History

2010 Is Just a Scrambled Remix of 1980

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In 1980, the year I turned 10, it seemed like every kid I knew loved Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall"—and not just because a bunch of us misheard one of the lyrics as "Dukes of Hazzard in the classroom." Here was a protest song against something we all actually experienced ourselves, the track's transfixing power magnified by rumors that children in Africa were singing the line "We don't need no education" as they refused to go to school. This tale was actually true, though we had no idea of the context: The song had become the anthem of a school strike in South Africa, where the apartheid regime reacted by banning the record. William Sievert of the Pacific News Service reported that some would-be censors wanted to do the same thing here in the States:

If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding.

In the United States, educators in several states have tried—with some success—to have the song removed from the play lists of radio stations. Says Hope Antman of Columbia Records in New York, "The radio resistance has been surprisingly strong. Stations started getting angry calls and letters from teachers and principals and school boards claiming that 'Another Brick in the Wall' was creating a crisis in their classrooms."…

"We Don't Need No Education" graffiti has appeared on tunnel walls in the Sunset District of San Francisco, and its refrain has echoed through the lunch hours at private, Jesuit-run schools in the city.

Elsewhere, at least a dozen rock stations in major cities either stopped playing the record or refused to add it to their play lists. The resistance was even stronger in smaller towns, Antman says. One teacher in Chicago went so far as to cut his own record as a rebuttal to Pink Floyd, changing the lyrics to "We all need an education."

The rebuttal was an instant flop, while Pink Floyd's attack on schools has dominated the sales charts for months.

But Marge, it works on ANY Ayatollah. Ayatollah Nakhbadeh…Ayatollah Zahedi…even as we speak, Ayatollah Razmada and his cadre of fanatics are consolidating their power.

It felt very apocalyptic. Virtually everything felt apocalyptic in 1980. The Soviets were in Afghanistan, the economy was in the crapper, and every evening Walter Cronkite added another day to his count of the period Americans had been held captive in Iran. The hostage crisis had its own pop-culture echoes, from a "Stick a Hola in the Ayatollah" dart board to a "Barbara Ann" parody that joined "Another Brick in the Wall" on the radio for a few months. It featured the lyrics "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran." (What, you thought John McCain thought that one up himself?) And then there was a crude country song called "A Message to Khomeini": "You think you're so darn bad/but when Uncle Sam gets mad/there's gonna be an oil slick/right where Iran used to be."

Thirty years later, a rock band called Blurred Vision has borrowed an old song to protest another generation of mullahs. There's no trace of xenophobia in this record—the musicians are Iranian exiles, not angry American natives, and their theme is revolution, not war. The song they've adapted isn't "Barbara Ann"; it's "Another Brick in the Wall," which now features the line: "Hey, Ayatollah! Leave those kids alone!"

There's a video, too:

It is, as Michael Totten writes, "an electrifying piece of music video art." And while it's far removed from 1980's anti-Ayatollah pop, it does remind me of those South African schoolkids chanting Pink Floyd lyrics as they stood up to apartheid. From Pretoria to Tehran to the cabin at Camp Kanata where we debated that Dukes of Hazzard line, we still don't need no thought control.

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  1. Roger Waters is doing The Wall on tour this year.

  2. It’s kind of poignant that a song used for school rebellion is now used to rebel against a movement and government that largely started because of students rebelling.

  3. I remember “Bomb Iran.” I don’t recall anyone thinking that the Dukes of Hazzard were in the classroom.

    1. I don’t remember the Dukes of Hazard either. However I do remember getting sick of The Wall within a week of its release. I still won;t listen to it.

      1. This mondegreen might not have spread very far beyond the boundaries of Camp Kanata.

        1. Were you there with Allan Sherman?

          1. That’s “Camp Grenada.” Though naturally the Kanata counsellers wrote a parody.

            1. Of course, it could be that the Dukes of Hazzard were in the classroom but that Floyd was too embarrassed to admit it. Certainly, Boss Hogg played an instrumental role in “Wish You Were Here.”

