“Waiting for the Worms” by Pink Floyd
Lyrically, Pink Floyd’s “Waiting for the Worms” is quite terse. But also relatively speaking it is a complicated piece, as with the project it is derived from.
Said project, “The Wall”, is in fact a concept album. The vocalist takes on the role of a fictional subject known as Pink. And as inferred by these lyrics, the World War II era has a notable influence on the album.
So basically, “The Wall” follows Pink’s life as he goes through a period of depression and self-isolation. “Waiting for the Worms”, which is one of the last songs on the album, is meant to symbolize one of the low points in his mental descent. So, there may be a number of references to World War II and more specifically fascism alright. But symbolically, they are actually meant to serve as metaphors for what’s going on inside of the vocalist’s mind.
Relatedly, “the worms” mentioned in the title and lyrics point to the concept drugs that were used to keep Pink mentally stable now starting to wear off. So the vocalist putting forth that he’s “waiting for the worms to come” is essentially him recognizing that the evil side of his persona, if you will, is on the verge of taking over. Or put more simply, he is gradually slipping into insanity – or something like that.
And we can see that a major factor in this slippage entails the vocalist fully embracing a racist/fascist ideology. So it can be deduced that this is Pink Floyd’s roundabout way of putting forth that such-minded individuals are in fact suffering from a mental disease. And as implied via the entirety of “The Wall”, said disease would have something to do with them closing off their minds from the outside world.
And this is a compelling stance, considering for instance the mass shooting that transpired in New York just a week prior to the writing of this post. In the said incident, a white supremacist teenager mass shooter marched into a predominantly Black community in New York’s Buffalo and shot and killed several innocent Blacks.
In other words, what Pink Floyd is saying is that not only those who are in power who hold such beliefs, such as Hitler and Mussolini, that prove dangerous. Instead, even a normal person adopting this type of mindset could prove disastrous, even if only for his own wellbeing, which seems to be the main point Pink Floyd is trying to put across.
Facts about “Waiting for the Worms”
This is one of the tracks to be found on Pink Floyd’s classic album “The Wall”, which Columbia Records and Harvest Records put out on 30 November 1979.
The song was written exclusively by Roger Waters, who was a member of the crew during the band’s signature years. And even though the entirety of Pink Floyd is credited with co-producing this track, Waters is given individual credit in that regard also. The other producers of “Waiting for the Worms” are non-band members Bob Ezrin and James Guthrie.
This song was not one of the singles from “The Wall”, an album that has thus far been certified a whopping 23-times platinum in the United States. But according to some fans of the project, this may actually be the most-outstanding tune on the LP.
The original, working title of this track was “Follow the Worms”.
Both Roger Waters and his Pink Floyd bandmate, David Gilmour, serve as lead vocalists on this song. To this day, Gilmour is still holding down the Pink Floyd brand alongside Nick Mason, with Mason and Waters being co-founders of the group. At the time this song came out, the band was rounded out by the band’s other co-founder, the late Richard Wright (1943-2008).
Amongst the backup vocalists on this track is Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys.
Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”
“The Wall” is an album by Pink Floyd, an English rock band from London. It was officially released on November 30 of 1979 as the band’s 11th studio album.
Recording started in December of 1978 and ended in November of 1979 in the following recording studios:
- Super Bear (Nice, France)
- Producers Workshop (Los Angeles, California)
- Miraval (Correns, France)
- Britannia Row (London)
- 30th Street (Manhattan, New York)
Band members, Gilmour and Waters, worked with Canadian music producer, Bob Ezrin and James Guthrie, an English recording engineer to produce the album.
Capitol Music Group’s British-American record label, Harvest Records and Sony Music’s Columbia Records are the record labels on which the album was released.
“The Wall” was critically and commercially successful. It became the band’s second best album and one of the best albums ever. In the US, it remained at the top of the Billboard 200 for a total of 15 weeks. It peaked at No. 3 in UK and reached the apex of charts in the following countries:
- New Zealand
The album has recorded global sales of over 30 million copies, earning numerous enviable certifications from across the globe.
As part of support for “The Wall”, the band embarked on a world tour titled, “Wall Tour”. The tour commenced on February 7 of 1980 in Los Angeles and ended on June 17 of 1981 in the British capital. Pink Floyd performed 31 shows in total. During the tour, the relationship between band members was said to be at an all-time low. “Wall Tour” became the final tour the band embarked on with band member Roger Waters as part of its lineup. He however joined the band at the Live 8 concert of 2005, held across G8 countries.
In 1982, an animated horror musical film with the title, “Pink Floyd – The Wall” was released. It was written by Roger Waters and directed by English filmmaker, Alan Parker.
The album was placed at No. 87 on Rolling Stone’s lists, “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” of 2003 and 2012.
At the 23rd edition of the annual Grammy Awards in 1981, James Guthrie won the award, “Best Engineered Recording (non-classical)” for his works on the album. The album itself won a nomination for the “Album of the Year” award. The said award was however lost to Christopher Cross’ debut album, “Christopher Cross”.
FYI: Pink Floyd’s legendary song, “Another Brick in the Wall“, appears on this album.