Speak to Me

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"Speak to Me"
Instrumental by Pink Floyd
from the album The Dark Side of the Moon
PublishedWorld Copyrights Ltd.
Released1 March 1973
Recorded23 June, 1 November 1972, 21 January 1973
GenreSound collage, avant-garde
Length
  • 1:07
  • 3:54 (combined with "Breathe")
LabelHarvest
Songwriter(s)Nick Mason
Producer(s)Pink Floyd

"Speak to Me" is the first track[nb 1] on British progressive rock band Pink Floyd's 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon, on which it forms an overture.[1][2] Nick Mason receives a rare solo writing credit for the track, though recollections differ as to the reasons for this. Mason states that he created the track himself, whereas Richard Wright and Roger Waters stated the credit was a "gift" to Mason to give him some publishing income (subsequently regretted by the latter, following his acrimonious departure from the band).[3][4][5] A live version is included on Pulse.

Recording[edit]

On 23 June, a brief sound collage had been pieced together featuring parts recorded from completed songs by that date. Not much work would continue.[6] Waters later began to compile a series of questions that tied to the concept of the album. He would begin asking people he knew these questions and tape the responses. One of these questions included “What’s your favourite colour?", which was intended to ease the interviewee into the conversation. The questions would then escalate to questions like, “When was last time you thumped someone?", "Why did you do it?", "Are you frightened of dying?", “Do you think you’re going mad?”, and "What do you think of the dark side of the moon?".[7]

On 1 November, while Paul McCartney was in one of the other studios recording Red Rose Speedway, Waters decided to ask McCartney the questions, taping his answers. The song would be worked on during the same day. Later, while mixing the album in late January 1973, the inclusion of McCartney on the song was vetoed. This was because Waters felt his responses were too defensive and professional. Clary Torry's vocals on "The Great Gig in the Sky", which was recorded on 21 January 1973, would also be added to the collage.[6]

Composition[edit]

The song itself is a sound collage, which features no lyrics (although it contains parts of the conversation tapes that Pink Floyd recorded, as well a short snippet of Clare Torry's vocal performance on "The Great Gig in the Sky"), and consists of a series of sound effects. It leads into the first performance piece on the album, "Breathe". As a result, they are usually played together on the radio, and most later re-releases merge the two songs.[8]

Sound effects[edit]

Noticeable sound and instrument effects include:

Spoken parts[edit]

I've been mad for fucking years, absolutely years. I've been over the edge for yonks, been working with bands so long. I think 'Crikey'.

I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us have. Very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Some CD pressings merge "Speak to Me" and "Breathe".
Citations
  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 1177. ISBN 1-84195-551-5.
  2. ^ a b c d Mabbett, Andy (2010). Pink Floyd - The Music and the Mystery. London: Omnibus. pp. 160p. ISBN 978-1-84938-370-7.
  3. ^ "Dark Side of the Moon — Text from interview with Roger Waters". Archived from the original on 2012-12-07. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  4. ^ "Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side': 40 Years Later, 40 Mind-Blowing Facts About the Mad Classic".
  5. ^ "Lost In Space - Uncut Magazine, 2003". - "It was an assembly that I did with existing music. You could say there’s no original material there, or you could say it’s an entirely original assembly." - Mason; "Nick gets credited on 'Speak To Me', when, in fact, that was just us giving him some publishing" - Wright
  6. ^ a b Guesdon, Jean-Michel (2017). Pink Floyd All The Songs. Running Press. ISBN 9780316439237.
  7. ^ Curator, The (January 22, 2013). "Dark Side Voices & Original Question Cards". The Dark Side of the Moon. Retrieved April 24, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Mabbett, Andy (September 28, 2010). Pink Floyd- The music and the mystery: The Music and the Mystery. Omnibus Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-85712-418-0.