              1. Remember Enos’ spinoff show? That lasted about 5 minutes.

                1. I have a vague recollection that there may have been such a thing. Where was it set? Was he a Marine with a cranky sergeant?

                  1. I think he was just a dipshit sheriff in another town. Not exactly memorable. All spinoffs can’t be Benson.

                    1. Are you dissing After M*A*S*H and Joey?

                    2. You know how bad AfterM*A*S*H was? It’s The Wire compared to W*A*L*T*E*R.

                    3. Jesus Jesse that show was broadcast once during the summer of 1984 in only two time zones. How did you ever see it? Or remember it?

                    4. I saw it on YouTube. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be there anymore. It really is one of the worst half-hours of television ever taped.

                    5. Wow. You really do work hard for your money and pop knowledge. My hat is off to you.

                    6. The Aquaman spin-off from the 60s Batman was pretty bad. How bad? He used starfish as shurikens.

                    7. E-E-E-E-E-E-E-VIL!

                    8. That’s not bad. That’s great.

                    9. On the other hand, it’s got Clete Roberts. Catch him interviewing the real-life people who lived The Phenix City Story, a really fun low-budget movie made even better by Roberts’ introduction.

                    10. I am constantly amazed at the depth and breadth of pop culture flotsam that washes up in these comments.

                    11. Viewers learn that O’Reilly returned to Iowa, where he failed at farming. He sold the farm and the livestock and sent his mother off to live with his aunt. His bride left him for another man after their honeymoon. O’Reilly decided to commit suicide, and went to a drug store to buy sleeping pills for an overdose (as well as aspirin, because sleeping pills give him headaches). The drugstore clerk, Victoria, cheered him up and they became good friends. His cousin Wendell helped him get a job on the police force. Walter solves a dispute between two strippers, and gets his wallet back from a young would-be thief whose father had died in Korea.

                      Holy shit, that’s Galactus-sized awful.

                    12. Hey, wait! You can see the show here!

                      Watch for future Tea Party celeb Victoria Jackson as the drugstore clerk.

                    13. What is the greatest of all spin-offs?

                    14. What is the greatest of all spin-offs?

                      Mork & Mindy.

                    15. The Jeffersons?
                      A Man Called Hawk?
                      The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo?
                      Grady?

                      I suppose there’s a case to be made that The Simpsons is the king of spin-offs, given the length of its run.

                    16. Fraiser.

                    17. Pro Lib:

                      Isn’t The Simpsons a spinoff of The Tracy Ullman show, or would it not be considered a spinoff? If it’s a spinoff, then it pretty much has to take home the gold for spinoffs.

                      If not, let’s see…

                      Frasier was pretty good, if not as-good-as-Cheer’s-good.

                      Angel was better than Buffy, in my opinion.

                      Mork & Mindy / Laverne & Shirley were pretty good (for their time, I doubt they’ve held up well) spinoffs of Happy Days.

                      Jeffersons was pretty good.

                      Colbert Report?

                      The Andy Griffith Show was a spinoff of a spinoff.

                    18. MattJ,

                      Coincidentally, I posted a similar comment about The Simpsons above. I think they’ve got a good claim to the title.

                2. That reminds me of the great 1955 musical Oklahoma. One of the major characters is Ado Annie, but every time they say her name it sounds like they’re saying Anal Annie.

    2. A girlfriend at the time thought Andrea True’s More, More, More was “Poooooooooooorno”. Nothing I could say would convince her otherwise.

  4. For a brief moment I thought that “A Message to Khomeini” might be a parody of the Specials’ “A Message to You, Rudy.” (Side note: Wikipedia just informed me the song was originally recorded by Dandy Livingstone. Learn something new every day.)

    On an unrelated note, I’d probably put “The Wall” on my list of the ten most overrated albums ever.

    1. “On an unrelated note, I’d probably put “The Wall” on my list of the ten most overrated albums ever.”

      I’d go as far to say that while I do like the occasional track here and there, I don’t think Pink Floyd put out a single decent album.

