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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) When The Wind Blows album cover
2.61 | 32 ratings | 5 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. When The Wind Blows (peformed by David Bowie) (3:35)
2. Facts And Figures (peformed by Hugh Cornwell) (4:19)
3. The Brazilian (performed by Genesis) (4:51)
4. What Have They Done (performed by Squeeze) (3:39)
5. The Shuffle (peformed by Paul Hardcastle) (4:16)


6. The Russian Missile (0:10)
7. Towers Of Faith (7:00)
8. Hilda's Dream (1:36)
9. The American Bomber (0:07)
10. The Anderson Shelter (1:13)
11. The British Submarine (0:14)
12. The Attack (2:53)
13. The Fall Out (2:04)
14. Hilda's Hair (4:20)
15. Folded Flags (4:51)

Line-up / Musicians

Roger Waters And The Bleeding Heart Band:
- Roger Waters / vocals on "Towers Of Faith" and "Folded Flags"
- Matt Irving, Nick Glenny-Smith / keyboards
- Jay Stapley / electric guitar
- John Linwood / Linn programming
- Freddie Krc / drums
- Mel Collins / saxophone
- John Gordon / bass
- Clare Torry / vocals on "Towers Of Faith"
- Paul Carrack / vocals on "Folded Flags"
- James Russel, David Dundas, Matt Irving / actors

Releases information

CD: Virgin CDV 2406

Thanks to Third Eye for the addition
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(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (22%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cluster One
1 stars 1.5 stars really

The movie "When The Wind Blows" is centred around an old couple's journey through an oncoming and then actual nuclear holocaust. It is quite humourous and telling, in that dry English sort of way. As expected, a lot of the 'music' included on the soundtrack (too much in fact) is just sound effects and musical background interludes. There are really only 3 actual Waters "songs" per se, so I'll concentrate on just reviewing these.

Side Two is the Waters part of the soundtrack and what is of interest to us here. 'Towers of Faith' is a good little tune, similar sounding to that found on "Amused To Death". WATERS gives a powerful vocal and lyrical performance and seems to speak or even narrate the song's lyrics rather than 'sing' them. Interestingly enough, Clare Torry (of Great Gig vocal fame) makes a cameo appearance on this song singing backup. Good guitar and sax work make this probably the highlight of the album.

'Hilda's Dream' is an instrumental acoustic guitar piece that sounds a lot like 'Brain Damage' (from Dark Side, of course) without being a complete copy of said tune.

'Folded Flags' is the only other worthwhile tune off the soundtrack. It has the same 'Brain Damage' guitar intro heard earlier. Paul Carrack sings some of the vocals. This song reminds me of 'The Tide is Turning', the last song on "Radio K.A.O.S."

Ignore Side One of this movie soundtrack, as it contains primarily completely forgettable pop songs. It does however have GENESIS' somewhat decent instrumental 'The Brazilian' off of their not-so-decent "Invisible Touch" album. All in all, this soundtrack is quite poor, except for the few WATERS tunes mentioned above. For collectors only.

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The animated film When The Wind Blows is a desperately bleak, but darkly whimsical, tale of an old couple coming to terms - or rather, failing to come to terms - with a nuclear war, written by Raymond Briggs who is best remembered for writing The Snowman. There are only 2 characters - husband and wife - voiced by Peggy Ashcroft and John Mills who build a shelter by propping a door against a wall, all done in accordance with the pitiful instructions provided by their government. It is a brilliant film, but a difficult one.

This, the soundtrack album to the film, is defined in PA under the name of Roger Waters who was commissioned to provide the score, presumably because the subject matter is right up his street, but the first 5 tracks were nothing to do with him, nor indeed had 4 of them anything to do with the film itself - the title track, sung by David Bowie, was played out over the film's end credits, but the others do not appear at all! It doesn't help that none of these songs are particularly memorable. Track 6 onwards represents Roger's material, but sadly most of it is musical sound collages designed to complement specific passages in the film. Such are Attack and Fallout which are his musical interpretations of the nuclear attack and its consequences: neither make much sense outside of the context of the film.

Aside from one or two very short sound effects tracks, we are left with just 2 songs. Towers Of Faith is a fairly typical late period slow-paced Waters song, very wordy ("oh the lonely boys in their towers of faith") and performed in his stylised impassioned sing-speak. Clare 'Great Gig In The Sky' Torry assists with the vocals and Jay Stapley provides some nice guitar work. The whole effect reminds me of his recent Leaving Beirut song. For Hilda's Dream - a short acoustic guitar passage backed by some gentle strings - we find Roger re-hashing an old tune, in this case the intro to Brain Damage. He later returns to the same theme and expands it into the full song Folded Flags, another instantly identifiable Roger Waters post- Pink Floyd song, complete with his trade-mark melancholy and bleak outlook. The main song is sung quietly to a mainly acoustic guitar backing, but the full band jumps in halfway through before sinking back to end quietly and sombrely.

