Pink Floyd

Speak to Me/Breathe

Composed by David Gilmour / Nick Mason / Roger Waters / Richard Wright

Song Review by

"Breathe" is the first vocal track on Pink Floyd's massively successful 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon, but it was given its first exposure in a vastly different form more than two years before that record was released. In 1970, Pink Floyd bass player Roger Waters teamed with composer Ron Geesin to write the music for The Body, a feature film based on Anthony Smith's 1968 book. Among the songs Waters wrote and performed for the score was "Breathe," a ballad played on acoustic guitar with lyrics that decried corporate anti-environmentalism, a theme the composer would explore more fully on Pink Floyd's 1977 album Animals. Waters and Geesin issued a recording of the song on the LP Music From the Body. When Pink Floyd was preparing an album initially called Eclipse in 1972, determining that it would be a concept album about the difficulties of modern life, Waters brought in "Breathe," which was then drastically rewritten, with bandmembers David Gilmour and Rick Wright added to the songwriting credits (though the lyrics, like all of the words on The Dark Side of the Moon, were by Waters). The new "Breathe" didn't retain much more of the original version than its opening line, "Breathe, breathe in the air." Now, it had a stately melody, its lyrics sung by Gilmour and Wright in the same kind of harmony they had employed on 1971's "Echoes" voicing philosophical words of encouragement and caution. There was also a reprise of the song that occurred at the end of the following track, "Time," containing a religious connotation. The Dark Side of the Moon was released in the late winter of 1973; by April it had become Pink Floyd's first number one album. It eventually became the longest charting album in American history and one of the best-selling albums of the 20th century. (On some reissues of the record, "Breathe" has been listed as "Breath in the Air.") Pink Floyd played "Breathe" as part of its performances of material from The Dark Side of the Moon during the early '70s. In 1994, during the tour promoting The Division Bell, the song was reintroduced as part of a complete performance of The Dark Side of the Moon, and it was used on the subsequent live album Pulse (1995).

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Dark Side of the Moon 1973 Capitol 0:00
Dark Side of the Moon: Trance Remix