About a year ago, while I was finally taking stock of the music I own, I noticed something that may not be that peculiar to music lovers around the world. I own FIVE versions of Pink Floyd’s epic double album The Wall. Of course, I still have the vinyl version from my high school days; an anniversary CD version from around 2000, I think; the live CD version commemorating the original band’s two city 1980 “world” tour that my boys got me for Father’s Day several years ago; my 2012 remastered 3-CD The Wall: Experience Edition that I purchased after seeing Roger Waters’ solo tour performance that I saw with my long-time buddy Mike Bond in St. Louis; and the thumb-drive copy of that aforementioned St. Louis performance that Mike gave me.
So, what is it about this album that has captured the imagination of not just my age group, but the imagination of nearly people of ALL ages, from Millennials to Gen X-ers to many Baby Boomers. Roger Waters, the former bassist and main song visionary for Pink Floyd after Dark Side of the Moon, spilled out his soul throughout this epic album.
The angst that is lyrically described throughout the album is a theme that everyone experiences, whether the angst being experienced is of the teenage, young adult or mature adult nature, this album covers it. Of the 26 songs that make up the album, 23 songs detail nearly all the difficulties that one experiences in life. Side 1 of the vinyl album is how psychologically damaged we are through our teen years. Sides 2 and 3 are how we continue to faced damaging circumstances through adulthood that causes us to build a psychological wall around our egos in order to “protect” us from the hurt that others will inevitably cause us. Then, on Side 4, if we are lucky, we will all finally learn that the wall must come down for us to grown. So, like an emotionally-stronger butterfly, we break through that wall to show the self we are meant to be.
Unfortunately, in life, too few of us will ever get through Side 4 in our lives, which is too bad. Those walls we all have must come down so that we can Love and be Loved. Life outside the wall is so much better than inside the wall. We are freer to live outside the wall than we were ever able to live inside the wall.
And Pink Floyd touched upon that universality in human growth on their classic album The Wall. That is what makes the album, movie and tour show so breathtaking to us. Everyone of us has experienced the lyric themes that Roger Waters wrote way back in 1979. And, as long as humans continue to experience these emotions, The Wall will continue to entertain. That is the secret to the continued success of that album.