The Gunner's Dream

The Gunner's Dream

Name = The Gunner's Dream

Artist = Pink Floyd
Album = The Final Cut
Released = March 21 1983 (UK)
April 2 1983 ( track_no = 6States|US)
Recorded = July-December 1982
Genre = Progressive rock
Length = ~5:18
Writer = Roger Waters
Label = Harvest Records (UK)
Capitol Records (US)
Producer = Roger Waters, James Guthrie and Michael Kamen
[ Chart position = ]
prev = The Hero's Return
prev_no = 5
next = Paranoid Eyes
next_no = 7
"The Gunner's Dream" is a song from Pink Floyd's 1983 album "The Final Cut" which tells the story and thoughts of a gunner as he falls to his death. The "dream" may reference the subtitle of "The Final Cut" -- "A Requiem for the Post-War Dream".


The song starts with the sound of "the gunners dying words on the intercom" mentioned in the previous song on "The Final Cut", "The Hero's Return". As the Gunner falls through the air (floating down through the clouds) he dreams of the perfect world, his heaven in which:

" . . . Old heroes shuffle safely down the street
"Where you can speak out loud about your doubts and fears,
"And what's more
"No one ever disappears,
"You never hear their standard issue
"Kicking in your door

"You can relax
"On both sides of the tracks,
"And maniacs
"Don't blow holes
"In bandsmen by remote control

This final line is a reference to the 1982 Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings when the IRA placed a bomb under a bandstand blowing up the bandsmen and surrounding civilians.

The above verse continues with "And everyone has recourse to the law / And no one kills the children anymore". This is recalled in the album's final song, "Two Suns in the Sunset", in which nuclear armageddon is described: "And you'll never hear their voices / And you'll never see their faces / You have no recourse to the law anymore".

One of the final lines in the song, "In the corner of some foreign field, the gunner sleeps tonight" represents the gunner's death after he has fallen from his plane to the ground. This is preceded by the screaming of the word "Insane" which echoes the screaming of the falling pilot, this line also alludes to the poem "The War Sonnets: V The Soldier" by First World War poet Rupert Brooke which contains the lines "If I should die tonight, think only this of me/ That there is a corner of some foreign field, that is forever England."

Musically, the song is largely "organic" in its arrangement, with piano and orchestra predominating. Like most of "The Final Cut", "The Gunner's Dream" is mostly free of the electronics and "trippy" sound effects that once embodied Pink Floyd's music. However, there is one memorable moment in which Roger Waters sings " . . . hold on to the dream", in his highest vocal register (the B above Middle C), and the last word seamlessly metamorphoses into Raphael Ravenscroft 's saxophone, beginning a solo. Pink Floyd fans will recall a similar sound effect in "Sheep" from 1977's "Animals".

Performance History

Neither this, nor any song from "The Final Cut", was ever performed by Pink Floyd, the band having practically disintegrated at this point. "The Gunner's Dream" was later featured in Roger Waters's 1984 and 1985 live performances. The 1984 renditions were extended to include a new guitar solo improvised by Eric Clapton in each performance, who was touring as Waters's guitarist at the time. The 1985 versions featured a standardized solo from Clapton's replacement, either Andy Fairweather-Low or Jay Stapely.

It was taken out of Waters' setlists until 2006, when it was played in the first set, among other older Pink Floyd songs and Waters' solo works. It was dropped after the first three concerts of the 2006 tour.


* Roger Waters – Vocals, bass, and tape effects
* David Gilmour – Guitar
* Nick Mason – Drumswith
* The National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted and arranged by Michael Kamen
* Raphael Ravenscroft – Tenor sax
* Michael Kamen – Piano and Electric Piano

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