16 Secrets, Tricks, And Symbols From Your Favorite Pink Floyd Songs

It’s high time to demystify some of the most interesting and multilayered music in rock history. And while we explore some of Pink Floyd’s careful artistic considerations, don’t forget to cue up their catalog, now streaming on Spotify.

1. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is so deep of a tribute to Syd Barrett that the song title is an acrostic poem using the letters of his first name.

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2. “See Emily Play” might be completely based on a hallucination. Syd Barrett claims he woke up in the woods with a girl one night after a gig, but its unconfirmed if she was a real person.

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3. There’s a reason why you can’t immediately recognize who’s singing the lead vocals on “Have A Cigar.” It’s Roy Harper – a British folk singer – brought in to objectively “play the part” of the record exec and sing from his perspective.

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4. The chant at the end of “Fearless” is “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the musical Carousel being performed by Liverpool football fans. The Rogers & Hammerstein classic is their team theme song.

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5. The Wish You Were Here album art is a manifestation of “getting burned,” which represents a host of things: Syd Barrett’s mental burnout, the band’s arguments over royalty payments, and their general disillusionment with the music industry at large.

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6. The spoken lines woven throughout The Dark Side of the Moon were all recorded from people milling around Abbey Road Studios. Roger Waters wrote philosophical questions on cue cards and had them respond.

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Participants included Paul and Linda McCartney, but their responses didn’t make it onto the record.

7. The clocks and alarm bells at the beginning of “Time” were all recorded separately at antique stores by producer Alan Parsons. He just wanted something to use for a quadrophonic surround sound demo.

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8. “The lunatic” heard laughing throughout The Dark Side of the Moon is Peter Watts, the band’s tour manager at the time.

 

The lunatic is on the grass…

9. The final quote on the album, at the end of “Eclipse,” was spoken by Jerry Driscoll – the doorman at Abbey Road. If you listen closely, you can faintly hear The Beatles’ “Ticket To Ride” playing in the background, which was playing in the lobby.

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10. There is not a single use of “I” in “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2,” despite the rest of The Wall being about the journey of a single character. This, in tandem with a lockstep marching rhythm, is meant to symbolize institutionalism and imprisonment.

11. The crackling, low-fi opening sounds and scanning on “Wish You Were Here” were recorded from David Gilmour’s car radio. They ran a rig out of Abbey Road to capture it.

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12. The line “My hands felt just like two balloons” from “Comfortably Numb” refers to a hallucination Roger Waters had while suffering from a 105 degree fever as a child.

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13. In the film version of The Wall, there’s a scene where Pink shaves off his eyebrows and all of his facial hair – which is actually a recreation of how disturbing Syd Barrett looked when visiting one of the band’s sessions after his breakdown.

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14. The spoken vocals on “Learning To Fly” actually came from a recording of Nick Mason participating in an airplane flying lesson.

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15. On Animals: the “pigs” represent moral authority, the “sheep” are the everyday bystanders that follow the orders of the “pigs,” and the “dogs” are those that desire to revolt and overthrow the “pigs.”

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16. Most people know about the mysterious alignments between moments from The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz, but the 23-minute-long “Echoes” also has a coincidental cinematic sync to the final sequence of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Everett Collection

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