In The Flesh?

Songfacts®:

  • This is the first song of the album, and the first part of this song is music from the last song of the album, "Outside the Wall." At the end of that song, a man says "Isn't this where..." and and in the beginning of "In the Flesh" he says "...we came in?" This was one manifestation of Roger Waters' fascination with cycles.
  • There is another song named "In the Flesh" on the album, which has the same tune but relatively different lyrics. The first song concerns the protagonist Pink's birth, while the latter concerns Pink becoming a Nazi dictator after he suffers a schizophrenic break. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bill - Erie, PA, for above 2

Comments: 22

  • Timmy from Mukilteo, Wathis song is very powerful. the lyrics mainly speak to me very strongly. they remind me a lot of myself and how i interact with most people around me. the premise of this song is about a famous person talking to the audience, and how he's saying that they don't know who he truly is, and that they just love the rock star image that he has.

    i feel like i live this way also because not many people around me know who i actually am, i wear a mask so that i can hide away from people in general.
  • Terry from Wickford, RiThe main riff of the song is used as one of the central musical themes in The Wall and can be heard in many places (much like the ABITW riff). It was intentionally written to sound bombastic and almost simplistic - the sound of a hard rock band punishing its audience with power chords. So, to say it sounds like Zeppelin is almost accurate in that it is supposed to invoke the image of an over the top rock band that is so pompous and bloated with self-importance that they come across as a cross between a rock show and a Nazi-esque rally (think massive Wagnerian pomp blasting away behind Hitler). The original image (which you can hear in the spoken word parts at the end: "drop it on 'em!") was that audiences were not only blind followers, but seemed to cheer more the worse they were punished. More sound, more packed bodies, more blinding lights. They would probably love having bombs dropped on them, speculated Waters, and he went with that image. He originally wanted a scene of audience members being killed by bombs in the movie during this, but they thought the actual visual would seem comical, so the album version allows you to imagine the carnage, while everyone hoots and hollers - thinking it's just part of the grand spectacle. In fact, an audience member was killed by the Floyd's effects in the early 70's when one of the flashpots used for 'Eugene' was overpacked and flying metal found its way into the crowd. No one seemed to care, and they cheered it on (although they may not have been aware of the actual fatality at the time). So the parallel images all come into play here: going on the road as a rock star/soldier and leaving the family behind while you wreak havoc, destruction and death wherever you travel is part of your job. This job is accepted, even applauded and glorified. But, the toll it takes on the rock star/soldier is tremendous: lives shattered, creeping alienation and withdrawal from feeling (numbness),family left behind and ruined as you slowly withdraw and may actually be killed or kill yourself. The rock machine and the war machine - both highly funded, publicized and accepted and very little, if any, consideration given to the millions whose lives are affected. And those unwashed millions also cheer it on and accept it as well. So, musically, it's a perfect statement: no matter how loud, lunkheaded and torturous it is, as long as the right poses are struck and the people asked to cheer and clap, it's all acceptable. Cynical as hell. And, coming off of that exact experience with the Animals tour in '77, Waters called this 'In The Flesh?' as a direct comment. Also, live, it's worth noting that the audiences in those earlier stadium shows were so large, that no one could see or connect with the Floyd at all. So, this song was actually played onstage by the Surrogate Band, the backing musicians, wearing masks of Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason. Roger sang the tune backstage while the band mimed. Then, at the end, the actual Floyd comes forward and joins in for the next song, "The Thin Ice". The audience has been duped. This was not the actual Pink Floyd, but you still clapped and cheered and did whatever we told you to do while we punished you visually and sonically. Tell me, is something eluding you, Sunshine??? Roger played a mix of the two "In The Flesh" songs on his solo tours as an opener and got the crowd to do the Hammer arms gesture as joke. Anyone who followed along didn't know they were being made fun of.
  • Shamomo Apolo Onono from Liverpool, Oh"Isn't this where......we came in?"
    I listened to this whole album all the way through on vynyl tons of times...and only discovered that last night at 1:30am...

    And it's the first fact about this song...kinda bummed, thought i discovered something...ah well.