      1. You’re a lunatic. Animals is genius from top to bottom.

        1. Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

          1. Good point. I almost forget that there was a Syd Barrett period of the band.

          2. I like Animals and Piper. I also like Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here.

            1. Wish You Were Here

              Not a bad track on it.

          3. Meddle is still one of my favorites. Except for “Seamus”, which sucks balls. I have no idea why they thought that might be a good thing to record.

          4. I enjoy both Piper and Dark Side of the Moon, so I’m no Floyd-hater. I just sometimes think that The Wall is the audio equivalent of Catcher in the Rye–it’s something that seems brilliant when you’re 15 but quickly loses its luster as you grow up.

            1. That’s how I feel about Dark Side, actually. Not that I dislike it — hell, the part with the gospel singer is great — but it’s the sort of thing that you feel kind of embarrassed years later to have considered profound.

              Anyway. There’s a number of Floyd albums that I think are reasonably good, but the only ones I ever seem to pull out are Piper and Atom Heart Mother.

              1. Not to be a shit but Big Gig in the Sky was sung by a white English woman pop singer. Not a gospel singer.

                And Dark Side has its moments. I think Time is a pretty clever description of mortality. It is as profound as any pop music can be.

                1. OK: the part with the singing that reminds me of gospel music. You know the song I meant…

                2. Annie Lennox, iirc.

              2. Dark Side was a great album to play at 4am when you wanted the party to break up.

                1. It will do that. So will the Velvet Underground.

        2. Dark Side of the Moon anyone?

          Disk 2 of the Floyd ’94 live tour DVD, Pulse is DSotM from start to finish and is pretty fucking awesome. Disc 1 is too much Division Bell and not worth it, IMO.

        3. Yes, great album.

        4. Ditto that

      2. I agree that Floyd is overrated, though there is some good work in there. I unfortunately was exposed to it through my dad and then stoner associates who were almost as bad with the Floyd as deadheads are with the Dead; I had Carroll Spinney’s godson insisting that we play Floyd every five minutes and it got really annoying.

        1. That’s pretty bad. Didn’ think anyone could approach the deadheads.

          1. Didn’ think anyone could approach the deadheads.

            Let me introduce you to a little band called Phish.

            1. Good point although I always thought the Phish followers were a subset of deadheads.

        2. I had friends like that in high school. Then in college there were people like that only they listened to The Cure. The whole, lets listen to the same music and be depressed all of the time scene gets old quick.

          1. I also had some who insisted on The Smiths. There is only so much Morrissey I can take before beating someone to death with a 9-iron.

            1. You can take any amount of Morrissey? You sicken me.

              1. I don’t understand why I like Morrissey. Intellectually, I know why I shouldn’t like Morrissey. If anybody else did what Morrissey did I would mock them mercilessly. Yet somehow I love both the Smiths and Morrissey. It’s a mystery for the ages…

                1. Confession is pointless without change!

                2. I’d much rather listen to the precursors of new wave, like Gang of Four or Joy Division.

                  1. Joy Division is music to slash your wrists to.

                3. I feel exactly the same way.

    2. “The Wall” live included one of the most memorable live concert moments I remember: Waters’ guitar solo while on top of the wall (which was built piece-by-piece while the concert progressed). Note: There were other influences (the girl I was with, the smokables) that heightened the pleasure of that concert experience, too. But that solo just screamed “Freedom!” and “Triumph!” to me.

      1. I saw that in LA (the Forum, I believe) in Feb 1980. IIRC, though, it was a Gilmour guitar solo, during Comfortably Numb. They built the wall during the first half of the album and played in front, behind, above, and around it during the second half, finally crashing it down at the end. The best part was the way they kept turning up the volume during the course of the show. By the time they got to You Better Run, I thought my ears were going to bleed.

        Of course, I ate a lot of brownies before the show, so some of the details of this may be slightly off.

