"Another Brick in the Wall" is the title of three songs set to variations of the same basic theme, on Pink Floyd's 1979 rock opera, The Wall, subtitled Part 1 (working title "Reminiscing"), Part 2 (working title "Education"), and Part 3 (working title "Drugs"). All parts were written by Pink Floyd's lead vocalist and bassist, Roger Waters. Part II is a protest song against rigid schooling in general and boarding schools in the UK in particular. It was also released as a single and provided the band's only number-one hit in the United Kingdom, the United States, West Germany and many other countries. In addition, in the US, along with the tracks, "Run Like Hell", and "Don't Leave Me Now", "Another Brick in the Wall" reached number fifty-seven on the disco chart.
In the UK, it was Pink Floyd's first single since 1968's "Point Me at the Sky"; the song was also the final number-one single of the 1970s. For Part II, Pink Floyd received a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by a Rock Duo or Group and lost to Bob Seger's "Against the Wind". In addition, Part II was number 375 on Rolling Stone 's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".The single sold over 4 million copies worldwide.
The single, as well as the album The Wall, were banned in South Africa in 1980 after the song was adopted by supporters of a nationwide school boycott protesting racial inequities in education under the apartheid regime.
Each of the three parts has a similar tune, and lyrical structure (though not lyrics, aside from the "all in all" refrain), and each is louder and more enraged than the one before, rising from the sadness of Part I to the protesting Part II to the furious Part III.
It was Producer Bob Ezrin's idea to use a school choir for this song,
The most important thing I did for the song was to insist that it be more than just one verse and one chorus long, which it was when Roger wrote it. When we played it with the disco drumbeat I said: "Man, this is a hit! But it's one minute 20. We need two verses and two choruses." And they said, "Well you're not bloody getting them. We don't do singles, so fuck you." So I said, "Okay, fine", and they left. And because of our two [tape recorder] set up, while they weren't around we were able to copy the first verse and chorus, take one of the drum fills, put them in between and extend the chorus.
Then the question is what do you do with the second verse, which is the same? And having been the guy who made Alice Cooper's School's Out, I've got this thing about kids on record, and it is about kids after all. So while we were in America, we sent [recording engineer] Nick Griffiths to a school near the Floyd studios [in Islington, North London]. I said, "Give me 24 tracks of kids singing this thing. I want Cockney, I want posh, fill 'em up", and I put them on the song. I called Roger into the room, and when the kids came in on the second verse there was a total softening of his face, and you just knew that he knew it was going to be an important record.
Griffiths approached music teacher Alun Renshaw of Islington Green School, around the corner from Pink Floyd's Britannia Row Studios, about the choir.
Though the school received a lump sum payment of £1000, there was no contractual arrangement for royalties from record sales. Under a 1996 UK copyright law, they became eligible for royalties from broadcasts, and after royalties agent Peter Rowan traced choir members through the website Friends Reunited and other means, they lodged a claim for royalties with the Performing Artists' Media Rights Association in 2004.
Pink Floyd were my older brothers favourite band so this brings back memories of hearing this song being played very loud in his bedroom!