Pigs On The Wing

Album: Animals (1977)
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  • This acoustic number is probably the closest thing to a love song Floyd ever made - their lyrics veered more toward social and political commentary. The song was written by Roger Waters.
  • The song is split into two parts at the beginning and end of the Animals album, nesting three tracks between it. This is similar to the structure of Wish You Were Here, which featured "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" split into two parts with three tracks between.
  • Waters believes there's empathy in his writing for "Pigs On The Wing" parts 1 and 2. Interviewed in 1978, he said that the song was about his second wife-to-be Caroline Christie (they divorced in 1992).

    Decades later, Waters said its message is wider reaching. He told Mojo in 2017: "Maybe it was about someone. My feeling now is that it's more general. It's saying, if we don't care for one another and have empathy for one another, then all we're left with is this… crap."

    Waters added: "The final verse - 'Any fools knows, a dog needs a home, a shelter from pigs on the wing' is a nod towards the idea of safety and succor in the arms of a loved one. It's the idea that we're not alone that we have a responsibility to one another in a global society."
  • The last stop on the tour was Olympic Stadium in Montreal on July 6, 1977. When Waters started playing the song, the crowd lit fireworks and one fan started climbing the stage. Waters spit at the fan and admonished the crowd in anger. Reflecting on the incident backstage, Waters started thinking about the barriers - physical and metaphorical - between the band and audience at these huge venues. This gave him the idea for The Wall, Pink Floyd's next album. That tour was held in smaller, indoor arenas; during each show, a wall was erected on stage as a symbol of this dissociation. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Matt - Russell Springs, KY
  • After Floyd's breakup, during his solo shows, Roger Waters combined Pigs On The Wing parts I and II and bridged them with an electric guitar solo played by Snowy White. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joe - Piscataway, NJ

Comments: 36

  • Steve from Severn, MdI think the pigs on the wing may actually be a reference to politicians and their private planes. Just a thought.
  • Jacob from Truro, United KingdomThe "middle songs" are called Dogs, Pigs and Sheep. If you listen to the lyrics, they sound like they represent what mankind can be like. Dogs can be wild and savage Just like in the book: Lord of the flies. "You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to, So that when they turn their backs on you, You'll get the chance to put the knife in.". (Dogs, Pink Floyd). This shows desperation, turned to savagery.
    Pigs is about greed. It is all about politicians. It isn't just called Pigs, it is called Pigs (three different ones). Politicians, Margaret Thatcher and Mary Whitehouse. These people in Rogers eyes, were greedy.
    Sheep is about society in general and what it has become. Everyone follows the leader and everything's fine. There is no danger, until you are lead aimlessly to the slaughter house where the danger becomes real.

    The pigs on the wing songs are about realization. Two people didn't know they loved each other, but after realising what the world is really like, once you have looked beneath fog, you realise stuff that you didn't realize before, like your love for someone.

    This is my interpretation of the album.
  • Ski from Dca Got, SwedenI thought "on the way to the stone" meant "on the way to the grave stone," as in we are alive now, on our beautiful journey, which ends at the stone, the grave stone. Be kind. Be with each other. Share this time. Cherish this time, on your way to the stone.
  • Leo from Westminster 1, MdIn the acoustic Floyd song Pigs on the Wing, Roger Waters is basically asking each of us as humans and animals is that we have got to be and must be more kind to each other because if we aren't, lack of kindness and being band and rude to each other will be our downfall and ruin! The three lessons that Roger taught me
    -Animals, The Wall and The Final Cut taught me is that we need to stop building walls around each other and be gentle and kind, OK please?! Thanks Roger for being my hero inspiration and friend!
  • Mike from Matawan, NjWow. That's the first time I've ever heard them 'together'. I never knew that there was a solo to that. Very nice find.
  • Jim from Buffalo, Nyi think some of you make valid points that i would like to take a step further.as far as the whole album "animals" is concerned, i think each song represents different stages of the greiving process we all go through when we lose a loved one,either a death in the family,or a significant other. the beginning track represents the initial shock we feel and we are left wondering..."what if.._____ happened differantly?" "pigs on the wing" in this case would represent something unexpected and terrible that has happened.as we grieve, we become almost paranoid that something similiar is bound to happen again,and as a result,we become very leery about new people and experiences for fear of losing again.the lyrics "searching for/and shelter from" the "flying pigs" tells us so.the songs in between certainly reflect feelings in the form of mistrust,jealousy,anger,and all sorts of other negative emotions we feel as a result. the story does have a happy ending though,as in the repriseal of "pigs on the wing" at the end the "narrator",or us in this case hopefully,realizes that even though what we had and is now lost was something special, and it's ok to feel the way we did or are feeling now. and even though that person is gone and is probably never coming back,we can finally find some peace and closure in the memory of that person,and in all likelyhood,you find that it's only a small chapter in the book that is your life.you are never truly over what happened,but you find a way to cope somehow.i think thats what makes the song so special. they use metaphors and such to express what they were going through themselves.genius.thats all i have to say about that.thanx for taking the time to read this, and i still care what happens to you M.S. wherever you are...
  • Ahmed from Alex, EgyptReally in Egypt ,Pigs On The Wing.
  • Garrett from Greenville, NcThis song may have alternative meaning that go along with politics, but to me this song is about lost love. If we didn't are we would zig zag away, occasionally glancing up through the rain (looking back and wondering what if). The stone represents the pressure on your chest we all feel when we miss someone deeply. He finds a safe place, relationship later in life, but always looks back on what could have been. The old saying...when pigs fly...just might come true one day...because he has hope...that she still does care b/c he knows he does. He is telling her at the end of the second version, that he had to move on and bury his bone (his passion and love for her). It's sad and beautiful.
  • Scott from Portland, OrOn the 8 track version of Animals (you don't have?), this is actually a single song with a the guitar solo connecting the two parts. The "programs" (as they were called) are 1. Dogs, 2. Pigs, 3. Sheep, 4. Pigs on the Wing. I don't know if this idea was a better solution than the cassette version which chopped Pigs (Three Different Kinds) in half over two sides.
  • Steveb from Spokane, Waforgot to finish this part midway through my paragraph... the weight of the stone represents the "stone" which Roger refers to several times throughout the album, his symbol of oppression against not any race or creed, but against the non-conforming individuals, which is why the dog is dragged down in the end, for despite all attempts to fit in and climb he knew his place was not in the realm of pigs and sheep and therefore it was his downfall in the end.

