- Brain Damage (song)
"Brain Damage" is the ninth track (or eighth, depending on the album release) [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 rockband Pink Floyd's 1973 album, " The Dark Side of the Moon". It was sung by Roger Waters. David Gilmourtook over as lead vocalist when the band performed it live on the band's 1994 tour (as can be seen on "Pulse").
The song is often mistakenly labeled "Dark Side of the Moon" alongside "Eclipse" because the two run together and are commonly played together on the radio, giving the impression that they are one song. The incorrect title is derived from a recurring lyric in "Brain Damage," and the title of the album.
When the band reconvened after the American leg of the "
Meddle" tour, Roger Waters brought with him a prototype version of "Brain Damage" along with other songs such as "Money". He had been playing the song during the recording of the "Meddle" album in 1971, when it was called the "Dark Side of the Moon". Eventually this title would be used for the album itself. The song seemed to be partially inspired by their former band member Syd Barrettwho had endured mental breakdown. After road testing the new suite entitled "A Piece for Assorted Lunatics", the song was recorded in October along with " Any Colour You Like". The piece represents Waters association with acoustic-tinged ballads, and along with "If" and " Grantchester Meadows", "Brain Damage" uses a simple melody and delivery. David Gilmour actively encouraged Waters to sing the song, even though at this time he wasn't particularly confident about his vocal abilities. In fact, the song is the only track on the album to exclusively feature Waters as a lead vocalist. However, from this point onwards he would soon become a main singer in the group. Richard Wright found the track overly simple, suggesting that the song represented the album's "weakest link". Toby Manning states that the song is actually the album's "emotional core" and that this disagreement between Waters and Wright further fueled their acrimonious separation. The song was played regularly live throughout the rest of the decade, and Waters continued to play it in conjunction with "Eclipse" on every solo tour since 1984.
The song is somewhat slow, with a
guitar arpeggiopattern similar to The Beatles" Dear Prudence". It is in the key of D major, but with recurring accidentals in the chords G7 (F natural) and E major (G sharp). It features a recurring lyrical pattern and chorus. It is approximately 3 minutes, 50 seconds in length.
Roger Waters has stated that the insanity-themed lyrics are based on former Floyd frontman Syd Barrett's mental instability, with the line "I'll see you on the dark side of the moon" indicating that Waters felt that he related to Barrett in terms of mental idiosyncrasies. The line "And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes..." is referential to Syd Barrett's behaviour towards the end of his tenure with the band; due to his mental problems, there were more than a few occasions where Barrett would actually play a different song than the rest of the band in the middle of a performance. The song features a rather famous opening line, "The lunatic is on the grass...".
Alternative and Live versions
*It was performed by Pink Floyd from 1972-1975 and during the 1994 post-Waters "Division Bell" tour.
P*U*L*S*Econcert DVDand CD, the song is sung by David Gilmourinstead of Roger Waters.
* features the song and it was played as an encore at the end of the concert along with Eclipse which was segued into as on the album. Roger also performed the song along with Eclipse during the 1987
Radio K.A.O.S (tour).
*An alternative mix version of the song can be found on the compilation album, "Works".
*This song was covered on the
Echoes of Pinktribute album in 2002 by Nikki Boyer.
*Was played by Roger Waters in
New Yorkat the environment-awareness concert, Live Earth
*The film "" shows David Gilmour in the studio, apparently trying out some lead guitar riffs to add to the transition from verse to chorus. However, the recording of "Dark Side of the Moon" was in fact finished, the album then in the mixing stages, so there was no chance of these guitar riffs turning up on the record. The studio scenes in this film were staged by the band as an example of how they work.
Austin Lounge Lizardsperform a bluegrass cover of the song on their 1991 live album Lizard Vision.
Roger Waters– Bass, vocals
David Gilmour– electric guitar, and additional vocals
*Richard Wright – Organ and synthesizer
Nick Mason– Drums and percussionwith
Lesley Duncan– Vocals (background)
Doris Troy– Vocals (background)
*Barry St. John – Vocals (background)
*Liza Strike – Vocals (background)
*Manning, Toby. "The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd ISBN 1-84353-575-3
* [http://home.att.net/~chuckayoub/pink_floyd/lyrics/brain_damage.html Brain Damage Lyrics]
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