Learning to Fly (1987) – Pink Floyd

Learning to Fly is my joint favourite Pink Floyd song and the second to appear after Comfortably Numb. I never grow tired of hearing it because it always expands my senses. To me the experience is cognizant to a magical trip that can take you anywhere in the world. You don’t need (insert drug of choice here) to fly; you can fly with this song. They could have bludgeoned the listener with the magnificent chorus, instead they chose a minimalist route. This is atmospheric rock at its finest.

Learning to Fly was the first single from the band’s thirteenth studio album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. It reached number 70 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 1 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart in 1987.

[Verse 1]
Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone, my senses reel
A fatal attraction is holding me fast
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

[Chorus]
Can’t keep my eyes from the circling sky
Tongue-tied and twisted
Just an earthbound misfit, I

[Verse 2]
Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought, I thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladen, empty and turned to stone

[Pre-Chorus 1]
A soul in tension that’s learning to fly
Condition grounded, but determined to try

I always heard ‘A soul in tension that’s learning to fly‘ as ‘My sole intention is learning to fly‘. Lucky, I have Genius Lyrics just a click away.
The song was primarily written by David Gilmour, who developed the music from a 1986 demo by Jon Carin, while the lyrics were written by Anthony Moore. The inspiration for the lyrics came about as Gilmour was learning to fly airplanes at the time of the recording, often spending time in the air during the mornings before arriving at the studio in the afternoon.

This song is about Gilmour “learning to fly” in the band by himself. “Ribbon of black stretched to the point of no turning back” is all the past animosity, and recordings they made together on a ribbon of recording tape. “Standing alone all my senses reeled” is again Gilmour recording on a reel of tape. And “stretched to the point of no turning back” is also ALL the music David helped Waters write and perform. He’s not going to give that all up now. There’s no turning back. He wants to keep going and performing under Pink Floyd.

Anonymous at lyric interpretations

References:
1. Learning to Fly (Pink Floyd song) – Wikipedia

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music
6 comments on “Learning to Fly (1987) – Pink Floyd
  1. kristianw84 says:

    Learning to Fly is one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs, too!

  2. Anything by Pink Floyd is alright by me. 🙂

  3. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Dang it…I read this last night and was about to comment when I got pulled away… Two Learning to Fly songs! This one is quite different though. I like this of course…this was after Waters left and they still had it.

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