Song Lyric Sunday — Hidden Gems

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim has enlisted Amy, aka E.M. Kingston. Amy suggested Hidden Gems: great songs that missed the top of the charts. I have become a big Pink Floyd fan, even more so now than when they were in their heyday back in the late sixties through the early eighties. And that’s why I chose this song, “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd.

“Comfortably Numb” was composed by English rock band Pink Floyd’s guitarist David Gilmour, and the lyrics were written by the band’s bassist Roger Waters. It was a track from Pink Floyd’s eleventh album, The Wall, and was released as a single in 1980. The song, arguably one of Pink Floyd’s most recognizable songs, never even made it on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. And yet in 2004, “Comfortably Numb” was ranked number 314 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2017, Billboard ranked the song number four on its list of the greatest Pink Floyd songs. And Gilmour’s guitar solo on the song has been ranked as one of the greatest of all time on a number of online lists.

The Wall was a concept album about an embittered and alienated rock star named Pink. In “Comfortably Numb,” Pink is medicated by a doctor so he can perform for a show. Waters said part of the song was about the time he got hepatitis but didn’t know it. Pink Floyd had to do a show that night in Philadelphia, and the doctor Roger saw gave him a sedative to help the pain, thinking it was a stomach disorder. At the show, Roger’s hands were numb “like two toy balloons.” He was unable to focus, but also realized the fans didn’t care because they were so busy screaming, hence “comfortably” numb.

But Walters has also said that the lyrics were about what he felt like as a child when he was sick with a fever. He explained: “I remember having the flu or something, an infection with a temperature of 105 and being delirious. It wasn’t like the hands looked like balloons, but they looked way too big, frightening. A lot of people think those lines are about masturbation. God knows why.”

Here are the Lyrics to “Comfortably Numb.”

Hello? Hello? Hello?

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone at home?
Come on now
I hear you're feeling down
Well I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again
Relax
I'll need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I've got that feeling once again
I can't explain you would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb

Okay
Just a little pinprick
There'll be no more, ah
But you may feel a little sick
Can you stand up?
I do believe it's working, good
That'll keep you going through the show
Come on it's time to go

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb

22 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Hidden Gems

  1. willowdot21 June 26, 2022 / 3:17 am

    Got to love the Floyd, I shared love of their music with my eldest son who is still a huge fan.
    Gilmore also did us all a huge favour by discovering Kate Bush!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nope, Not Pam June 26, 2022 / 3:42 am

    It puts an entirely different slant on the song knowing the reasons behind it

    Liked by 2 people

  3. newepicauthor June 26, 2022 / 7:06 am

    It is almost unbelievable that this song never made the charts. I wrote a post about this for a Thursday Inspiration, but I will not be using it till I get back from my vacation. Nice choice Fandango.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. pensitivity101 June 26, 2022 / 9:14 am

    Love this track, always have. I was converted to Pink Floyd way back in the 70s with Dark Side of The Moon. Great guitar solo on this clip Fandango. I could listen to it all night.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Marleen June 26, 2022 / 12:41 pm

    The album is regularly referenced (perhaps usually without awareness or recollection of the connection) in the general culture. For instance, here:

    Judge Upholds Defamation Suit Against FOX Corp

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marleen June 26, 2022 / 12:42 pm

      Trump Was Told

      Election Worker He Terrorized Was Innocent, Hearings Show

      Liked by 2 people

  6. J-Dub June 26, 2022 / 4:48 pm

    My favorite Pink Floyd song. Thanks for sharing it today.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Marleen June 27, 2022 / 9:58 am

    These guys, along with Genesis and Yes (who I’ve been surprised to find a lot of people haven’t even heard of although I’m aware they’re not as widely enjoyed in the progressive music pantheon) were a favorite to me in late high school — except that I didn’t like the directions Genesis and Yes went in the late seventies and early eighties… such that I was listening to their older stuff and the earliest Jon Anderson with Vangelis. Hey, is “I have become a big Pink Floyd fan” a paraphrase for the name of the song? I again recommend seeing the movie (in a day you can handle something heavy). On Friday, when I heard of all the hits to the First Amendment, I got out a leftover oxy… (no, I didn’t do drugs in high school).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marleen June 27, 2022 / 1:34 pm

      Andreas Vollenweider the best of top 50 songs

      Liked by 2 people

      • Marleen June 27, 2022 / 1:38 pm

        I just copied the link and the caption; not sure if it’s
        ten or rather fifty (per the pictorial on screen) songs.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango June 27, 2022 / 10:18 pm

      I am a fan of Yes, especially their Fragile album.

      Like

      • Marleen July 3, 2022 / 11:01 pm

        The song I like best from that album is South Side of the Sky.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango June 27, 2022 / 10:21 pm

      Oh, the “I have become a big Pink Floyd fan” means relative to the time when the band was very popular. I appreciate and enjoy their music now more than I did when they first released their songs.

      Like

  8. Gr8BigFun June 28, 2022 / 8:33 pm

    Excellent choice Fandango and a true hidden gem in terms of chart success. This song routinely flip-flops with Stairway to Heaven for greatest classic rock song of all time on Toronto’s classic rock radio station.

    Liked by 2 people

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