Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hey You

Hey You 4:40
     (written by Roger Waters)

Hey you
Out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old
Can you feel me?
Hey you
Standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles
Can you feel me?
Hey you
Don't help them to bury the light
Don't give in without a fight

Hey you
Out there on your own
Sitting naked by the phone
Would you touch me?
Hey you
With your ear against the wall
Waiting for someone to call out
Would you touch me?
Hey you
Would you help me to carry the stone
Open your heart, I'm coming home

But it was only fantasy
The wall was too high, as you can see
No matter how he tried, he could not break free
And the worms ate into his brain

Hey you
Out there on the road
Always doing what you're told
Can ya help me?
Hey you
Out there beyond the wall
Breaking bottles in the hall
Can ya help me?
Hey you!
Don't tell me there's no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall

At this point in the narrative, the character remains locked inside his hotel room through the end of side three. However, his actual physical location is unimportant, because his experiences all take place behind his wall, deep in the recesses of his mind. The song itself could be considered as Pink's plea to past loves and friends not to remain distant; but in reality it is much more than that. The lyrics do not directly relate to the character at all, but seem to be a passionate plea for real human contact between people, for the courage necessary to reach out to someone through their defensive walls and make a connection with them. It is a wish for harmony and brotherhood — would you help me to carry the stone? Open your heart... — and one of the most beautiful songs Roger has composed. The image of the 'stone' was first mentioned in the lyrics to the album More in a somewhat different context, and explored further in Animals in a context that relates more directly to The Wall. The stone seems to be a symbol of the burden of living and struggling in the modern world, and in Roger's case, the effort of bringing a message of compassion in a world of unrestricted market forces — a lone voice crying out in the darkness.

Roger Waters: "Hey You is a cry to the rest of the world, you know saying hey, this isn't right; but it's also, it takes a narrative look at it, when it goes. Dave sings the first two verses of it and then there's an instrumental passage and then there's a bit that goes 'but it was only fantasy' which I sing, which is a narration of the thing. 'The wall was too high as you can see, no matter how he tried he could not break free, and the worms ate into his brain.' The worms. That's the first reference to worms... the worms have a lot less to do with the piece than they did a year ago; a year ago they were very much a part of it, if you like they were my symbolic representation of decay. Because the basic idea the whole thing really is that if you isolate yourself you decay." 

Roger Waters:  "[Once the character is completely bricked in, he then] becomes susceptible to the worms. The worms are symbols of negative forces within ourselves, decay. The worms can only get at us because there isn't any light or whatever in our lives." [Schaffner 226]  "So at the end of Hey You he makes this cry for help, but it's too late... he's only singing it to himself, you know, it's no good crying for help if you're sitting in the room all on your own, and only saying it to yourself. All of us I'm sure from time to time have formed sentences in our minds that we would like to say to someone else but we don't say it, you know, well, that's no use, that doesn't help anybody, that's just a game that you're playing with yourself."

So the lyrics blend social commentary and character narrative — but they also have an important meaning in the context of the stage show as well. At this point, the intermission has just finished, and this is the first song sung from behind the fully completed wall. Certain lyrics relate directly to this situation (Hey you, standing in the aisles...), which probably caused a certain amount of surprised discomfort in the audience. The harsh reality of staring at a huge, featureless wall was mitigated to some extant by the projection of Gerald Scarfe animation on the wall itself throughout the second half.

Disc One
In the Flesh?
Thin Ice, The
Another Brick in the Wall part 1
Happiest Days of Our Lives, The
Another Brick in the Wall part 2
Goodbye Blue Sky
Empty Spaces
Young Lust
One of My Turns
Don't Leave Me Now
Another Brick in the Wall part 3
Goodbye Cruel World
Disc Two
Hey You
Is There Anybody Out There?
Nobody Home
Bring the Boys Back Home
Comfortably Numb
Show Must Go On, The
In the Flesh
Run Like Hell
Waiting for the Worms
Trial, The
Outside the Wall


  1. Another song that relates the concept of the stone to The Wall is 'Sysyphus', from Ummagumma. Although it has no vocals, the title says everything ;)

  2. What I feel when I listen this song:
    God (as maybe a superior entity from outer space) starts talking to me, human son, saying the darkness of society is making the light of spiritual heart suffer and cry.
    I feel alone as I've awaken, but they've thrown me outside the wall (hierarchical absolutist capitalism) throwing bottles to the wall, as I'm alone but need to live in society. The light is fading and they urge us to fight, as they (Nibiru, for example) are not far from home as they are coming towards Earth.
    I feel this song related to "wish you were here".
    Anyway, this time the wall wasn't high enough and we're starting to change the world. the dream of this song was listened and comprehended by few, but acted in consequence and here we are.
    Sergio Entrena