The Show Must Go On (Pink Floyd song)

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This article is about the song by Pink Floyd. For the Queen song of the same name, see The Show Must Go On (Queen song). For all other uses, see The show must go on (disambiguation).
"The Show Must Go On"
Song by Pink Floyd from the album The Wall
Published Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd
  • 30 November 1979 (1979-11-30) (UK)
  • 8 December 1979 (US)
Recorded April – November 1979
Genre Art rock, progressive rock, rock opera
Length 1:36
Writer Roger Waters
The Wall track listing

"The Show Must Go On" (working titles "Who's Sorry Now", "(It's) Never Too Late") is a song by English rock band Pink Floyd, from their 1979 album The Wall.[1][2] It was written by Roger Waters and sung by David Gilmour.[2]

Recording and lyrics[edit]

Roger Waters wanted to create a "Beach Boys" type sound for the backing vocals, and got Bruce Johnston to come and help create it, but this was only after the Beach Boys themselves were approached to provide the backing vocals and had agreed, only to cancel at the last possible moment (the morning of the session, 2 October 1979). The song also closely resembles chord patterns found in "Mother", "In the Flesh", and "Waiting for the Worms".

The track does not appear in the 1982 film version of The Wall[2] nor in Waters' post-Pink Floyd 1990 concert The Wall – Live in Berlin.[2] It also has an extra verse that was cut from the studio album, but nevertheless appears on its sleeve.

  Do I have to stand up
  Wild eyed in the spotlight
  What a nightmare
  Why don't I turn and run

After this, the line "There must be some mistake..." starts.

The full song was performed live in concert, and as such appears on Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81.[2]

It's the only song from the album which Waters does not perform any kind of instrument and vocal, although his voice is audible on unofficially released recordings of the demo. He is heard singing a verse that was cut from the final version and has never been played live, located right before David Gilmour's bridge.


As with the other songs on The Wall, "The Show Must Go On" tells a segment of the story of Pink, the story's protagonist. This song leads into "In the Flesh", where the show is performed by a surrogate band in place of Pink, as is stated in the lyric, "Pink isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel. And they sent us along as a surrogate band."




  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 e Mabbett, Andy (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-4301-X. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Fitch, Vernon and Mahon, Richard, Comfortably Numb — A History of The Wall 1978–1981, 2006, p. 103.

Further reading[edit]