So, we have 2 good Waters songs and a lot of forgettable filler. Fans and collectors will want those songs, so I shall award the album 2 stars, but only just.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record (movie soundtrack) has a long & dramatic side evoking what happens to an old couple during a nuclear explosion: it is often very poignant, dramatic and sad! It is one of the most experimental part of Waters' solo career: the style is comparable to the tracks on the Radio KAOS album; Clare Torry sings here as a guest vocalist. The bit before the nuclear explosion is particularly dramatic and scary, with the repetitive "The cake will be burned!". Surprisingly, the bit in the beginning of the aftermath is pretty funny: for instance, the imitations of tubular bells are more celestial than funeral: it may make you think that everybody is overkilled and directly sent to Heaven; this happy sequence does not last for a long time: the dramatic & barely bearable bits continue then: Mel Collins plays a VERY melancholic sax solo when the woman says: "My hair is coming out!", during the increase of radioactivity levels: that's a very sad piece of progressive bit to hear: it makes you really want to cure the woman.

There are a couples of Clapton-esque guitar solos. Mel Collins plays a couples of very good & long sax solo: I think the addition of some electric guitars are sometimes misplaced and kill the state of unease & drama involved. Globally Waters is a bit less subtle than usual here regarding his typical special effects, as reveal for instance the artificially made birds sounds. The part when Waters sings "...Bring down the curtain, this show must close..." exactly sounds like a part on his "Amused to death" track.

The other side is made of short & easy listen tracks, quite accessible and catchy: there is a song with David Bowie on the lead vocals. "The Brazilian" is a modern instrumental Genesis' song full of electronic drums. Some tracks slightly remind me the progressive rock band It Bites. The last track has a rhythmic & melodic piano a la Shakatak.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic Teams
2 stars I never saw the animated film When the Wind Blows, but its release was during the latter stages of the Cold War when nuclear holocaust seemed a real possibility (and still is to this day, but has been mostly forgotten). This is the soundtrack to that film. Side one featured songs by David Bowie, Hugh Cornwell, Genesis, Squeeze, and Paul Hardcastle. Side two was entirely by Roger Waters and the Bleeding Heart Band.

The Waters material is done quite well. However, like most soundtracks, it has a good deal of sound effects and little in the way of interesting music. After all, it's intended purpose was as a backdrop for video and wasn't supposed to stand on its own, although some of side two is fairly well done. The most interesting parts are those in which the characters voices are present, especially after the nuclear event occurs and the aftereffects of radiation sickness. It is really saddening and touching to hear.

Side one is chiefly pop songs, with the exception of the odd The Brazilian instrumental by Genesis (off their Invisible Touch album). This soundtrack is really for collectors only and is of limited interest to the progressive rock community. Waters fans should seek out. It might be of interest to historians studying social responses to the nuclear arms debate. Two stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I really liked the movie that I've watched in an obscure small cinema that's probably the only one which played it in my whole country. It was sponsored (or produced) by Greenpeace and the soundtrack appeared interesting for two reasons: first of all it was the first soundtrack made by Roger Waters after The Body, then the presence of Bowie, Genesis and Squeeze.

I won't speak much about the movie, that's a cartoon telling the death of two very nice characters initially survived to the Bomb (it's 1986, the top of Reagan's star wars). Let's jump directly to the music.

The opener and title track is a typical Bowie's song of the 80s. Quite good in these musically speaking bad years. Between Blue Jean and Underground but darker.

The Hugh Cornwell's song is nothing special, but the following instrumental from Genesis is very good. I'm everything but a Genesis fan and less of all of their 80s, but this instrumental demonstrates that I'm sometimes wrong respect to them. The Brazilian is an excellent piece of music.

The Squeeze's song is 80s pop. Far from the British glam of the 70s, it sounds good for Disney Channel.

Paul Hardcastle places an unexpectedly good fusion tune. A bit pop-oriented maybe, but very pleasant. The artist who I would have given less credit is the one who gave more effort to the A side of the album.

Now Waters:

Few seconds of gimmicks with a title: "The Russian Missile".

"The Tower Of Faith" featuring "Gig int the Sky's" Clare Torry sounds very close to Radio K.A.O.S, but it has the country-rock feeling that sometimes appears in his latest songs. A sort of Dylan's influence. Not Roger's top but a good song at the level of those on Radio K.A.O.S.

"Hilda's Dream" is a minute of finger picking guitar, similar to the intro of Brain Damage, as most of the slow-finger picking pieces are. Not bad.

"The American Bomb" is just a bomb, from this track to onward there are just pieces of soundtrack. If you are addicted to The Wall or The Final Cut, they are not bad. In particular, I like "The Attack", both the first chaotic minute and the melodic conclusion.

"The Fallout" and "Hilda's Hair" are proper songs. Short instrumentals but dark and dramatic, specially the second which features a great Mel Collins. Later the sax is replaced by guitars. This is the most floydian song of the album and a good reason to have it.

The closer, "Folded Flags" reprises the finger picking of Hilda's Dream but with lyrics. When I listened to it for the first time, at the end of the movie it made me think to "Sea Shell and Stone", but effectively is more similar to "The Gunner's Dream" or "The Tide Is Turning": totally Waters! Great sax solo by Mel.

A must have for Waters fans, quite an appendix to Radio K.A.O.S., good enough for anybody else, taking into account that's a soundtrack.

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