

About the Song

ArtistPink Floyd Musician(s)Roger Waters (bass guitar, back-up vocals), David Gilmour (lead vocals, guitar), Nick Mason (drums), Richard Wright (Hammond organ), Islington Green School student choir (vocals)
AlbumThe Wall
Year1979
LabelHarvest (U.K.), Columbia (U.S.)
Writer(s)Roger Waters
Producer(s)Bob Ezrin, David Gilmour, James Guthrie and Roger Waters
Learn to play: Tablature
Buy this song: Amazon iTunes
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Shmoop Connections

Explore the ways this song connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop
"Another Brick in the Wall" was the work of Pink Floyd, one of rock and roll's most influential groups. Their innovative instrumentation and provocative concept albums pushed the boundaries of rock and roll and inspired a host of imitators. But this song influenced more than the history of rock and roll. Its 1984-esque vision of education as a tool for "thought control" struck much too close to home for some people. Faced with an even steeper uphill climb than the black Americans who advocated for advocate for more militant measures to combat segregation in the United States, black South Africans were locked in a struggle to throw off their country's institutionalized system of segregation, called apartheid, at the time the album came out. In fact, the song was so relevant that the South African government banned it. Needless to say, this song got to be pretty important – and it wasn't because of its disco beat.

On the Charts

"Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song hit #1 in the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Australia, Sweden, and Denmark.

This track is #375 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
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