    And Floyd has also released several love songs, none following Meddle, though. Roger has written both "biding my time" and "if", the latter being a dark song about a love he can't have.
  • Steveb from Spokane, WaThe song expresses that the only haven we will find from the horrible world around us(ran by pigs who are kept in power by drooling sheep) is through human connection.

    It IS a love song, and its pretty obvious if you just think about the lyrics. "If you didn't care what happened to me and I didn't care for you(basically, if we did not have each other) we would zigzag our way through the boredom and pain(which is what Waters believed our modern world to mostly consist of), wondering which of the buggers to blame(trying to pinpoint what powerful psychotic caused this wretched society) and watching for pigs on the wing(trying to keep out of the sights of those who control us).

    The second bookend is the acknowledgment of the connection made, "so i won't feel alone or the weight of the stone" (the stone

    Rog states in the end, "any fool knows a dog needs a home" referring to himself as a dog, the self-involved paranoid one. and "a shelter from pigs on the wing" regards both the metaphorical and literal home that he takes shelter in from the evil world that the powers have shaped through the embrace of his love. Though written for his wife at the time, it is symbolic of any kind of human bonding, whether friendship, relation, or soul mate, and how it is the only out for the intellectual few who notice the horrors that surround them and refuse to play along.
  • John from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaI love that solo in the combined version. And of course i love that version.
  • John from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaI can agree or not with all your opinions, but what i really wanna know it's the meaning of "pigs on the wing".
    I read that Jorge from Montevideo (Uruguay - South America) said that it is an expression used by british pilots during second WW and refers to enemy fighters in a plane blindspot.
    Is that correct? Can someone confirm?
    Thank you all!
  • Jorge from Montevideo, South Americasorry, in my first post I typed "stone" and must be "bone"
  • Jorge from Montevideo, South America"Pigs on the Wing" is an expression used by british pilots during second WW and refer to enemy fighters in a plane blindspot. The fact that the song has two opposite parts close perfect with the masterpiece Animals. Because the firs part is the negative part of Pigs on the Wings, and speaks about the fact that "divided we fall", and introduce the negative side of human being, sides that are perfectly described in the next three songs: Dogs, Pigs and Sheep. And tell us that if we don´t care about the others "we would zig zag our way" but we will not solute the blindspots from we will be attacked. And the second part, is the possitive part that speaks about the fact that if we cares about the others we will goes together and will not be blindspots because each one will be looking for the others. The second part is the hope that ends the masterpiece and if you cares about others and others cares about you, will not be blindspots and you will find a home to bury your stone. Perhaps, but only perhaps, this song could born like a love song from RW to his wife, but surely finally was not a love song, finally were two parts that speaks about the differnce between goes thru the life alone or together. Please, excuse my bad english.
  • Lou from Some Where In Ky., KyI was always told by others that pigs on the wing refers to pollution from the stacks of industrial companies?
  • Bill from Erie, PaThis song was originally intended to remain whole, with the aforementioned Snowy White guitar solo as the bridge while "Dogs" would be split up. Eventually, it was switched, thus making White's solo unnecessary. The switching created some tension within the band, especially between Waters and Gilmour, because Waters got more writing credits (this song, as well as "Pigs (Three Different Ones and "Sheep" were written solely by Waters) and thus more more money than if it had been "Dogs", a joint Gilmour/Waters composition.
  • Bill from Erie, Pa"Pigs on the Wing" is not connected with the pigs spoken of in "Three Different Ones", nor with "Dogs" or "Sheep". According to Nick Mason, and confirmed by Waters, it is a love song directed towards Waters' new wife at the time, Carolyn. She was really the only one Roger's friends had ever met who could hold her own in an argument with him, according to Mason you had to be very good with semantics to win an argument against him. Waters wrote the song because that's all he had been looking for all along: someone who could stand up to him, an equal.
