On the Run (Pink Floyd song)

On the Run (Pink Floyd song)

"On the Run" is the third track [The track number depends upon the edition of the album; some releases merge the two tracks "Speak to Me" and "Breathe," for instance.] from British progressive rock band Pink Floyd's 1973 album, "The Dark Side of the Moon". It is an instrumental that deals with the pressures of travel (which Rick Wright said would often bring fear of death), and is a VCS3 synthesizer-led piece. When the band performed this song in concert, at the end of it, a model aeroplane would fly from one end of the arena to the other, appearing to crash in a brilliant explosion. The same effect was used in the "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" tours with a flying bed, and was an inspiration for the fictional band Disaster Area from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", whose stage act involves a spaceship crashing into the sun.


This piece was created by feeding an 8 note sequence of semiquavers into the EMS VCS3 and speeding it up, with an added white noise generator creating the hi-hat sound. The band then added backwards guitar parts, created by dragging a microphone stand down the fretboard, reverse the tape, and panned left to right. There are also some other synthesizer parts, made to sound like some type of vehicle passing, giving a Doppler effect. The 8 note sequence (E, G, A, G on octave below Middle C, and D, middle C, D, E on Middle C octave) is played at a tempo of 166, and modulates upwards occasionally. Near the end an explosion is heard which gradually gets quieter, leading up to the chiming clocks marking the introduction of the song "Time".

When the "Dark Side of the Moon" was performed in 1972 (before the album was released), it went under the title "The Travel Sequence" and was, instead of a complex electronic instrumental, a more simple guitar jam, without the use of synthesizers and other electronic instruments. A short clip of this is played on the DVD "Classic Albums: The Making of Dark Side of the Moon" and can also be heard on all performances of Pink Floyd playing the album live in that year.


* At 27 seconds into the piece, the sound of a female voice on a loudspeaker can be heard; apparently an airport public address system. The talking continues for nearly thirty seconds, but some of it cannot be heard because the sound of a man running while breathing heavily makes it hard to hear the words.

* At 1:54, Roger "The Hat" Manifold, Pink Floyd road manager says: "Live for today, gone tomorrow. That's me", then laughs.


*When the album is listened to along with the film "The Wizard of Oz", Dorothy sings "Over the Rainbow" while "On the Run" is played — the initials of the titles of both songs are "OTR."
*The Chicago Bulls NBA team uses "On The Run" for visiting-team player introductions.
*When the band performed the song live on the post Roger Waters tours, all (except Wright and touring keyboardist Jon Carin) left the stage'
*Cowboy Bebop features an almost exact duplicate version, also titled "On the Run", in Session 20.

Alternative and live versions

*A live version of the song can be heard on the "Delicate Sound of Thunder" concert video. This version did not appear on the CD release. Another live version appears on "P*U*L*S*E".


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