        1. I skipped my high school prom to see them at Texas Stadium in Dallas during the first Waters less tour. They were great. One of the best stadium shows I have ever seen. Few bands can really pull off a big venue well. And they could do that.

          1. The best arena shows include hip throws.

  5. One teacher in Chicago went so far as to cut his own record as a rebuttal to Pink Floyd, changing the lyrics to “We all need an education.”

    Hilarious.

    From my favorite author: A Jew of Persia

  6. Animals is genius from top to bottom.

    It has to be. It has three songs on it, and every record of theirs has three good songs on it.

    Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

    HIPSTER

    That is the best one. It has three really good songs.

    1. It has to be. It has three songs on it, and every record of theirs has three good songs on it.

      Ho ho ho. But if memory serves, A Momentary Lapse of Reason didn’t have any good songs on it at all.

      1. For an album called A Momentary Lapse of REASON

      2. Sorrow is one of my favorite PF songs.

      3. Final Cut, Momentary Lapse, and Division Bell are all “3/4 of Floyd” efforts, and therefore it doesn’t count that they are a bit uneven.

        I love every last note the post-Syd Floyd, from Saucer Full of Secrets right up to The Wall, and that includes the almost-forgotten soundtrack from “More”. For better or worse, the Waters-led Pink Floyd was to rock what Wagner was to opera.

        1. Obscured by Clouds is THE BEST.

      4. How can you not like ‘Learning to Fly’ ?

  7. Ah, “Comfortably Numb”… What redneck wedding would be complete without it?

    1. Is that played before or after Free Bird??

    2. Before or after Electric Slide?

    3. You need the coda of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, dude. Don’t forget that bit of icing on the (cheap, shitty) cake.

    4. I’ve attended a wedding that included a Lynyrd Skynard processional, a pregnant bride and the entire wedding party barefoot in front of the couple’s trailer. I forget if they played Comfortably Numb or not, but it is the redneckiest wedding I’ve ever been to. Honestly, the only stereotype missing was the camo. (And the bride and groom were no relation.)

    5. “Comfortably Numb” is often played twice. Once early in the night “because it’s all about gettin’ fucked up” and then toward the end of the festivities by the drunk asshole who takes over after the “DJ” wears out. You know the drunk asshole I’m talking about. He cries to Alan Jackson. He usually bookends CN with “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Friends in Low Places.”

      1. You have described hell. You must be the toughest man alive to endured that more than once. Maybe your diabetes has fucked up your capacity for aversion?

        1. I’ve only had to go to a few.

          It’s not so much that Kentucky is that redneck, but whoever you know–no matter how educated, urbane and witty they may be–will have some set of far-flung cousins that are toothless, hill-billy retards that will ruin any occasion.

          1. Everyone knows that the most urbane thing in Kentucky is the Knob Creek machine gun shoot. You don’t fool me.

            1. I see that you’ve never been to Keeneland.

            2. What Ska said. And frankly a bourbon machine gun shoot sounds pretty damned urbane to me.

    6. I actually played in a band at a redneck wedding reception. The march was Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

      No, I’m not joking.

      I always preferred A Saucerful of Secrets to Piper, and I think Meddle is really underrated. After being overplayed for so long, I’ve only now gotten to the point where I can listen to The Wall again. Dark Side will take another ten years or so.

      1. My best friend’s sister went down the aisle to Queen’s wedding march from “Flash Gordon.” Too bad I didn’t know him at the time.

        1. One of my cousins did their reception intros to Star Wars “The Throne Room”, which is at the end of A New Hope where they give out the medals. I believe they had droids on the cake too.

          1. One of my cousins did a whole Star Wars thing at their wedding. When nerds mate, it can be a touching thing.

          2. A good friend of mine played the same song at his reception.

            They had Han Solo and Princess Leia on top of the cake, instead.

            I think that makes it more romantic.

      2. I still can’t listen to The Wall. It came out in my senior year in high school. Needless to say, I got my lifetime quota of it that year.

      3. Meddle is really quite brilliant, and I enjoy the fact that black metal bands can rip off its most famous riff with good results.

