One Song/Three Versions – Brain Damage – Pink Floyd

The lunatic is on the grass. 
The lunatic is on the grass. 
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs. 
Got to keep the loonies on the path. 

The lunatic is in the hall. 
The lunatics are in my hall. 
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor 
And every day the paper boy brings more. 

“Brain Damage” is the penultimate song on Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon. Like everything Floyd, it is both about Syd Barrett and at the same time, fairly universal. This album has been widely covered and so I thought I’d highlight a few different versions of this song. Firstly, the original:

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon 
And if there is no room upon the hill 
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too 
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon. 

The lunatic is in my head. 
The lunatic is in my head 
You raise the blade, you make the change 
You re-arrange me ’til I’m sane. 
You lock the door 
And throw away the key 
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me. 

Bim Skala Bim was a pretty popular Boston-based ska-punk band of the ’80’s and ’90’s. They were together for close to twenty years and last released an album in 2013. A ska version of “Brain Damage?” Of course:

By now you’re probably saying to yourself, “What next? A bluegrass version?” From the wildly eclectic city of Austin, Texas, the Austin Lounge Lizards. Seem crazy? Well, what’s the song about?:

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear 
You shout and no one seems to hear. 
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes 
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

8 thoughts on “One Song/Three Versions – Brain Damage – Pink Floyd

  1. Great fun. There is also the Easy Star All-Stars version on ‘Dub Side of the Moon’, the Flaming Lips & Stardeath and White Dwarfs interpretation, and perhaps my favourite, the lullaby rendition on ‘Rockaby Baby’ Pink Floyd CD.

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    1. I’ve heard ‘Dub,’ and oddly, I saw Flaming Lips do ‘Dark Side’ on cable TV at an outdoor festival. Everybody was kicking balls around and nobody seemed to much be paying attention. But I kinda dug it.

      The other ones I haven’t heard and will definitely check out. And of course, Phish occasionally does the whole thing.

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    2. Ha! I listened to all these versions but confess I was completely unaware of the Rockabye Baby version! What better way to rock a kid to sleep than to play him an album about insanity, greed and quiet English desperation? Thanks for the find!

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  2. Those covers are just bonkers! Unfortunately, I’m in a subdued and sober mood today – more in tune with the Rockabye Baby version than the ska or bluegrass. Perhaps I’ll appreciate them more when I’ve shaken off my winter sniffle and the cold grey clouds of February have gone away. (Can’t find the emoji for ‘winter sniffle’… There must be one, surely.)

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  3. Yes, and I must say that when I do “three versions” posts, it’s more in the spirit of the cleverness of the artistes as opposed to “these are even better!” Sometimes they are, sometimes not so much. I think that bands throw songs into their personal blender and come up with a sound almost despite themselves. I mean, no matter how they try, any song The Who cover is unmistakably them.

    We here in New England have not had too terrible a winter. 2014 -2015, 110 inches! This winter? Year to date, maybe a third of that. That, and the fact I have a plow guy visit every time it snows brightens my mood immeasurably. Sorry to hear about the sniffles. Vitamin C and even more music can’t hurt. Not to mention chicken soup.

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