Us and Them (song)

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"Us and Them"
Single by Pink Floyd
from the album The Dark Side of the Moon
A-side"Time"
Released4 February 1974
Format7" single
RecordedJune 1972 - January 1973 at Abbey Road Studios
GenreProgressive rock, jazz rock
Length3:15 (single edit)
7:51 (album version)
LabelHarvest
Writer(s)Richard Wright, Roger Waters
Producer(s)Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd singles chronology
"Money"
(1973)
"Us and Them"/"Time"
(1974)
"Have a Cigar"
(1975)
The Dark Side of the Moon track listing
 
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"Us and Them"
Single by Pink Floyd
from the album The Dark Side of the Moon
A-side"Time"
Released4 February 1974
Format7" single
RecordedJune 1972 - January 1973 at Abbey Road Studios
GenreProgressive rock, jazz rock
Length3:15 (single edit)
7:51 (album version)
LabelHarvest
Writer(s)Richard Wright, Roger Waters
Producer(s)Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd singles chronology
"Money"
(1973)
"Us and Them"/"Time"
(1974)
"Have a Cigar"
(1975)
The Dark Side of the Moon track listing

"Us and Them" is a song by English progressive rock band Pink Floyd on their 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon. The music was written by Richard Wright and lyrics by Roger Waters and it is sung by David Gilmour, with harmonies by Wright. The song is 7 minutes, 51 seconds in length, making it the longest on the album.

"Us and Them" was released as the second single from The Dark Side of the Moon in the US and "bubbled under" the Billboard Hot 100 at #101 for three weeks in March 1974.[1] The single peaked at #85 in the Canadian charts.[2]

Composition[edit]

Richard Wright wrote a song known as "The Violent Sequence" while the band was working for the score of Zabriskie Point. Then the song was reworked into "Us and Them". "The Violent Sequence" remained unreleased until it was included on a 2011 boxed set of "The Dark Side of the Moon", where it was named "Us and Them (Richard Wright Demo)".

"Us and Them" is rather quiet in tone and dynamics, with prominent jazz influence, although the choruses are louder than the verses. It has two saxophone solos in it, one at the beginning and another towards the end of the song. Richard Wright introduces the song with harmonies on his Hammond organ, and put a piano chordal backing and short piano solo afterwards on the arrangement. The tune was originally written on the piano by Wright for the film Zabriskie Point in 1969 and was titled "The Violent Sequence".[3] In its original demo form it was instrumental, featuring only piano and bass. Director Michelangelo Antonioni rejected it on the grounds that it was too unlike material such as "Careful with That Axe, Eugene", which was the style of music he wanted to use. As Roger Waters recalls it in impersonation, Antonioni's response was: "It's beautiful, but is it too sad, you know? It makes me think of church".[4] The song was shelved until The Dark Side of the Moon, where Waters put some lyrics to it.

The verses have a unique, jazz-influenced chord progression: Dsus2, D6add9 (or Esus2/D), D minor major 7 (or Faug/D), and G/D (the D in the bass is sustained as a pedal point throughout). The D6 with an added 9th is not unlike an Esus2 with a D in the bass, but because the bass line also provides the fifth, it is more accurately described as a kind of D chord. The D minor chord with a major seventh is a rarity in 1970s rock music. There is also an alternate sequence, played louder and with multiple harmonies, with a progression of B minor, A major, G major seventh suspended second (Gmaj7sus2), enharmonic to the slash chord D/G, and C major. This progression is played twice between each verse, and is not unlike a chorus, except that the lyrics are different with each repeat.[5]

In the middle, there is a break during which roadie Roger "The Hat" Manifold speaks (during the recording of the album a number of interviews were laid down, including with Paul and Linda McCartney who were recording in the same studio).

It was also re-released on the 2001 best of album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd, where it is the seventh track of the second disc. The ending of the song was edited in this version, with the vocals from the last measure treated with heavy delay, and the music track muted entirely, to avoid the seamless transition to "Any Colour You Like" that occurs on The Dark Side of the Moon.[6]

Spoken parts[edit]

The following quotation takes place before the second saxophone solo (it is one of two spoken parts by the then band roadie Roger "The Hat" Manifold):

Well I mean, they're gonna kill ya, so like, if you give 'em a quick sh...short, sharp shock, they don't do it again. Dig it? I mean he got off light, 'cause I coulda given 'im a thrashin' but I only hit him once. It's only the difference between right and wrong innit? I mean good manners don't cost nothing do they, eh?[7]

Alternative and live versions[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel. Bubbling Under Singles & Albums (1998): 158
  2. ^ Library and Archives Canada: Top Singles Volume 21, No. 5, March 16, 1974, March 16, 1974, retrieved 12 July 2014 
  3. ^ Andy Mabbett (July 1995), "Us and Them", The complete guide to the music of Pink Floyd, ISBN 978-0-7119-4301-8 
  4. ^ "The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon" Pt. 5 (Us and Them)
  5. ^ Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon 1973 Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd., London, England, ISBN 0-7119-1028-6 (USA ISBN 0-8256-1078-8)
  6. ^ "Echoes: the album credits". Pink Floyd. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Longfellow, Matthew. "Pink Floyd: The Making of Dark Side of the Moon (1997)", documentary film
  8. ^ Hodges, Nick and Priston, Ian Embryo: A Pink Floyd Chronology 1966–1971. Cherry Red Books, 1999

External links[edit]