U is for “Us and Them”

My theme for this year’s A to Z Blogging Challenge is classic rock songs. Each day during the month (except for the first four Sundays, I will post a classic rock song: a video from YouTube, along with a brief bit of background about the song and the recording artist(s).

This is much more difficult than I thought it would be. For every letter of the alphabet there are dozens of fantastic classic rock songs to choose from and picking just one song for each letter is maddening. But this is what I signed up for.

My U song is “Us and Them” from Pink Floyd.

“Us and Them” was a song by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd. It was the second single from their 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon. The music was written by Richard Wright with lyrics by Roger Waters. It is sung by David Gilmour, with harmonies by Wright. The song is 7 minutes and 49 seconds, the longest on the album. It ranked number 72 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart in March 1974, but never made the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Roger Waters lyrics describe the senseless nature of war and the ignorance of modern-day humans who have been taken over by consumerism and materialism. Waters said the significance of the first verse was about going to war, how on the front line we don’t get much chance to communicate with one another, because someone else has decided that we shouldn’t. The second verse was about civil liberties, racism, and color prejudice. The last verse was about passing a tramp in the street and not helping.

Like other songs on the Dark Side of the Moon album, this song contains the ramblings of random voices. Roger Waters made flashcards with questions on them and recorded different people around the studio answering them. He showed one to a weird roadie for another band named Roger The Hat, who got the question “When was the last time you thumped somebody.” His answer made it onto this song, which is the part about giving someone a “short, sharp shock.”

Here are the lyrics to “Us and Them.”

Us (us, us, us, us) and them (them, them, them, them)
And after all we're only ordinary men
And you (you, you, you)
God only knows
It's not what we would choose (choose, choose) to do (to do, to do)
Forward he cried from the rear
And the front rank died
And the general sat
And the lines on the map
Moved from side to side
Black (black, black, black)
And blue (blue, blue)
And who knows which is which and who is who
Up (up, up, up, up)
And down (down, down, down, down)
And in the end it's only round 'n round (round, round, round)
Haven't you heard it's a battle of words
The poster bearer cried
"Listen son", said the man with the gun
There's room for you inside

"I mean, they're not gonna kill ya
So if you give 'em a quick short, sharp, shock
They won't do it again. Dig it?
I mean he get off lightly, 'cause I would've given him a thrashing
I only hit him once! It was only a difference of opinion, but really
I mean good manners don't cost nothing do they, eh?"

Down (down, down, down, down)
And out (out, out, out, out)
It can't be helped that there's a lot of it about
With (with, with, with), without
And who'll deny it's what the fighting's all about?
Out of the way
It's a busy day
I've got things on my mind
For the want of the price
Of tea and a slice
The old man died

Previous 2023 A to Z posts: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T

12 thoughts on “U is for “Us and Them”

  1. newepicauthor April 25, 2023 / 6:29 am

    Great song but it ends so unexpectedly, they should have considered a fade out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 25, 2023 / 6:34 am

      Yeah, I was surprised by that. Maybe that was unique to the video I selected.

      Liked by 1 person

      • newepicauthor April 25, 2023 / 6:43 am

        It has been such a long time since I listened to this classic and I was not sure if the album cut was the same.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marleen April 25, 2023 / 1:18 pm

        It seems like maybe they transitioned, in the show, from that point into another song — so cut off the video clip for YouTube purposes. Good song.

        Liked by 1 person

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