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||1 June 1972 – 9 January 1973 at Abbey Road Studios|
|Genre||Progressive rock, jazz fusion|
|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 by English progressive rock band Pink Floyd on their 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon. The music was written by Roger Waters and Richard Wright with lyrics by Waters. It is sung by David Gilmour, with harmonies by Wright. The song is 7 minutes, 51 seconds in length, making it the longest on the album.
"Us and Them" was released as the second single from The Dark Side of the Moon in the United States, peaking at No. 72 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart in March 1974. The single peaked at No. 85 in the Canadian chart.
"Us and Them" is rather quiet in tone and dynamics, with prominent jazz influence, 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 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 Roger 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, and G/D. The tonic of D, alternating with the dominant, A, is sustained on bass guitar as a pedal point throughout the verses. 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. There is also a secondary sequence, louder, with thick vocal harmonies, with a progression of B minor, A major, G major seventh suspended second, commonly written as "Gmaj7sus2" (enharmonic to the slash chord D/G), and C major. This progression is played twice between each verse, and is not unlike a chorus, except that the lyrics are different with each repeat.
In the middle, there is a break during which roadie Roger "The Hat" Manifold 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 best of album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd, where it is the seventh track of the second disc. The ending of the song was edited in this version, with the vocals from the last measure treated with heavy delay, and the music track muted entirely, to avoid the seamless transition to "Any Colour You Like" that occurs on The Dark Side of the Moon.
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 not 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 torturous 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 Waters and 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".
- Waters included the song in his 2006–08 The Dark Side of the Moon Live tour, with Jon Carin replacing Gilmour on lead vocals, and Waters replacing Wright on harmony vocals.
- Waters performed the song during his set during the live TV Benefit concert "12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief". (2012)
- Gilmour played the song on the first set of his Rattle That Lock Tour 2015/16.
- 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".
- Mary Fahl covered the song on her 2011 album "From the Dark Side Of the Moon", and performed it in 2014 "Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House".
- Brit Floyd covered the song at the Red Rocks Amphitheater on their PULSE tour in August, 2013.
- Gov't Mule covered the song on their 2014 live album 'Dark Side of the Mule' recorded in October 2008 shortly after the death of Richard Wright.
- David Gilmour – electric guitars, lead vocals (verses and choruses)
- Richard Wright – Hammond organ, piano, harmony vocals (choruses)
- Roger Waters – bass, fuzz bass
- Nick Mason – drums
- Dick Parry – tenor saxophone
- Lesley Duncan – backing vocals
- Doris Troy – backing vocals
- Barry St. John – backing vocals
- Liza Strike – backing vocals
- Whitburn, Joel (2015). The Comparison Book. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 393. ISBN 0-89820-213-2.
- Library and Archives Canada: Top Singles Volume 21, No. 5, March 16, 1974, March 16, 1974, retrieved 12 July 2014
- Andy Mabbett (July 1995), "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)
- "Echoes: the album credits". Pink Floyd. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- 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
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