Lyrics

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 you 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 you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall
Breaking bottles in the hall
Can you help me?
Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall

Writer/s: WATERS, ROGER/GILMOUR, DAVID JON
Publisher: Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., IMAGEM U.S. LLC

Pink Floyd – Hey you – The meaning

 Hey you out there in the cold
Getting lonely getting old
Can you feel me? 

Hey You starts the second CD of The Wall, directly after Pink realizes that his wall of isolation he has built around himself is complete. Hey You is Pink trying to call out to the outside world but realizing that his communication has been cut. In this first lines he asks for support from lonely people who are living in a cold world, a state ironically paralleling his own.

 Hey you standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles
Can you feel me? 

Pink is refering to those who have just realized like him that they are alone in the world, becoming cynical with their fading smiles.

 Hey you don’t help them to bury the light
Don’t give in without a fight 

Bury the light of hope. The hope that things can be under the good and warm light of the human closeness. This emotion is  so important that Pink don’t want to give up. And don’t want that people outside the wall will give up. Because if people give up he is lost with is demons and fears.

This song was not used in the movie The Wall. It was edited out because Roger Waters felt that the lyrics didn’t really fit chronologically with the story.

 Hey you out there on your own
Sitting naked by the phone
Would you touch me? 

Both lines are implicative of Pink’s personal predicament, recalling his earlier attempts to phone his adulterous wife and, even now, ostensibly sitting with his own ear to the wall “waiting for someone to call out” and rescue him.

Roger Waters explained the meaning of this song and the relation with the ex wife to Mojo Magazine:

“It’s about the break-up of my first marriage, all that misery and pain and being out on the road when the woman declares over the phone that she’s fallen in love with somebody else. It’s a complete disaster, especially if you’re someone like I was. I was flotsam on the turgid seas of women’s power (laughs). Hopeless, really, I could do nothing but go fetal and weep. But the song is also partly an attempt to make connections with other people, to say that maybe if we act in consort, some of the bad feelings will go away. In community, there is comfort. The line, ‘Hey you, out there beyond the wall/ Breaking bottles in the hall’- that is an exhortation to come closer where I live, so we can help each other.”

 Hey you with you ear against the wall
Waiting for someone to call out
Would you touch me? 

Might refer to those who notices his wall but won’t do anything without him explicitly asking them.
Alternatively talking about people just like him once again, he basically says – if you too have a wall and want to get out, let’s get together under the same wall.

Like Comfortably NumbDavid Gilmour and Roger Waters share lead vocals on this track.

 Hey you, would you help me to carry the stone?
Open your heart, I’m coming home 

Together, they could help him to “carry the stone”, a popular symbol of overwhelming burdens since the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphus.

But they prefer to lean against the wall and stand still, doing as they are told and ignoring the narrator’s cry for help.

It’s the allusion to building The Wall as in; people helping him to isolate himself more and more.

Open your heart, I’m coming home. Once again asking those outside the wall to do what he never could.

 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 

All this talk of not giving in and coming home and opening his heart up to this point in the song was just that. Pink is way too secluded and inclosed inside his wall to ‘break free’. All his pondering and second thoughts are for nothing.

Pink separates himself too far from society and can’t seem to reconnect. He needs someone to help him and he regrets his attempt to isolate himself from the world.

Worms are a symbol for decay throughout the album. More specifically, mental decay. This particular line is saying that since Pink couldn’t escape from his isolation behind a figurative wall, mental decay began to set in. Thus, the worms “ate into his brain”.

The warms are the start of the mental illness.

 Hey you, out there on the road
Always doing what you’re told
Can you help me? 

This passage possibly connects to the citizens of Earth who are being dictated by the media. They don’t know the truth but they seek answers.

Further – he’s referring to all kinds of control, not only by the media, but by governments, systems of thought, philosophies, etc.

 Hey you, out there beyond the wall
Breaking bottles in the hall
Can you help me? 

The ones who are breaking bottles in the hall are the ones who want attention, and Pink’s attention is drawn to them.

He seeks help from anyone or anything to bring him back into the society he wanted to leave.

At The Wall concerts (where a wall was constructed on stage dividing the band from the audience), this was the first song from behind the completed wall.

 Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall. 

He seems to be attempting to reassure himself that there is still hope- he’s desperately asking for anyone out there to tell him that he can come back from behind the wall.

There is a bit of genuine light in Pink’s final statement, the repetition of which can be interpreted as foreshadowing the eventual fate of the wall itself.

Pink concludes – as if trying to win points with some cosmic judge – that “together we stand, divided we fall,” when, if anything, Pink has lived most of his life in the belief that together we fall and alone we stand…it’s the very basis of his wall. While the “we” most readily applies to humanity in general, one could also apply the sentiment to the bricks themselves – divided they (the bricks) fall when together we (humanity) stand.

Essentially, Pink has stumbled upon the solution to his problem, that key to tearing down his wall, though its utterance at this moment is arguably more an attempt to fool himself (or Life or God or Fate) of something that he won’t fully realize until the end of the album.

 

Conclusion

This song stands out lyrically from the rest of the album, as the narrator is not exclusively Pink but also I have heard it to be sort of Waters call out to the audience/listener (you). This could be a possible reason that the song was not added to the story line in The Wall movie.

Leave a comment or a different vision of the meaning of this song if you want. I leave you with the video of the Pulse version.

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