'Run Like Hell'
Pink Floyd's ambitious double-album 'The Wall' follows the story of the character Pink, who endures a traumatic childhood and becomes a rock star, but continues to battle personal demons. Catchy enough to be released as the third single from 'The Wall,' 'Run Like Hell' got to No. 53 in 1980, making it the band's third-biggest hit in the US.
'Young Lust' is one of the more straightforward hard rock songs in Pink Floyd's catalog. Playing the role of Pink cheating on his wife, Gilmour sings, "I need a dirty woman." The song ends with a phone conversation in which Pink realizes his wife has also been cheating on him. A 1990 version by Bryan Adams cracked the Mainstream Rock chart Top 10.
The song's bluesy feel, unusual time signature, and accompanied cash register effects have made 'Money' one of the most popular Pink Floyd songs on 'The Dark Side of the Moon' album. Ironically, given the song's message about the perils of coveting money, the song was a commercial success, reaching No. 13 in 1973 to become the band's first Top 40 single.
Track six on 'The Wall,' 'Mother' follows 'Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2' and begins with an acoustic opening, as Waters poses questions like: "Mother do you think they'll drop the bomb?" and "Mother should I trust the government?" The song builds to a peak with the addition of drums, an organ and electric guitars.
'Us and Them'
Wright composed an instrumental track in 1969 for the film 'Zabriskie Point,' but the movie's director believed the tone of the music was too depressing and opted not to use it. When Waters later wrote vocals and the band added saxophone solos, 'Us and Them' was born, and recorded for 1973's 'The Dark Side of the Moon.'
On this track from 'The Wall,' Pink is isolated and longs for human contact: "Hey you, out there in the cold / Getting lonely, getting old / Can you feel me?" 'Hey You' was prominently featured in the 2005 movie 'The Squid and the Whale,' when 16-year-old Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) performs the song during a school talent show and claims it's his own.
'Time' was a more collaborative effort compared to many other Pink Floyd songs, as all four members of the band received writing credit. Wright sings the bridges, and Mason's live and programmed drums stand out alongside Gilmour's guitar solo. Even engineer Alan Parsons contributed significantly, by recording the opening section of chiming clocks during a visit to an antiques store.
'Wish You Were Here'
Written partly about former member Syd Barrett's mental breakdown, the song was one of the concert highlights for the Live 8 benefit event in 2005 -- when the band's four members reunited for the first time since 1981. Waters and Gilmour shared vocals on stage, and Waters dedicated the song to "everyone who's not here, particularly, of course, for Syd."
'Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2'
In 1980, 'Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2' provided Pink Floyd with their only No. 1 hit. The track finds the band railing against "thought control," and includes the memorable lyric "We don't need no education." The band recruited a group of British teenagers to sing backup vocals, but ended up liking the kids' verse so much they decided to put their vocals up front in the chorus.
While Waters wrote most of 'The Wall' himself, 'Comfortably Numb' is one of the few tracks co-written by Gilmour and Waters. The two argued about how the track should sound, but ultimately ended up with a classic. Gilmour's nearly two-minute-long solo is considered one of the best guitar solos in rock music, and complements the melancholy chorus to make 'Comfortably Numb' our No. 1 Pink Floyd song.