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Home arrow Older News Archive arrow Feature and interviews re: Wall royalties claim
Feature and interviews re: Wall royalties claim Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Monday, 29 November 2004

Yesterday's Independent newspaper in the UK featured the Pink Floyd / Another Brick In The Wall royalties claim story in some detail, in its Review magazine. The three page article - plus front cover - focused on the Islington school kids and the 25th anniversary of The Wall.

Apart from the specially drawn cover by Gerald Scarfe, the article features some fascinating recollections from the likes of Nick Mason, engineer Nick Griffiths (who came up with the idea of the "kid's choir"), the headmistress of the school involved (and the music teacher too), and some of the original singers. Finally, Gerald Scarfe is also interviewed about his involvement in the project.

The complete interview can be read at the Independent website through this link and is well worth checking out. But in the meantime, here's a couple of tasters for you:

      One day in the autumn of 1979, a harassed recording engineer, Nick Griffiths, turned up here, at Islington Green School, asking to see the music teacher. He said that he was up against a deadline and needed some children to sing on a record that he was mixing at a studio nearby.

Alun Renshaw, the school's head of music, rounded up a dozen children that he knew could sing, and put it ti them: would they like to be on a record by one of the greatest British bands of the era - Pink Floyd?

      "I thought, 'Pink who?'. I'd never heard of them," says Thorpe, who was 13 at the time. "But I was keen on singing, so I put my hand up anyway, like you do..." Then, when they'd all trooped round the corner to the Floyd's recording studios in Britannia Row, Griffiths handed out the photocopied lyrics, which had just arrived by courier from the band, who were then in California. As Griffiths recalls it, this was the first time that either he or Renshaw had seen what the pupils were going to have to sing. The first line, now famous across the world, was:

"We don't need no education..."

      "I remember that Alun baulked a bit, he turned slightly ashen," says Griffiths. "I could see on his face that he was thinking, 'Oh, my God!'. But he obviously decided, 'Well, we're here now, we might as well do it'. Of course, the kids read the words and just went, 'YEAH! This is FANTASTIC!'."

      It was when the song became a huge hit that the disappointment - and the trouble - started. Though the video for the single was shot in and around the Britannia Row studios, the children who appeared on it (and on Top of the Pops) were not the Islington Green pupils, but children from a London stage school, miming to the track. "It was decided that we had to have kids who looked the part, rather than just sounded the part," Nick Griffiths explains.

      "We got no recognition - none at all. We were completely anonymous," says Peter Thorpe, now 38 and working for a charity for the homeless in London. "We each got a free copy of the album - unsigned - and a ticket to see Pink Floyd live at Earls Court. At the concert, we all sat near the front, but we weren't invited backstage, and on the video, it was other kids miming to our voices, so it was a complete swindle really."

Our thanks to Titus for tipping us off and supplying a scan of the relevant parts of the publication.

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