Pigs on the Wing
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|"Pigs on the Wing"|
Promotional French single, "Pigs on the Wing" backed with an edit of "Sheep"
|Song by Pink Floyd|
|from the album Animals|
|Published||Pink Floyd Music Publishers|
"Pigs on the Wing" is a two-part song by progressive rock band Pink Floyd from its 1977 concept album Animals, opening and closing the album. According to various interviews, it was written by Roger Waters as a declaration of love to his new wife Carolyne Christie. The song is significantly different from the other three songs on the album, "Dogs," "Pigs" and "Sheep," in that the other songs are dark, whereas this one is lighter-themed, as well as also being much shorter in duration at under a minute and a half while the others are all at least 10 minutes in length.
The title is a reference to the figure of speech "when pigs fly" and an image of a flying pig appears on the album cover and was subsequently used by Pink Floyd in their live concerts.
The song is divided into two parts, which are the first and last tracks of the album. Both are in stark contrast to the album's middle three misanthropic songs, and suggest that companionship can help us overcome our flaws. Waters apparently refers to himself as a "dog" in Part 2: "Now that I've found somewhere safe to bury my bone/And any fool knows, a dog needs a home/A shelter, from pigs on the wing." Another allusion is found in the line "So I don't feel alone, or the weight of the stone," which refers back to the dogs being "dragged down by the stone." Without the track on Animals, Waters thought the album "would have just been a kind of scream of rage."
According to Nick Mason, and confirmed by Waters, it's a love song directed towards Waters' new wife at the time, Carolyne. She was really the only one of Waters' friends he'd ever met who could hold her own in an argument with Waters; according to Mason you had to be very good with semantics to win an argument against Waters. Waters wrote the song because that's what he'd been looking for all along: someone who could stand up to him, an equal. The former piece of the song conveys a theme of despondency and isolation imposed upon the individual resulting from the societal pressures which work to separate the masses, a theme developed in the following track, "Dogs." Waters conveys a hopeful theme in the latter portion of the song, illustrating the strength and emotional safety as a result of unity among individuals, a safety Waters felt quickly upon meeting Carolyne.
A special version of the song was made for the 8-track cartridge release. The 8-track format featured a loop-play function where the end of the cassette was looped with the beginning of the cassette, allowing an album to play continuously without having to turn over the cassette. To exploit this feature, the special 8-track version of the song linked part 2 and part 1 with a guitar solo, performed by Snowy White. Snowy would later play the guitar solo in live performances on the 1977 In the Flesh Tour. The complete version of the song, including the instrumental bridge, was re-released on Snowy White's Goldtop compilation album in 1995.
In a review for Animals, Brice Ezell of Consequence of Sound described "Pigs on the Wing (Part One)" as "a brief acoustic framing device. Its major key signature is a clear contrast to the frequently sinister riffs that form the landscape of "Dogs," "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Sheep." " Ezell would describe "Part Two" as "a reminder that humans find ways to stick together even amidst the turmoil of a cravenly capitalist world."
- Roger Waters – acoustic guitar, lead vocals
- Snowy White – electric guitar solo (8-track version only)
- Mabbett 2010
- Schaffner 2005, p. 217
- Schaffner 2005, p. 219
- Schaffner 2005, p. 216
- Ezell, Brice (29 May 2017). "Pink Floyd's Animals Pulls No Political Punches 40 Years Later". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 27 July 2017.