  • Aylin from MontrealI do believe that show was in Montreal.
  • Spencer from Rhode Islandi pigs on the wing. anyone know where i could hear roger water's bridged together version? it sounds like it should be really good. as to the line "bury my bone", it's kinda taken out of context alone. the full line being, "now that i've found somewhere safe, to bury my bone", i think it's just another part of the whole animal theme. as if they were dogs, he's happy where he is, it's a safe place to bury his bone.
  • Ashley Jade from Cleveland, Ga"Waters made his anger quite apparent to the crowd, the result of which is now a rather famous download." What download is this talking about?
  • Sean from Glasgow, Scotlandspeaking of that - in the books the dogs signify the state police of stalinist russia but what is their significance in this song? I doubt pink floyd were talking about spy satellites and the government tuning into their brainwaves... that's more of a david bowie speciality :P
  • Sean from Glasgow, Scotlandhey when i was listening to part 2 i always thought it said "bury my bones" and "on the way to the stone" i thought that was a reference to tombstone but... what does "bury my bone" mean then? Certainly makes this song seem a lot less about love if you look at the language carefully. And yes i've read Animal Farm - it's a great book and that's why i bought The Animals =p isn't based whole-heartedly on that though i was expecting more animals...
  • Bill from Erie, PaThis song is similar to Wish You Were Here in so many ways. The bulk of both albums are depressing, fustrated songs (with the exception of SoYcD) about the evils of the music business, and of humanity in general. Both songs are acoustic compositions, with hardly any synth backing, which is so rare coming from Floyd, yet they were amazingly good when they did it. Both songs are very sweet, yet tinged with sorrow. Against the background of exprimental, deep, complex and sometimes very depressing music that is the Floyd catalouge, Wish You Were Here and Pigs on the Wing are both spectacular examples of creativity and simplicity.
  • Danielle from Ottawa, CanadaI love the fact that the first part seems rather cynical, sarcastic, and angry, but the second goes on about caring for each other. How odd/lovely. The first one really connects to me, though.

    San Tropez = not part of "Animals".
  • Yuya from Kyoto, JapanMabye the best on Animals? I dunno, but close enough... Mine would be Dogs
  • Michael from Alpharetta, Gahave any of you read animal farm by george orwell? I seriously doubt this is a love song. the pigs are powerhungry, the dogs are the ones being used by the pigs to maintain power, and the sheep in the beginning are the ignorant mass who eventually rise up and overthrow and then prop up their own tyrant. im not jumping to many conclusions, just look at this example from Sheep.

    "Bleeding and bubbling I fell on his neck with a scream
    Wave upon wave of demented avengers
    March cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream.

    Have you heard the news?
    The dogs are dead!
    You better stay home
    And do as you're told
    Get out of the road if you want to grow old."

    makes me a bit cynical seeing how we've so forgotten the history of war that american public schools can encourage kids to read George Orwell's Animal Farm now.
  • Phil from Niagara Falls, Canadagreat song(s?)
  • Alberto from London, EnglandI think they are supposed to mean that with all the corruption and misdoings of Sheep, Dogs, and Pigs (Three of Them), the most important thing we must focus on is Love. The way the two songs are so different from the rest of the album gives the impression that Love is on the outside, and is only a small voice when it should be all that amtters.
  • Matt from Syracuse, NySan Tropez is also a love song.
  • Bob from Mt. Laurel, NjThe Roger Waters combined version was originally supposed to be on the album, but they decided to split it and take away the solo.
  • Randy from Bolivar, NyPerhaps we don't really care for people as much as we think we do... "we would zig-zag away through the bordem and pain, occasionaly glancing, up through the rain..." Sounds like my life.
    Listen to both songs as if they were sarcastic.
  • Brian from Toronto, CanadaThe Roger Waters combined version sounds better.
  • James from Sudbury, Canadahow can this be closest to a love song... that would probably be "julia dream"
  • Brian from Paoli, InI love these songs, short but sweet.
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