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Comfortably Numb song meaning


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I have heard many explinations to this song. I'm not sure which one(s) to belive. So far I have heard explinations such as: describing the feeling from cocaine, the feeling from heroine, about a fever, and so on. I would like to hear peoples opinion. So please help me out and give me your opinion. :beatnik: :guitar:

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Aw, would you be speaking of Pink Floyd, from the Wall album? The album is about a former Pink Floyd member who lost it mentally. Can't remember the band members name (perhaps someone can refresh my memory here?), but the song is "Is there anyone out there?". It's about his phsycosis, and the medications used to deal with his nerosous during the time spent in an institution. (so the story goes). Actually the whole album is built around this former band member, and to understand it, would be to listen repeatadly to the entire album. I believe it sounds to most people like they are dissin on him, but that the band is paying tribute to him, and in an off the wall attempt, trying to reach him on another level.

The title "Is there anyone out there" might imply the state of mind of the former band member's ability to acknowledge the presence of others around him. But I know this to be fact; The entire album focusses on the former members mental state, and in listening with this in mind should reveal what you are examining. Thanks, CHAFF

P.S. Sorry if this seems to be out there, but I believe I'm right. I actually heard an interview with the leading members of the band some years past, that I recall support factually what I am saying. Sorry, I don't remember more of it.

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Chaff, the former member you are referring to is Syd Barrett.

In fact, he wasn't just a band member, but the founder, main song writer and lead guitarist..so he pretty much was Pink Floyd in their early years.

His behaviour became increasingly erratic and unpredictable, to the point where the rest of the band felt they couldn't work with him any longer, and he resigned / was fired (depending on who 's story you choose to believe) in February 1968. At that point he was medically recognized as a manic depressive, so at least his break down wasn't specifically drug related!.

He realeased a couple of strange but critically popular solo albums, and currently lives as a recluse in a small rural town in England, never speaking to the press..I guess you could call him weird but harmless. He remains very much an underground cult hero, and there are plenty of Floyd fans who would argue that they were never as good after he left. If you like folkie-influenced sad songs, his solo work is worth checking out.

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Good point. I was refering to the lyrics of "Is there anybody out there". It is my best recolection of the phrase "Comfortably Numb". The phrase may have been used in other songs as well, but I remember it from this one best. Thanks, a very interesting discussion. :coolio:

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Malakin; I understand what you are saying, however, the entire album according to the interview I witnessed is about Syd (Thanks goes out to the reminder on the name).

Look I'll be honest I don't recall all the titles in the album, but, I know from the remaining band members interview that it was all about Syd and what he was going through. Thanks for your input. A very good discussion going on here for one of my favorite groups. :headphones:

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I'm not trying to argue that the Wall could be about Syd. I've never heard that, always heard it was about Waters' father, but who knows...

But, I will say that I too have heard and read interviews with the band, and the album "Wish you were here" is specifically about Syd. It was written shortly after he was committed to an asylum. Incidentally, Wish you were here came out before the Wall. ;)

And, just as an amusing side note, Have a Cigar, one of the songs on regular rotation for most classic rock stations, is off of Wish You Were Here, and is the only Floyd song not sung by one of their members. It was sung by Roy Harper who happened to be recording nearby.

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Chaff asked me privately for references, just out of curiousity, and I was going to reply, but then thought maybe others would like to read this stuff too.. I know I found alot more interesting stuff than what I was looking for! :D

http://www.floydianslip.com/discs/wywh.htm

http://www.sydbarrett.net/subpages/articles/wish_you_were_here_mojo.htm

on that one, it's an interesting read all the way through, but for what we're discussing, check out the second to last paragraph in the right column.

And, to back up what Chaff was saying, go here:

http://home.mchsi.com/%7Ettint/Intro.html

The last paragraph before he gets into the song by song breakdown mentions that some of the Wall was influenced by Syd..

So, with just a quick look around (I by no means did much looking) it looks like we're both right, The Wall and Wish You Were Here are both in some sense or another dedicated to Syd Barret.

