Song by UK band Pink Floyd
1977 song by Pink Floyd
|“Pigs on the Wing”|
Promotional French single, “Pigs on the Wing” backed with an edit of “Sheep”
|Published||Pink Floyd Music Publishers|
“Pigs on the Wing” is a two-part song by UK band Pink Floyd from their 1977 concept album Animals, opening and closing the album. According to various interviews, it was written by Roger Waters as a declaration of love to his new wife Carolyne Christie. The song is significantly different from the other three songs on the album, “Dogs,” “Pigs” and “Sheep,” in that the other songs are dark, whereas this one is lighter-themed, as well as also being much shorter in duration, at under a minute and a half while the others are all at least 10 minutes in length.
The title is a reference to the figure of speech “when pigs fly” and an image of a flying pig appears on the album cover and was subsequently used by Pink Floyd in their live concerts.
The song is divided into two parts, which are the first and last tracks of the album. Both are in stark contrast to the album’s middle three songs. Without the inclusion of this track on Animals, Waters thought the album “would have just been a kind of scream of rage.”
According to Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, and confirmed by Waters, it is a love song directed towards Waters’ new wife at the time, Carolyne. She was really the only one of Waters’ friends Mason had ever met who could hold her own in an argument with Waters. According to Mason, someone had to be very good with semantics to win an argument against Waters. Waters wrote the song because that is what he had been looking for all along: someone who could stand up to him, an equal.
A special version of the song was made for the 8-track cartridge release. The 8-track format featured a loop-play function where the end of the recording looped back to the beginning, allowing an album to play continuously without having to turn over the cartridge. To exploit this feature, the special 8-track version of the song linked part 2 and part 1 with a guitar solo, performed by Snowy White, who would later play the guitar solo in live performances on the 1977 In the Flesh Tour. The complete version of the song, including the instrumental bridge, was re-released on White’s Goldtop compilation album in 1995.
In a review for Animals, Brice Ezell of Consequence of Sound described “Pigs on the Wing (Part One)” as “a brief acoustic framing device. Its major key signature is a clear contrast to the frequently sinister riffs that form the landscape of “Dogs,” “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” and “Sheep.” “ Ezell would describe “Part Two” as “a reminder that humans find ways to stick together even amidst the turmoil of a cravenly capitalist world.”