Interesting story came up over the long holiday weekend: the 23 kids who sang “We don’t need no education/We don’t need no thought control/No dark sarcasm in the classroom/Teachers leave them kids alone” on Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In the Wall Pt 2,” from the band’s ’79 monster The Wall, are suing for royalties in the U.K. from a fund established by a new copyright law in 1997. The former singing cherubs stand to make a few hundred dollars each as “session musicians.”
According to the CBC,
- Their claim has been hard to establish because the recording session was done in secret. The song’s lyrics were considered scandalous at the time.
At the band’s request, music teacher Alun Renshaw took the children, then students at Islington Green School, to a nearby studio without the permission of the school’s headmistress.
“I viewed it as an interesting sociological thing and also a wonderful opportunity for the kids to work in a live recording studio,” Renshaw, who now lives in Australia, told Britain’s Evening Standard newspaper.
The headmistress later banned the children from appearing on Top of the Pops to sing the song. They were also not allowed to appear in the song’s video.
I went back to my interview with the album and song’s producer Bob Ezrin for his take on the recording.
“There was a lot of fighting, mostly between Dave [Gilmour] and Roger [Waters], although I argued with them both over ‘Another Brick in the Wall.’ It was one verse, one chorus and out. I said ‘this is a hit.’ They said ‘we don’t do hits.’ I said ‘yes you do, this is going to be a single.’ They said ‘fuck you’ and wouldn’t play it.
So that is the same track twice with a drum fill I found and edited between the two of them. We got the kids from the Islington Green School, recorded ten different performances of the second verse and edited it all together. When I played it for Roger, he about flipped he loved it so much.”
The world liked it pretty well also. Please see more of my interview with Ezrin, who was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at this year’s Juno ceremony, and a career overview here.