And then there was Pink Floyd’s The Wall, the other megaphenomenal double album release of late 1979.1 Unlike Tusk, The Wall sold around fifteen million copies in the U.S. It was truly a huge success. In the spring and summer of 1980, I couldn’t go anywhere without hearing fellow high school students bellowing tunelessly, “WE DON’T NEED NO EDUCATION!” Yeah, it was a great tune the first, second, third and even fourth time I heard it. By the time I’d heard it a few dozen times, though, it kind of wore out its welcome.
TBH, The Wall has not aged at all well from an adult POV. As an eighteen-year-old, I certainly dug its view of society and its inhabitants as a twisted, warped group of people who actively enjoyed warping innocents into their own sick gestalt. The older I got, though, the more I viewed Pink Floyd (really? This was the name of the album’s protagonist? How obvious.) as a not-very-relatable drugged out rich misogynistic rock star who whined about how hard his life was while smashing TVs, frightening groupies, getting stoned before concerts and pissing off his fans who’d paid good money to see him perform.
And I still feel that way. But I can’t deny that The Wall as a rock opera is a creepily compelling listen, although it drags on side three. I always felt it could’ve been cut to one record—the first one—but then we’d never have had the beautiful Hey You and the eerie Comfortably Numb. So I’ll endure songs like Bring The Boys Back Home and Waiting For The Worms so I can have the penultimate climax with The Trial.
Oh, the film is spectacularly creepy, too. And a Fun Fact: The album’s illustrator, Gerald Scarfe, has been happily married to British actress Jane Asher since 1981.2