The Hero's Return

Album: The Final Cut (1983)


  • Roger Waters wrote all of the songs on The Final Cut, which was his last album with Pink Floyd. In "The Hero's Return," he sings about the homecoming of a soldier who needs understanding but receives adulation, which does him no good. Waters was very much antiwar, as he saw the trauma inflicted on the returning soldiers. He says that the character in this song is the teacher portrayed in the 1979 Pink Floyd album The Wall - a person with considerable demons whose only job prospect is in the school system. At the end of this song, we learn that our hero is haunted by hearing his war comrade's dying voice over an intercom.
  • This song has a missing last verse:
    "Jesus Christ, I might as well be dead
    if I can't see how dangerous it must feel to be
    training human cogs for the machine
    without some shell-shocked lunatic like me
    bombarding their still soft shores
    with sticks and stones that were lying around
    in the pile of unspeakable feelings I'd found
    when I turned back the stone turned over the stone
    of my own disappointment back home."
    This verse references "lunatic" from "Brain Damage," and The Machine from the Wish You Where Here album. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington

Comments: 5

  • Shane from Bloomington-normal, Ilyou can listen to the full version here: to my ear, this edit includes work from the original wall sessions ( the 2nd part) and the more polished FC sessions (part 1)
  • Terry from Wickford, RiThis was a track leftover from The Wall sessions and further explores the backstory of The Schoolmaster character, not Roger Waters himself. Originally, it was called "Teacher, Teacher" on the Wall demos and included that last verse, which was originally a reprise to the song that came later, much like the Breathe reprise follows "Time" on DSOtM. Essentially the bitterness of his disillusionment after coming home victorious from the war (during which some people such as himself basically committed atrocities against the enemy)...but in the name of what? There was no grand and glorious change in the world after the war. And the kids growing up who he teaches to make a living don't see him as a war hero, just a bitter old man. And he can't tell his wife about his insecurities and his guilt about the war, because she doesn't understand him, either. So he winds up more angry, and more bitter and we get the result of this in the songs Happiest Days of Our Lives /Another Brick in The Wall pt2 on The Wall.
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaWhat waters is talking about here is a soldier returning home from the war (ww2) and how he is scarred from what he has done and seen. "When we came back from the war..the church bells rang..but...the memory smolders on, of the gunner's dying words on the intercom". His bitterness and unhappiness are not well understood by even his closest family, "Even now part of me flies over Dresden".

    William, Boston, maybe you are focussing too much on the trivia and gossip surrounding the band members' personal lives, instead of the real messages behind the band's lyrics.
  • William from Boston, MaWhat waters is talking about here is his fans, mainly the young ones (Trying to clout these little ingrates into shape) After that he starts to talk about how when he was young he lived through a war (When I was their age all the lights went out.There was no time to whine or mope about)he then again switches topics to talking to his wife, while shes asleep, not able to tell her his weaknesses.Finaly he talks about how when the war ended everyone was happy, he to acted it but really he felt bad for his father, the gunner, and what he knows what his final word would be (peace)
  • Deepphreeze from Irvine, CaIt's also a reference to the universal symbol of 'the stone', which was a common thread throughout the Floyd's albums. The stone, of course, is a symbol of all negative emotion.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Michael W. SmithSongwriter Interviews

Smith breaks down some of his worship tracks as well as his mainstream hits, including "I Will Be Here For You" and "A Place In This World."

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)Songwriter Interviews

Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai were two of Graham's co-writers for some '80s rock classics.

Who Wrote That Song?Music Quiz

Do you know who wrote Patti Smith's biggest hit? How about the Grease theme song? See if you can match the song to the writer.

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."

Matt SorumSongwriter Interviews

When he joined Guns N' Roses in 1990, Matt helped them craft an orchestral sound; his mezzo fortes and pianissimos are all over "November Rain."

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.