What helped make Pink Floyd:The Wall so unique was the backup vocals. Those vocals turned Another Brick in the Wall into a hit. A royalties claim was filed in 2004 by the school children and teachers involved in the chorus of Pink Floyd's 1979 worldwide hit. Some twenty-five years after they provided the memorable refrain of 'We don't need no education', they are seeking royalties for the song from The Performing Artists' Media Rights Association... not the band.
The song became a worldwide hit and was part of a double album, The Wall. Dave Gilmour, the Pink Floyd guitarist, amassed a 75 million fortune. The school received a 1,000 check. The children were unpaid and anonymous.
Here's more on the claim:
A group of former students at a London comprehensive school are poised to win thousands of pounds in unpaid royalties for singing on Pink Floyd's classic Another Brick In The Wall 25 years ago.
The students from a 1979 progressive music class at Islington Green School secretly recorded vocals after their teacher was approached by the band's management.
Now the 23 former students are suing for overdue session musician royalties, taking advantage of the Copyright Act of 1997 to claim a percentage of the money from broadcasts. A change in the original copyright law means that the former choirboys are entitled to payment as session musicians.
Music teacher Alan Renshaw took the 13- to 14-year-old students out of lessons to the nearby Britannia Recording Studios in Islington to record the song - without the head teachers permission.
With its chorus of 'We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control, no dark sarcasm in the classroom - teachers leave them kids alone,' the song became an anthem for teenagers. The album 'The Wall' sold over 12 million copies.
Mr Renshaw said: 'I viewed it as an interesting sociological thing and also a wonderful opportunity for the kids to work in a live recording studio. We had a week where we practiced around the piano at school, then we recorded it at the studios. I sort of mentioned it to the head teacher, but didn't give her a piece of paper with the lyrics on it.'
When the song was released the Inner London Education Authority called it 'scandalous.' The song was banned in South Africa where it was blamed for inciting riots among students.
Head teacher Margaret Maden banned the children from appearing on Top Of The Pops or in newspapers and refused to let the band make a video of them singing it.
Mr Renshaw, who emigrated to Sydney, Australia shortly after the song reached #1, said: 'Afterwards I looked at the words again and realized ... well! But the parents said it was great and the children loved doing it. Margaret was very good about it. She absorbed most of the politics and I didn't get too badly told off.'
Islington Green's current headmaster, Trevor Averre-Beeson, has a platinum record of the song, and the school got a check for 1,000. But Mr Renshaw said: 'At the time we didn't think of it in terms of money, more of the experience.'
Ms Maden, 62, now a professor at Keele, said: 'Alan Renshaw was a seriously good if somewhat anarchic music teacher. I was only told about it after the event, which didn't please me. But on balance, it was part of a very rich musical education.'
Peter Thorpe, who sang on the single, told friends: 'We were just taken to the studios and it was great fun. I didn't realize royalties were owed and I'm very glad to be in a position to claim them.'
1) When the band sang the song on Britain's 'Top of the Pops,' and when 'The Wall' was made into a music video, something was missing. The kids were left out in the cold, replaced by students from a local drama school who lip-synched the lines.
2) The 1,000-pound donation the school received for its music program is equivalent to about 2,000 U.S. dollars.
3) And the singing school kids? Well, they got a copy of the album and tickets to a Pink Floyd concert, and not a penny in compensation -- until now. Maybe.
*** Each of the now 30-somethings could come into some cash, though not much. While it may not make them rich, the world will know the one-hit wonders backing up the band behind 'The Wall.'
To the children: 'All in all, you're just another brick in the wall.'