    Phenominal work. Roger Waters is a f--king genious.
  • David from Sydney, AustraliaThis song also sounds kind of like "Tuesday's Gone" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I know that song, this song, and "Dazed and Confused" all have different notes, but they all seem to have some sort of similarity to them.
  • Michael from Tucson, AzIt may not sound like Dazed and Confused, but it does show major resemblance to the song My Chemical Romance called The End. They actually meant to show resemblance to them in The Black Parade.
  • Goofball from Niles, MiOne, this doesn't sound like Dazed and Confused...but how is Led Zeppelin "conformist classic rock bulls***"? When Zeppelin was recording and touring, they were innovating. Yes, their first album was reworkings of classic blues tunes, but of course they expanded WAY beyond that. They were hardly "conformist" anymore than the Pink Floyd were.
  • Jeremy from Ventura, CaOK... This is one of my all time fav Floyd songs... amd Dazed and Confused is my all time fav LedZep song. THEY DO NOT SOUND THE SAME!!!!
  • Shelby from Out Beyond The Wall, Kyugghh This is a fantastic song. Yeah poor Rodger.
  • Wade from Vancouver, CanadaI love this riff. And to Sammy, this song sounds NOTHING like Dazed and confused. Anyone who puts Led Zeppelin's conformist classic rock bulls*** above Pink Floyd has no taste is music. As for the album in general and its cycle, it was very well planned and is one of my favourites.
  • James from Lexington, KyIn 1977, after the release of the album "Animals", Pink Floyd went on a tour that was called "Pink Floyd: In the Flesh". Over the course of the tour, Roger Waters started feeling more and more alienated from the audience, culminating in an incident in the last show of the tour in which Waters spit in the face of a fan. Waters' reflection on what stardom was doing to the band was a big inspiration for "The Wall."
  • Andrew from Wimauma, FlThis IS a good song, it really makes you think. The Wall is an awesome album and Pink Floyd rocks. But their music is so depressing and somber. This plus the stress of daily life, and I just bum out
  • Cameron from Bainsville, CanadaThis song is truly remarkable. I like the idea of it being a cycle. The guitaring is exceptional, and Roger's singing too. "Roll the sound affects!"
  • Luke from MelbourneI love turning up the volume when the plane crashes.
  • Andy from Apex, NcThis song is about Water's father dying when he was only one years old. That is so sad for Roger.
  • Tyler from Petaluma, CaI've always got a feeling that this song is about followers, similar to "Sheep" The first version, of course, is about Pink's birth, the seccond version, I picture, is about Pink's band turning into nazi's or something. One of the most shocking moments in the wall is when the band starts placing the different minority's agianst the wall, truly a thought provoking piece of music, espesically the reprise.
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaThis song seems like a feeling of power and acceptance, and also greed resulting from stardom. The subject is power-tripping, and feels almost immortal. Then, at the end of the song, it becomes clear that he tries to have it all, everything he wants, and lives under the impression that he is able to attain perfection and everyone worships him. But the sort of plane crash noise at the end tells the listener that what he is actually doing is setting himself up for a major crash after the innitial buzz of stardom has worn off. This results in a feeling not of euphoria as he had intended, but of great dissatisfaction and isolation later in the album. His lost dreams create a wall around him, preventing him from bettering himself and helping others. Many elements of his past remind him of how pointless life is, since all he had ever wanted was to be famous, but now that he is, he's realized that there is no real benefit. You can't really analyze the songs on the album based on the movie, since the movie was made after.
  • Danny from Somewhere, MdThis sounds nothing like Dazed and Confused; Dazed and Confused's main melody goes down by half steps while this uses the notes inside its key and Dazed and Confused is rather more similar throughout to itself than this melody is.
  • Aylin from MontrealHow many Floyd albums ARE cycles?
  • Ryan from Canton, MiUuh this sounds nothing like Led Zepps Dazed and Confused, except for maybe the fact that it has 4 different guitar notes...
  • Guy from Tel Aviv, IsraelThis song is one of favorite songs not just in "the wall" but from all songs, i thought too that the riff in this song is very similar to dazed and confused.
  • Sammy from New York, NyThis sounds very similar to Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused." I gotta say, I prefer Zeppelin's song.
  • Ashley Jade from Cleveland, GaOne of my favorite songs on The Wall
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