        1. Why’d they change the lyric? I’d have thought it would be good enough for a black metal band as it was.

        2. The other thing I like about Meddle is the album cover. I never realized it was an ear until someone pointed it out to me.

      4. To be fair, this couple was getting married for the third time (to each other). I think a third wedding in general, and specifically, a third wedding getting married to the same person, would be much less formal.

        Of course, why they thought they would make it this time after two divorces, I have no idea.

    7. I guess I am really not from a redneck family. I have never been to a wedding that played any of this stuff. And I would be horrified.

      In fairness to rednecks, it is not like your typical 20 or 30 something Yuppie’s wedding is any better. I went to one a couple of years ago and the entire reception was the groom and his aging frat boy buddies getting down to various awful 90s hip hop. I think Free Bird would have been less ridiculous.

      1. The vast majority of weddings suck. I’ve been to about 2 dozen and only three have been enjoyable and maybe three more bearable. The rest were like having my fingernails torn out.

        Yet, oddly, my favorite kind of cake is wedding cake.

        1. Mine was good for about two hours. It had an open bar and the music was good. Then the little Southie hood rat that the DJ company sent started playing shit music and my older brother and I threatened him with a beat down. But he never really got it. And the mood was ruined. I told my wife we should have let my friend do the music. But she insisted on hiring these losers. I am still a bit bitter as you can tell.

          1. Ours was fun because it was super-short. We got married in a courthouse in NYC and then pub-crawled for the next 12 hours with all our friends as a reception. No family wedding FTW.

            1. That is my kind of wedding. I would have totally done that had my wife not insisted otherwise. She is Italian. You have to have a big fat Italian wedding. It is in their genes.

              1. How else will you get the money tree?

            2. At my business partner’s wedding in Frankfort, someone got the DJ to play Rocky Top. We have no idea who, but if we had ever found him, there would have been a beatdown of epic proportions.

        2. My favorite white person wedding moment was at a wedding of my wife’s cousin. He is the most hen pecked man I know. And he married the most uptight WASP woman you could ever imagine. So here we are at this Presbyterian very little booze uptight white wedding. And the first dance song is Dave Mathews “Crash”. I don’t think they had ever listened to the lyrics closely. It got to the part about hicking up your skirt and it was all I could do to keep from bursting out laughing. I think as it was playing, it dawned on the bride that there were lyrics to that song she hadn’t thought about. It was great.

          1. I gave our DJ detailed instructions on the music he was to play, and he followed them pretty much to the letter. I lent him about a dozen CDs so he’d have all the songs. My wife jokes that I wanted to DJ my own wedding.

            1. I did the same thing. And the little bastard ignored me. It was the one part of my wedding I cared about. And the little shit fucked it up. I still would like to give him a beating.

            2. We did the same, with the specific instructions for “no schtick” like dark sunglasses, blow-up guitars, chicken dances-electric slides-conga lines, etc.

              Everyone said my wedding reception was one of the best ever. Low key and casual. Not a black tie to be seen, even on the groom. Loved it!

        3. I had my wedding upstairs at Arnaud’s in NOLA. The actual ceremony was a JP with a lisp who sounded like Elmer Fudd. Took about 15 minutes. We stayed for about an hour and a half, with finger foods & booze provided by the restaurant. No DJ, no dance floor. Then we told everybody to go outside and find some trouble to get into.

          People still ask us occasionally if we’re going to go back and have another party like that, so it must have been okay.

          1. Do you, T, take this woman to be your wawfully wedded wife…huh-huh-huh-huh

      2. Years ago I read about a couple that chose the theme from the Olympics for their processional music. I think that sets the standard for poor taste.

        1. That is so over the top it is at least kind of funny.

        2. Undoubtedly very high earners.

  8. I believe Homer’s shirt said “Ayatollah Assa Holla”, correct?

    1. That’s correct. It’s the perfect shirt to wear under your “Disco Stu” rhinestone-covered jean jacket.

  9. In 1980, the year I turned 10,

    Wow, you are old.