Hope ya'll find something interesting here!

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Malakin: Thanks for your attention to detail. I'll admit I could be very wrong, and will have to respond upon research, I was not expecting to have to do, but you seem to have it together, and I can admit when I'm wrong! It has not reached that point yet, but I'll reserve that right. It's a music discussion, and I love anything that has to do with fact and music. I will admit that I go with information I remember and I believe. I hope to gain more knowledge. I don't purposely decieve anyone, I just want to get the wheels turning toward the truth. I think this forum is about finding facts and documenting them toward a goal fact discovery, and that no-one should take it for granted on one E-mail, but should weight all that you read and find the truth on your own. Thanks, CHAFF

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Denmark: What are the album titles that Syd Berrett solo'd?

I'd be very interested in his state of mind (I'll be honest about my interest in judgeing his state of mind from the albums)! I've still got to listen to the album you sugguested to listen to, and perhaps that will change my thought process, but until then I can only speculate, so I'll cut this short and do so. I will have to admit these forums are sugguesting that I don't know what I thought I did. Please continue to be honest in this quest, as that is very important. Even if at times I appear to be a "Jack-Ass", it's all about the truth in music. I have enough ego to forgo any wrongs in the interest of truth. :coolio: Thanks, CHAFF.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Not sure what it's about, but the Scissor Sisters recently released a cover version of it that was quite big over here. I think it's good, I liked the original as well, but apparently a lot of Floyd fans aren't happy with it.

But the lead singer of the Scissor Sisters says that, to her, she thought that when the song was written drugs were a very insular, solitary activity, and she thinks now drug use is more hedonistic, so that's why they did the song differently.

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  • 2 months later...

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums. When it first came out, my friends and I talked about it endlessly, but we never came to any conclusions about it.

Only years later, when I got a copy of The Sex Pistols "Never Mind the Bullocks," did I begin to understand the album. The Sex Pistols, and punks in general in Britain the mid-1970's, hated Pink Floyd and everything they stood for: so-called "stadium rock." And The Wall, I think, is Floyd's response. The movie is very clear: British punks were proto-fascists, according to the band. They're the ones that "bleeding hearts and artists" have to "make their stand" against.

"Comfortably Numb" comes before Pink has learned to fight back against fascists. Instead, he drugs himself to conceal his pain. In any case, it's a great phrase; I've used it myself for 25+ years to describe a feeling beyond pain but without the spark of life, a feeling I (and probably most everyone else) have felt from time to time.

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  • 1 month later...

I could have sworn I posted this link on here.. The album is basically about (my take on it) Roger Waters' life and a little of Syd Barret's thrown in. But it also has WWII parallels, and talks about how naive and rowdy an audience can be, and often they come to shows to get drunk and get laid, not for the music. A lot of meanings to the album, but the best analysis of the album is here. It is seperated by song, so you can go right to Comfortably Numb. The Wall Analysis Hopeully this helps some.

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Yes, Hey You was cut out. That would be just too much punishment for one individual to endure, Waters said. I guess he felt sorry about poor Pink.

About Comfortably Numb, all Waters says about the song is that is about feeling drugged, down and out of control. I guess it's the calm before the storm.

He also mentions that he indeed found a poisoned rat when he was a kid and kept it for a couple of day untill the poor thing died.

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That would be just too much punishment for one individual to endure, Waters said.
:laughing: At first I thought he was talking about the listener. I was gonna say, "Hey, I like that song!" And yeah, I heard the whole rat scenario really happened. That song was probably one of the most memorable cinematic moments.
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As I've heard it, the inspiration for the song "Comfortably Numb" (not necessarily how it fits into 'The Wall') arose when Roger Waters had severe back pain and went to the doctor to receive shots for the pain. And if you listen closely to the lyrics, that's pretty much what they mean. But only the lyricist knows for sure. Great song, though. My third favorite by Floyd, behind "Wish You Were Here" and "Young Lust".

:afro: :afro: :afro: :afro: :afro:

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