Much like "Welcome To The Machine," this song is about corporations and how they control their musicians. The line, "We call it riding the gravy train" is held for such a long time to emphasize the fact that these companies will go as long as possible to squeeze every last cent out of their clients.
Connor - Pawcatuck, CT
The lead vocal is by folk singer Roy Harper. Roger Waters' voice was shot from recording "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," and David Gilmour did not want to sing this, so they asked their friend Harper, who was recording down the hall, to help them out. Gilmour recalled to Mojo magazine October 2011: "Roger had a go at singing it and one or two people were unkind about his singing. One or two people then asked me to have a go at it. I did, but I wasn't comfortable. I had nothing against the lyrics. Maybe the range and intensity wasn't right for my voice. I can distinctly remember Roy leaning on the wall outside Abbey Riad, while we were nattering away and (growls) 'Go on, lemme have a go, lemme have a go.' We all went, 'Shut up Roy.' But eventually we said, 'Go on then, Roy, have your bloody go.' Most of us enjoyed his version, though I don't think Roger ever liked it."
Harper is the subject of the 1970 Led Zeppelin song "Hats Off To (Roy) Harper
." He was good friends with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
This is a parody of a record company executive. Pink Floyd hated to record industry and was especially peeved when their label kept bugging them for a huge follow-up to their Dark Side of the Moon album.
Roger Waters wrote the lyrics, which contain every cliché he could think of that record company executives use on new bands: "You're gonna go far," "I'll tell you the name of the game," "You're going to make it," etc.
One of the lyrics is "By the way, which one's Pink?" This is a question many people in the music industry asked the band over the years.
This was one of the last songs added to the album. The song is represented on the back cover in the image of a salesman standing in a desert offering Pink Floyd albums. The salesman had no body or soul, which is how they felt about their record company.
There is a faceless man on the back cover of the album. This is probably Pink Floyd's way of telling us they would "lose face" with a followup to the highly successful Dark Side of the Moon
. Wish You Were Here
didn't sell nearly as many copies.
Randy - Sapulpa, OK
In the US, this was released as a single but it did not chart.
In 2000, Queen guitarist Brian May teamed up with The Foo Fighters to record a new version of this for the Mission: Impossible 2
soundtrack. Dave Grohl said he picked this song to cover because, "It's the most punk rock thing Pink Floyd ever did." Foo drummer Taylor Hawkins sang lead vocals and Grohl played drums. Taylor sang because Dave kept forgetting the lyrics during the recording session.
Bert - Pueblo, NM
Primus covered this on their 1992 EP Miscellaneous Debris
. Primus are huge Pink Floyd fans.
Dave - Marieta, GA