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Home arrow Reviews arrow Books arrow "Pink Floyd's The Wall" - Jeff Bench and Daniel O'Brien
"Pink Floyd's The Wall" - Jeff Bench and Daniel O'Brien Print E-mail

Pink Floyd The Wall book

Published by Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, May 2004

Available from the following links: US/International, UK/Elsewhere, France, or Germany.

The Wall - a project that was at least four years in the making, and proved to be a wedge that drove the band apart - is the subject of this new book which takes a close look at events, putting them and the album itself into the social and musical context of the times.

For such a key album in the band's history, it is odd that many accounts of the band do not provide much focus on it. In steps Jeff and Daniel's book, "Pink Floyd's The Wall: In The Studio, On Stage And On Screen", to redress the balance.

Published at the start of May 2004, the book is an exhaustive look at all aspects of the project. One area it doesn't cover are things such as the various vinyl/cassette/CD or DVD releases (including the "Is There Anybody Out There" live set). However, inclusion of this material might dilute the focus of the book, and other books cover this aspect well anyway.

The book starts with a look at the history of recorded music, running from the earliest examples through to the rise of the concept album. Bench's career as a media historian comes through clearly here, with great detail on key artists and albums. For some, this chapter might go into too much detail, with Pink Floyd not mentioned until page 40, but we have already received feedback from one of the lucky winners of this book in our recent competition, who loved the deep level of detail found in this chapter. Certainly, the chapter would sit well in a general book about the development of recorded popular music...

The book then launches into an overview of the band's development, which brings in some of the stresses and conflicts that grew between them over the years, and the growing distaste at the huge stadium crowds at their shows. The feeling of Roger's that the band had done it all once Dark Side Of The Moon appeared, and that the band was grimly hanging on to the comfort of the name, is highlit. "We'd won the pools. What are you supposed to do after that? Dark Side Of The Moon was the last willing collaboration; after that, everything with the band was like drawing teeth; ten years of hanging on to the married name and not having the courage to get divorced; ten years of bloody hell."

The authors go into the detail of the recording sessions, doing comparisons with the Britannia Row demo of the album to show how the piece developed. This leads on to discussion of the live shows, with some interesting notes on how the stage show was conceptualised and developed.

This part is accompanied with some of our friend Ian McKenzie's shots from Earls Court, as seen already exclusively on this site. The use of previously unseen pics is one of the high points of the book - there are also some good early shots of the band that I've not seen before, that the publishers have managed to unearth.

With the album and concerts covered, the book moves to the movie. Now, for a period with a large amount of conflict, in fighting, and problems, the movie is rarely covered in any kind of detail normally. This book covers the story efficiently but really gives a flavour of the atmosphere. The storyline changes (some of which were dramatic - the ditching of the live footage) are covered well, as are the problems encountered throughout the filming, and for me this is the best part of the book, bringing to life the conflict between Parker and Waters, and the difficulties that Parker had getting Roger's vision filmed.

To wrap up the story, a small section on the 1990 Berlin show, amidst the framework of the split of the band, the subsequent legal actions, and the public perception of the two parties (Waters v Gilmour/Mason). The narrative briefly touches on the performers approached who didn't make it in the final show, and looks at the different venues under discussion. The lack of commercial success of the show, especially the subsequent releases, is covered, as is Roger's revised view of his audiences since The Wall and his split from David and Nick...

Definately an interesting book, it covers the story of The Wall well. As mentioned earlier, it doesn't cover the actual album or film releases (CDs, DVDs, vinyl and so on) in any detail, however, and, for me, doesn't go into some of the detail it could do in some sections. I would have liked to have seen more on technical preparations for the stage shows (especially the Berlin concert), and slightly less on the development of the concept album. But, as a book which should appeal to both the casual fan and the die-hard, plenty to enjoy, a good wrap-up of the whole project, and certainly enough new pictures and information to make it a worthwhile purchase and a nice addition to your Floyd bookshelf.

If you want to order the book, at a discount, you can use the following links: US/International, UK/Elsewhere, France, or Germany.

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