Roger Waters’ Self-Defence For ‘Another Brick In The Wall’s Anti-Educational Lyrics

The artists’ activism and political ideologies are very complicated topics to discuss, considering the world’s falling apart because of different perspectives. Some decided to remain silent and focus on their works without getting involved in arguments about the problems in society. In contrast, others used all their power to raise awareness against war, poverty, racism, sexism, and more concerning matters.

Speaking of activism and politics, one must mention Roger Waters. He became one of the most influential artists globally with his talent and speeches about various issues. The Pink Floyd icon was never afraid of expressing his ideas about war, equality, and freedom of speech. Also, Waters’ most famous protest against society, the education system, family, and other structures can be seen in the successful album, ‘The Wall.’

Why Did Roger Waters Defend ‘Another Brick In The Wall?’

Pink Floyd released their eleventh studio album entitled ‘The Wall‘ on November 30, 1979, and the band’s rock opera became a milestone work for progressive rock and the whole music industry. In addition, the record received positive reviews from music critics and their longtime dedicated fans. Moreover, it’s one of the most popular concept albums, hitting the charts and selling millions of copies.

The album reflects a jaded rock star named Pink’s life story, including his childhood, teenage years, and adulthood, while building more and more walls between himself and the other people around him. Every song on the record tells a different moment from his journey, like ‘Another Brick in the Wall,’ about Pink’s childhood traumas.

The song was created as a three-part composition; in the first part, the protagonist begins building a metaphorical wall after his father’s death. Part two focuses on the strict educational system and abusive teachers, and the song ends with Pink dismissing everyone with him. The second part of the song’s lyrics, ‘We don’t need no education/We don’t need no thought control/No dark sarcasm in the classroom/Teacher, leave them kids alone,’ were found very controversial.

Waters received criticism for his words on schools and teachers, which could make young people stay away from them, including children saying those words about education. In one of his previous interviews, the singer defended himself, stating that he thought education was essential in people’s lives. Still, most of them misinterpreted and misunderstood the song. Then, Waters highlighted that he only tried to encourage young people to question and rebel more, not create anti-educational propaganda.

In Waters’ words he said:

“It’s a popular misconception that the song is anti-education. Education is the most important thing in almost any person’s life, in my view. It’s something that we should spend a lot more money on.”

The host’s question read:

“‘Another Brick in the Wall,’ I go straight to the lyrics, to the chorus, the kids sing, ‘We don’t need no education.’ How have you pushed back against that conventional thought that was an anti-education song over the years?”

Waters stated in his interview that:

“Whenever I have a conversation with anybody, whether it’s over a dinner table or something like talking to you, I say, ‘Well, that’s not what it was.’ It always comes up, so it was a satirical piece within the context of a larger narrative. People just misinterpreted it and misunderstood it at the time, but the kids loved it.

I think it’s important for young people to rebel and what could be worse than a generation of young people who accept the status quo and don’t think about it. What I try to encourage is for young people to think about things, and address what’s going on in the society that they live in, try and figure out how they might make it better for their kids. So we can progress as a society.”

You can check out the interview and song below.