Poles Apart

Album: The Division Bell (1994)

Songfacts®:

  • David Gilmour's girlfriend Polly Samson said that from the first line of the lyric "Did you know... it was all going to go so wrong for you," they meant Syd Barrett. The second line, "And did you see it was all going to be so right for me," refers to Roger Waters from Gilmour's view. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Vahid - Tehran, Iran
  • The first part of this song is mainly a reference to Syd Barrett, while the second part is about Roger Waters - "I thought of you, and the years and all the sadness fell away from me." A lot of the songs on The Division Bell appear to be based on the band's now tumultuous relationship with ex-member Waters. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Matt - Russell Springs, KY

Comments: 17

  • Remi from NjIt’s such a hard pill to swallow for waters knowing one of the most beloved PF albums of all time s--ts on him so much.
  • Timo3 from New Hartford NyStill can't listen to this song without a tear in my eye...brilliant!
  • Steve from Newcastle, AustraliaAfter reading the comments here, I'm listening to this song in a whole different light now. Brilliant.
    The interlude in this song (approx 3:00) almost sounds like a musical representation of what was going on around the time of the division in the band.
    i.e. church bells, marriages, babies being born etc.
    Could there may possibly be subtle hints of "The Trial" from The Wall here too?
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Mohaha, yeah, Don, it is a bit of a pattern. But he was a big influence on them. I think the fact that they were so young was part of it- they'd known him since they were teenagers. Anyway, it's inevitable that David mentions him in this song since it's about how both Syd and Roger influenced him, but they're poles apart.
  • Don from Curran, MiPink Floyd is one of the greatest bands ever, but do they have a special clause in their contracts that specify they must make a Syd Barrett reference on every one of their albums?
  • Stacie from High Ridge, Moone easy way to tell 2nd verse is it starts HEY YOU...DID YOU EVER REALIZE WHAT YOUD BECOME.... hey you is very well known as roger waters song thats daves little hint he gave us
  • Stacie from High Ridge, Mofirst verse is for syd barrett.. second verse is for roger waters.. third verse is for the both of them(barrett&waters) title: poles apart_syd and roger are poles apart BUT each hold special place with dave gilmour. HOWEVER meanings of songs should be how you want to interpret them. thats the glory of music..you dont have to know what they mean if it speaks to you.
  • Mr John Anthony Curt from Sydney, AustraliaPoles Aapart is vintage Pink Floyd,Waters or no Waters,the guitar riffs that David Gilmore produced stands alongside what he played on the Wall.Roger Waters ego got the best of him after the Wall came out, and subsequentially he didn`t produce anything that came close to anything that PINK FLOYD produced before or after his membership of the band.The lyrics are for me a mixture of beauty and sadness.Beautiful because they marry the music in such a Pink Floydesque fashion ,and sad because they highlite the destruction of what many think is the greatest band EVER.
  • Gilmour from Lockport, NyDavid Gilmour wrote much of the music on Momentary Lapse Of Reason and the band as a group wrote the music on Division Bell with a couple of songs on Division Bell being Gilmour compositions.
    David has made it very clear throughout his career that lyrics are not his strong point. However he very much has a hand in the writing of the music that Pink Floyd has put out.
    Your assertion that David "hardly wrote any of the songs on both post-Waters Floyd albums" and that Polly wrote most of the songs could not be more incorrect. They collaborated on many of the songs but David wrote the music.
  • Bill from Erie, PaRob and Mike: David Gilmour hardly wrote any of the songs on both the post-Waters "Floyd" albums. For A Momentary Lapse of Reason, there were 15 or more different writers given credit, and most of Gilmour's songs, including this one, were written by his girlfriend, then wife Polly Sampson. Gilmour is unrivaled as a guitarist, but his song-writing ability is nonexistant compared to Waters' genius.
  • Rob from Commack, Nethe division bell and momentary lapse were one of the best pink floyd albums ever put out, when i was younger i toured floyd and went to all there shows, simply roger waters is a control freak, gilmour is a lyrical genius just like waters, dark side, wall, etc. were great pieces of art by waters, wen gilmour got the chance to be on his own, he shows his genius ability for music, people just thought it was waters who was the genius and didnt belive gilmour's new cd's w/o waters would be good, these cd's are lyrically insane. momentary lapse and division bell are right up there wit Dark side and wall, just different types of cd's, gilmour to this day will always be a better musician than waters, his lyrics and thoughts if listened carefully to are simply better, waters was a genius, but gilmour was just as smart, jus didnt get to show his abilitty as much with control freak waters head of the band.
  • Anthony from Boonton, NjI don't like to think of the "division" (no pun intended) of the band between before-and-after Waters. They had their reasons to seperate, and it's unfortunate that it happened. Yes, Gilmour wouldn't be where he is without Waters. But to say that that AMLoR or TDB is crap because Waters wasn't involved is just wrong. It's a very different style of music. Personally I think Division Bell is their greatest album, I love Gilmour's style and work on the guitar. He is truly a musical genius, my favorite songs being "Cluster One" and "Coming Back to Life".
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaThe best song written by Floyd after Rogers left. This one song deserves to stand with the best the band has done. The rest of the album comes off as bad Genesis.
  • Mike from Sexyville, Usa, United StatesAs much as I love Roger Waters music, and I know David Gilmour was partially responsible, they both needed to grow up. I hear they are getting together for a reunion tour in 2005, which would be cool. The Division Bell is extremely underrated. I find it pure genius. With Waters writing most of the material, I never knew what a genius Gilmour was until Waters left. Hopefully Waters and Gilmour will make amends. It happened with The Eagles, and it happened with Simon and Garfunkel. Who knows, it might happen again.
  • Anthony from Wantagh, NyIn my mind, Pink Floyd is not the same with out George Roger Waters. Poles Apart is an excellent work of Gilmour however. This song speaks of Waters running from not only Gilmour, but all the band members. How, after his departure, Gilmour continued with relative success while Roger had all but discontinued his artistic efforts.
  • Matt from Russell Springs, KyYes, people don't give the Division Bell or Momentary Lapse of Reason the attention they deserve. With Waters gone, it was immediately assumed by the fans that this wasn't going to be the same Floyd. Now, I agree that "The Wall" and "Dark Side of The Moon" are far superior to the Waters-less Floyd, but give Dave credit. It's a disposition Floyd fans have to not give this album its due, but I think it deserves its place just for this song and "High Hopes".
  • Kristina from San Antonio, TxGreat song off of a very under rated album!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)Songwriter Interviews

The co-writer/guitarist on many Alice Cooper hits, Dick was also Lou Reed's axeman on the Rock n' Roll Animal album.

Randy Houser

Randy HouserSongwriter Interviews

The "How Country Feels" singer talks Skynyrd and songwriting.

Jack Tempchin - "Peaceful Easy Feeling"

Jack Tempchin - "Peaceful Easy Feeling"They're Playing My Song

When a waitress wouldn't take him home, Jack wrote what would become one of the Eagles most enduring hits.

Subversive Songs Used To Sell

Subversive Songs Used To SellSong Writing

Songs about drugs, revolution and greed that have been used in commercials for sneakers, jeans, fast food, cruises and cars.

Edwin McCain

Edwin McCainSongwriter Interviews

"I'll Be" was what Edwin called his "Hail Mary" song. He says it proves "intention of the songwriter is 180 degrees from potential interpretation by an audience."

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s Edition

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s EditionMusic Quiz

You know the scenes - Tom Cruise in his own pants-off dance off, Molly Ringwald celebrating her birthday - but do you remember what song is playing?