The Tide Is Turning

Album: Radio KAOS (1987)
Charted: 54
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is a criticism at the idea of war for entertainment purposes. At the same time there is a note of optimism that maybe the tide is turning, giving a glimmer of hope in this unpromising world.
  • There was supposed to be another verse to this song, but it was removed because Waters was worried about lawsuits. He did, however, sing the last 2 lines of it during some live concerts. He sang: "Now the past is over but you are not alone, together we'll fight Sylvester Stallone, we will not be dragged down in his South China Sea of macho bulls--t and mediocrity." Earlier in the song Waters had also referred to Stallone when he sung "The tide is turning, Sylvester." His criticism of Sylvester Stallone was because at the time, the actor was renowned for his super-patriot, anti-communist film roles such as Rambo, and Waters disliked the way Stallone's movies glorified violence.
  • The album Radio KAOS tells the story of a disabled boy who can receive radio waves in his head. Waters uses the narrative to attack Reagan, Thatcher, monetarism and nuclear war.
  • This was the concluding song on the album. Waters added it when his record company told him that the album was too downbeat.
  • Waters performed this as the closing number at his July 21, 1990 "The Wall Live in Berlin" concert at the site of the Berlin Wall. The cold war was over, and he was optimistic, full of hope. Among the all star cast on the live version were Joni Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams, Van Morrison and Paul Carrack.

Comments: 1

  • Phil from Winnipeg, United StatesThis song was written after Live Aid in 1985. He refers to the event in the song:
    'Satellite buzzing through the endless night
    Exclusive to moonshots and world title fights' (referring to communication satellites normally used to generate revenue)
    'Jesus Christ imagine what it must be earning...Now the satellite's confused
    'Cos on Saturday night
    The airwaves were full of compassion and light
    And his silicon heart warmed
    To the sight of a billion candles burning' (this is the Live Aid reference)
    'I'm not saying that the battle is won
    But on Saturday night all those kids in the sun
    Wrested technology's sword from the hand of the war lords' ('Kids in the sun'-people at Live Aid;'Wrested technology's sword from the hand of the war lords'-for one day, the satellites were used for constructive purposes.)
    A great lyric from a master craftsman.


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