Is There Anybody Out There?

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"Is There Anybody Out There?"
Song by Pink Floyd
from the album The Wall
PublishedPink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd
Released30 November 1979 (UK)
8 December 1979 (US)
RecordedApril–November, 1979
GenreProgressive rock
Length2:44
LabelHarvest (UK)
Columbia (US)
Songwriter(s)Roger Waters
Producer(s)Bob Ezrin, David Gilmour, James Guthrie and Roger Waters

"Is There Anybody Out There?" is a song from the Pink Floyd album, The Wall.[1][2]

Music[edit]

The first half of the piece has the same concept of "Hey You", being a distress call from Pink. Musically, it's a droning bass synthesizer with various sound effects layered on top, and a repeating chorus of "Is there anybody out there?". The shrill siren-like sound effect used during this song is also used in an earlier Pink Floyd work, "Echoes". The noise was originally used as a sort of whale call for the deep-water-based "Echoes", and is created by David Gilmour using a wah-wah pedal with the cables reversed.

The second half of the song is an instrumental classical guitar solo. It is not widely known who played it: In several interviews, David Gilmour has said that he tried to perform it, and was not satisfied with the final result ("I could play it with a leather pick but couldn't play it properly fingerstyle").[3] Accordingly, session musician Joe DiBlasi[4] was brought in by Michael Kamen to play with the rest of the orchestra. He was wrongly credited as "Ron DiBlasi" on the album sleeve and Pink Floyd website[5] because Roger Waters only remembered that it was a three-letter name; Ron was the closest name he could remember to Joe when creating the record.

Plot[edit]

At this point in the plot, the bitter and alienated Pink is attempting to reach anybody outside of his self-built wall. The repeated question "Is there anybody out there?" suggests that no response is heard.

On the other hand, Comfortably Numb, some songs later in the album, starts with the sentence "Hello, Is there anybody in there?" addressed to Pink.

Film Version[edit]

In the film, during the ominous opening to the song, Pink is standing in front of the completed wall, and throws himself against it several times as if trying to escape. Then, during the acoustic guitar section, it cuts to Pink laying out all his possessions on the floor of the hotel room in neat piles. At the end of the song, it cuts to the bathroom where Pink shaves off his eyebrows and body hair, and tries to cut off his nipples with the razor, severing them.

TV excerpts[edit]

There are two excerpts from the TV programmes Gunsmoke and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. overlaid in the background of the track.

The Gunsmoke excerpt is from the episode entitled "Fandango" (first aired: 11 February 1967); Dialog starts at 32:54 of the show; the dialogue is as follows:

Marshall Dillon: Well, we got only about an hour of daylight left. We better get started.

Miss Tyson: Is it unsafe to travel at night?
Marshall Dillon: It'll be a lot less safe to stay here. Your father's gonna pick up our trail before long.
Miss Tyson: Can Lorca ride?
Marshall Dillon: He'll have to ride. Lorca, time to go! Chengra, thank you for everything. Let's go.
Miss Tyson: Goodbye, Chengra!
Chengra: Goodbye, Missy!
Miss Tyson: I'll be back — one day.
Chengra: The bones have told Chengra.
Miss Tyson: Take care of yourself.
Chengra: Marshall, look after my Missy.

The Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. excerpt is from the episode entitled "Gomer Says 'Hey' to the President" (first aired: 20 October 1967); Dialog starts at 1:45 of the show; the dialogue is as follows:

Sgt. Carter: All right, I'll take care of him part of the time.

(This is where the next song in the album, "Nobody Home" starts.)
Sgt. Carter: But there's somebody else that needs taking care of in Washington.
Cpl. Chuck Boyle: Who's that?
Sgt. Carter: Rose Pilchek.
Cpl. Chuck Boyle: Rose Pilchek? Who's that?
Sgt. Carter: 36-24-36. Does that answer your question?
Cpl. Chuck Boyle: Yeah, but you still didn't tell me, who is she?
Sgt. Carter: She was Miss Armoured Division of 1961. And she was still growing.
Cpl. Chuck Boyle: I get the picture.
Sgt. Carter: She's a waitress now; she dropped out of nursing school.
Cpl. Chuck Boyle: Well how'd you get to meet her?

Personnel[edit]

with:

  • Bob Ezrin – synthesizer, string synth
  • Joe DiBlasi – classical guitar
  • Michael Kamen – orchestral arrangement

Personnel per Fitch and Mahon.[6]

Versions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 1177. ISBN 1-84195-551-5.
  2. ^ Mabbett, Andy (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-4301-X.
  3. ^ "Careful With That Axe", interview with David Gilmour by Matt Resnicoff, Musician magazine, August 1992.
  4. ^ Fitch, Vernon, The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia, p. 155.
  5. ^ "Musicians". Pink Floyd. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  6. ^ Fitch, Vernon and Mahon, Richard, Comfortably Numb — A History of The Wall 1978–1981, 2006, p. 93.

External links[edit]