    1. And I thought he was just a baby!

        1. I resemble that remark.

  10. I found it ironic seeing Roger Waters perform “Another Brick in the Wall” at “Live Earth 2007”.

  11. “You think you’re so darn bad/but when Uncle Sam gets mad/there’s gonna be an oil slick/right where Iran used to be.”

    …and people say Shakespeare has no equal. ???!!!

  12. If anyone knows anything about schools in England, the Pink Floyd song makes a lot of sense.

    1. +1

      I too was 10 in 1980. With a Teacher for a Mom. She HATED that song. I tried to tell her it was directed not at education in general, but rather the brutal and dehumanising aspects of British Public School system.

      1. I was only 4 when The Wall was released, but by 1989 when I was in 7th grade, the 8th graders thought the song was “teh shit” along with using little emoticon-y symbols to spell out “peace-love-happiness-mon” all over the chalk boards. By that time, I, too, understood that the song was not anti-education but about the dehumanizing (pardon the American English spelling) aspects of public education, but the message was lost on the few older friends I had. The day I tried to engage them in intellectual discussion of any sort was the day I became NERD #1 and lost what few friends I had. Thus began my long and happy ascent into cynicism, study, and semi-isolation that makes up my current happy life.

  13. Pink Floyd is hit and miss. The Wall was the album that, for me, marked the end of their artistic contribution to the world. It was their worst yet and nothing after it was even worth bothering with.

    I still like Wish You Were Here (for nostalgic reasons) and Meddle, but have to agree that the Syd era stuff is the only stuff I pull out intentionally anymore.

  14. FWIW, I just need to say that I am so happy to find that I am not the only person who finds The Wall to be an irritating album, full of whinging, self-serving petulance. The only thing worse may be the film. I never felt the need for a visual representation of the repeated poor-me meme.

  15. Ah 1980, I turned 18 that year. Out of HS a quarter early looking forward to my out-of-state college scholarship at a top party school with a f/m ratio better than 2/1. $30 oz Colombian red-bud,$35 oz Jamaican,$3 real Quaaludes, acid tiles, MDA (no extra-M),cheap beer(18 yo drinking age). The commercial rock station was playing half the tracks on the Ramones End of the Century in heavy rotation (Doomsday,Doomsdays comin’ 1981…but until things blow I’m gonna have some fun).What a 6 month summer, followed by a trip down south to the magic land of easy rich pussy and even better drugs(sinsemilla!). I threw my first vote away for John Anderson as I cruised through my Fall freshman year wondering why school was so easy and so many women wanted to have sex with me. Banks,fitness clubs and Apartment complexes handed out free draft beer in the quad starting at 9AM. I got stoned every day the minute I woke up.

    Fuck I wish I was 18-25 again but I probably would get arrested or die this time around.2010 isn’t too bad either;-)

    1. The Wall came out in 1979.I smoked a lot of weed with it in the background but never cared to own a copy. My favorite records at the time was Heartbreakers-Live at Max’s Kansas City.

  16. Ah 1980, I turned 18 that year. Out of HS a quarter early looking forward to my out-of-state college scholarship at a top party school with a f/m ratio better than 2/1. $30 oz Colombian red-bud,$35 oz Jamaican,$3 real Quaaludes, acid tiles, MDA (no extra-M),cheap beer(18 yo drinking age). The commercial rock station was playing half the tracks on the Ramones End of the Century in heavy rotation (Doomsday,Doomsdays comin’ 1981…but until things blow I’m gonna have some fun).What a 6 month summer, followed by a trip down south to the magic land of easy rich pussy and even better drugs(sinsemilla!). I threw my first vote away for John Anderson as I cruised through my Fall freshman year wondering why school was so easy and so many women wanted to have sex with me. Banks,fitness clubs and Apartment complexes handed out free draft beer in the quad starting at 9AM. I got stoned every day the minute Just then, the alarm clock rang and I woke up.

  17. The band were fantastic that is really what i think….Oh by the way which ones a mullah….

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