What does that song mean?

When the Wall Came Tumblin' Down

Posted Nov 23rd 2014, 19:07 by Penguin Pete

When the Wall Came Tumblin' Down

Twenty-five years ago this month, the infamous Berlin Wall was finally torn down. And you'd better believe, the rock stars showed up. The Berlin Wall (Wiki link for you historically deprived people out there) was a contentious social issue and music makers built whole songs around the iconic symbol of a divided world.

Recently, the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's tumble were comparatively subdued...

That's small beans compared to the blowout they had at the Brandenburg Gate when the big knock-down first happened. For instance, Crosby, Stills & Nash performed their hit "Chippin' Away"...

Not to be outdone, David Hasslehoff showed up in a jacket he stole from Doctor Who's party closet to perform "Looking for Freedom" live...

Yeah, he got the crowd singing along. Germans love David Hasslehoff.

Jesus Jones (remember them?) were so in awe of the event that they made a song about just watching the event on TV...

But the show-stopper had to be Roger Waters. See, the Pink Floyd frontman had earlier sworn never to again perform The Wall live until the Berlin barrier was removed. So it came down and everybody turned to him all expectantly "Well?" You can't go back on your word like that, so Rogers threw a huge concert (because Pink Floyd never does anything small) at the site complete with guest stars Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Bryan Adams, Sinéad O'Connor, Cyndi Lauper, Thomas Dolby, Joni Mitchell, Marianne Faithfull, Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Van Morrison. To perform songs from The Wall. They say the echoes are still bouncing around over there.

Now, 25 years later, perhaps the meaning of this event is lost on present generations. The wall was originally constructed to stop refugees from fleeing the Eastern side of Germany, through Berlin, to escape the Communist control. After the wall was erected and guarded, 136 people tried to get through, under, or over that wall and got killed trying. Many more succeeded, in daring stunts involving everything from a hot air balloon to simply crashing armored vehicles through the checkpoint. It became a political target and symbol, a way to antagonize the Soviet Union. It became a great place for US Presidents to come make speeches decrying the gross injustice of Communism.

The fall of the Berlin Wall was a very great thing, indeed. The fall of the Soviet Union was probably for the better of everyone concerned. But let us not forget that the Cold War was about not one, but two greedy empires who both wanted to control the world. After the fight was won, one global superpower was left standing - and let it be noted that not everybody is happy with it.

Is the devil you don't know always better than the devil you do? History will tell, but by the time it makes up its mind, enough time will have passed that the fresh lessons will be forgotten. And that is how it repeats.


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