This is one of the most mysterious songs on The Wall. It seems to be about the longing for human interaction. The phrase "Hey You" implies calling out to someone (for example, "Hey you over there"). Following that phrase in every verse is a person in some sort of desperate or pathetic scenario. Most of these scenarios are pretty general but some are specific, for example, "You out beyond the wall breaking bottles in the hall," which gives the impression of a rebellious teenager, or "You standing in the road always doing what you're told," which gives the impression of someone who is very timid and indecisive. Following these scenarios in every verse is a question asking for human interaction, and as the song goes on these questions become more desperate in every verse: "Can you feel me?" "Would you touch me?" Can you help me?" In scheme of the album as a whole the song is about how although people put up their "Wall" to keep people out, they desperately but hopelessly long for real human interaction. (thanks, Jarrod - Bolingbrook, IL)
This was not used in the movie The Wall. It was edited out because Roger Waters felt that the lyrics didn't really fit chronologically with the story. (thanks, Achory - Warner Robins, GA)
Like "Comfortably Numb," David Gilmour and Roger Waters share lead vocals on this.
At The Wall concerts (where a wall was constructed on stage dividing the band from the audience), this was the first song from behind the completed wall. (thanks, Dogma - Alexandria, LA, for above 2)
In the 2006 movie The Squid And The Whale, a student performs this in a talent show and passes it off as his own. The theme of alienation and uncertainty fit well with the movie, although the film was set in 1986 and he performed it to an auditorium full of people who did not recognize the song, which seems very unlikely.
In the part after "Open Your heart, I'm coming home," after the first drum fill, part of the bass and guitar plays the same melody as "Another Brick In The Wall (part II)
." (thanks, Bella - Pretoria, South Africa)
Roger Waters explained this song to Mojo magazine December 2009: "It's about the break-up of my first marriage, all that misery and pain and being out on the road when the woman declares over the phone that she's fallen in love with somebody else. It's a complete disaster, especially if you're someone like I was. I was flotsam on the turgid seas of women's power (laughs). Hopeless, really, I could do nothing but go fetal and weep. But the song is also partly an attempt to make connections with other people, to say that maybe if we act in consort, some of the bad feelings will go away. In community, there is comfort. The line, 'Hey you, out there beyond the wall/ Breaking bottles in the hall'- that is an exhortation to come closer where I live, so we can help each other."