Us and Them (song)
|"Us and Them"|
|Single by Pink Floyd|
|from the album The Dark Side of the Moon|
|Released||4 February 1974|
|Recorded||Abbey Road Studios
June 1972 – January 1973
|Genre||Progressive rock, jazz rock|
|Length||3:15 (single edit)
7:51 (album version)
|Writer(s)||Richard Wright, Roger Waters|
|Pink Floyd singles chronology|
"Us and Them" is a song from English progressive rock band Pink Floyd's 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon. The music was written by Richard Wright and the lyrics by Roger Waters and it is sung by David Gilmour, with harmonies by Wright. It is 7 minutes, 51 seconds in length, making it the longest song on the album.
"Us and Them" is rather quiet in tone and dynamics, although the choruses are louder than the verses. It has two saxophone solos in it, one at the beginning and another towards the end of the song. Richard Wright introduces the song with harmonies on his Hammond organ, and put a piano chordal backing and short piano solo afterwards on the arrangement. The tune was originally written on the piano by Richard Wright for the film Zabriskie Point in 1969 and was titled "The Violent Sequence". In its original demo form it was instrumental, featuring only piano and bass. Director Michelangelo Antonioni rejected it on the grounds that it was too unlike material such as "Careful with That Axe, Eugene", which was the style of music he wanted to use. As Waters recalls it in impersonation, Antonioni's response was, "It's beautiful, but is it too sad, you know? It makes me think of church". The song was shelved until The Dark Side of the Moon where Waters put some lyrics to it.
The verses have a unique, jazz-influenced chord progression: Dsus2, D6add9 (or Esus2/D), D minor major 7 (or Faug/D), and G/D (the D in the bass is sustained as a pedal point throughout). The D6 with an added 9th is not unlike an Esus2 with a D in the bass, but because the bass line also provides the fifth, it is more accurately described as a kind of D chord. The D minor chord with a major seventh is a rarity in 1970s rock music.
In the middle, there is a break during which roadie "Roger the Hat" speaks (during the recording of the album a number of interviews were laid down, including with Paul and Linda McCartney who were recording in the same studio).
It was also re-released on the 2001 greatest hits album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd, where it is the seventh track of the second disc.
The following quotation takes place before the second saxophone solo (it is one of two spoken parts by the then band roadie Roger 'The Hat' Manifold):
Well I mean, they're gonna kill ya, so like, if you give 'em a quick sh...short, sharp shock, they don't do it again. Dig it? I mean he got off light, 'cause I coulda given 'im a thrashin' but I only hit him once. It's only the difference between right and wrong innit? I mean good manners don't cost nothing do they, eh?
Alternative and live versions
- The instrumental "Violent Sequence" was performed on a handful of occasions in early 1970. These performances were much the same as the Zabriskie Point demo, with some added percussion from Nick Mason. On at least two occasions, the song was paired with another piece from the Zabriskie sessions, "Heartbeat, Pigmeat".
- In early 1972 performances, a short audio clip of a man groaning in tortuous pain would be played at the beginning of the song, immediately highlighting the song's theme of violence. The song did not include any saxophone and the lead vocals were performed by Roger Waters and Richard Wright, with David Gilmour providing backing vocals.
- It was occasionally featured as an encore during the band's 1977 "In the Flesh" tour (this was performed at most shows on the band's 1977 US tours during the encore). It was often used to intentionally calm the often rowdy stadium audiences.
- P·U·L·S·E and the second disc and video of Delicate Sound of Thunder feature this track. Both versions are shorter than the original studio recording, and the latter features a slightly altered saxophone solo.
- On Echoes, the song has a different ending: instead of segueing into what would be the next track on The Dark Side of the Moon ("Any Colour You Like"), engineer and Floyd collaborator James Guthrie gave the song a cold ending, before adding a backwards piano note that would lead into the collection's next track, "Learning to Fly".
- Roger Waters included the song in his recent 2006–2008 The Dark Side of the Moon Live tour, with Jon Carin replacing Gilmour on lead vocals.
- Roger Waters performed this song during his set during the live TV Benefit concert "12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief." (2012)
- The song has been covered by Between the Buried and Me on the album The Anatomy Of.
- An orchestrated version, arranged by Jaz Coleman and performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Peter Scholes, appears on the 1995 instrumental album Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd.
- The song was also covered by the Scissor Sisters for their first album, but was cut. More recently, the song was covered by Swedish band, A Camp, and appeared as a B-side for their single "Love Has Left the Room".
- The song was also covered by American progressive metal band Dream Theater on 11 October 2005. It was later released as part of the official bootlegs series.
- The Flaming Lips included it as a part of their Dark Side of the Moon cover album.
- Misery Signals covered the song for the companion soundtrack to the video game Homefront.
- Easy Star All-Stars covered the song on their cover album Dub Side of the Moon.
- Nena covered the song on her 2007-album Cover Me.
- NOJO, modern jazz orchestra based in Toronto, released an album of original arrangements called Explores The Dark Side of The Moon on True North Records.
- Bebi Dol covered the song on her 2007 live album Veče u pozorištu.
- Christopher O'Riley recorded a solo piano version on his 2009 album "Out Of My Hands".
- David Gilmour – guitar, lead vocals
- Roger Waters – lyrics, bass guitar
- Richard Wright – music, organ, piano, harmony vocals
- Nick Mason – percussion, drums
- Dick Parry – saxophone
- Lesley Duncan — backing vocals
- Doris Troy — backing vocals
- Barry St. John — backing vocals
- Liza Strike — backing vocals
- Whitburn, Joel. Bubbling Under Singles & Albums (1998): 158
- Andy Mabbett (1995-07), "Us and Them", The complete guide to the music of Pink Floyd, ISBN 978-0-7119-4301-8
- "The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon" Pt. 5 (Us and Them)
- Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon 1973 Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd., London, England, ISBN 0-7119-1028-6 (USA ISBN 0-8256-1078-8)
- Longfellow, Matthew. "Pink Floyd: The Making of Dark Side of the Moon (1997)", documentary film
- Hodges, Nick and Priston, Ian Embryo: A Pink Floyd Chronology 1966–1971. Cherry Red Books, 1999