If

Album: Atom Heart Mother (1970)

Songfacts®:

  • Written and sung by Roger Waters, this song is about self-analysis.
  • Pink Floyd performed this live only once - at a John Peel session on July 16, 1970, at BBC's Paris Theatre, London. However, Waters did perform it numerous times on his solo tours. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    adri - zadar, Croatia, for above 2

Comments: 13

  • Sarah from Usabut it's also entirely interpretation because i'm clearly not roger waters nor do i know him personally so idk it's just my personal opinion
  • Sarah from Usai agree that this is about syd and tbh i always took the "if i were a good man i'd talk with you more often than i do" to be directly about him as well because after he was kicked out i don't think they talked to him much besides the recording of the madcap laughs which, im under the impression that people were mainly just frustrated with him and trying to get him to sing. syd was clearly very mentally ill (which is why i get upset when he's referred to as a mere "acid casualty" or "druggie") and because of his schizophrenia he didn't always respond or he couldn't carry conversations so i think, again, back to the specific lyric, that talking to him was something that you sort of had to go out of your way to do and make time for and see if he's okay how he's doing etc. which roger wishes he did more because he probably had a certain amount of guilt about when he thought of sort of in a sense leaving syd behind. i'm also kind of going off what david said after syd's death, that his wife had told him he should probably see syd for drinks sometime and talk as they were friends and david wanted to but he never got around to it it wasn't a priority and he felt remorse over it.
  • §tuball from UsaIf I were a feather, I'd fall like a stone

    Syd said, "Don't let them take you"
    §
  • Mac from Evanston, IlI agree with oldpink. Actually, I like the line "If I were a good man, I'd understand the spaces between friends." The references to fears about going insane have to be a reference to Syd, whose breakdown and subsequent absence haunted the band from his departure (1968) at least through the recording of "The Wall" (1979). "Atom Heart Mother" was in the transitional phase after Syd had left and before they recorded "Dark Side," which was of course all about madness, and its follow-up "Wish You Were Here," which was all about Syd's absence.
  • Terry from Wickford, RiGenerally considered to be self-analysis and self-referential..not a love song, per se, but it does question the narrator's ability to be a good partner, so...maybe? Interesting choice to resurrect for the Pros and Cons Tour..but it never quite took off and was dropped for subsequent outings never to be heard again...
  • Tom from Westfield , CtI believe this song is about letting things go because nothing is perfect.

    If you were a swan would you always be in the pond where people go to see you?

    If you were a train would you always be on time?

    And does being a good man mean you have to talk to loved ones more often?


    If you think about it.. These examples are all problems people deal with. How many times have you been at a train station hearing everyone cursing and complaining because the train is late? How many times have you seen children stamping there feet because they want to see the swan? And how many friends do you have whos wifes say they need to talk to them more often?

    Just my 2 cents

    It can mean anything.
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Mohmm, after looking more closely at the lyrics, i agree with you, rostisado. seems like he feels he might one day go the same way as dear syd...still, even the ability for it to be interpreted as a love song surprises me. i thought the only one was pigs on the wing.
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Mooh my god....is this...is this a pink floyd love song? woah, didnt see THAT coming....
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InThis song also holds the distinction of being the first song by Floyd to refer directly to madness.
    The lyrics are great, especially the line "If I were a good man, I'd talk with you more often than I do."
  • Rostisado from Cabron!, IlI always thought it was about someone (Roger, in this case) being afraid of going crazy/insane just like an old band member of his...
  • Michael from OxfordYou can interpret it that way if you want, but I think it's more generally about self-analysis.
  • Steveb from Spokane, WaOne of Waters' few love songs, before his philosophical stage of brilliance. Great lyrics with a melancholy feeling of rejection, how he is insecure and blaming himself a bit for not getting the girl, with no contempt towards her but a soft sense of sorrow for his inability to capture her heart..
  • Ron from Almere, NetherlandsOn the internet circulates a live version of IF featuring Eric Clapton.
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