Pink Floyd – “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Pink Floyd’s “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” isn’t just a catchy tune. This song from their 1977 album, Animals, takes a deep dig at the societal bigwigs of that era. Using pigs as a metaphor, the band paints a vivid picture of greed, power, and hypocrisy. Each verse takes a shot at a different “pig” or societal figure. The underlying theme? The band’s disdain for those who flaunt power while masking their true intentions. It’s a commentary on corruption, societal decadence, and the nature of power. In essence, Pink Floyd questions the authenticity of influential people and calls them out for their charades.

Got an itch to know more about this song? Well, stick around. We’ve got all the juicy details lined up for you, from lyrics to hidden meanings.

“Pigs (Three Different Ones)” Lyrics Meaning

Starting with the lines “Big man, pig man, Ha, ha, charade you are,” Pink Floyd dives straight into their criticism. They’re talking about those in positions of power or influence who put on a show, pretending to be something they’re not. The term “charade” stands out, suggesting that these people are putting on an act, and the band is all too aware of it.

The following lines “You well heeled big wheel” again point to individuals who are wealthy and influential. The band mocks them, stating that when they pretend to be heartfelt, it comes off as a joke.

The mention of the “pig bin” and “pig stain on your fat chin” provides imagery of gluttony and excess, suggesting that these figures are indulging themselves while others might be suffering.

The line “Bus stop rat bag” and the subsequent lines target another individual or perhaps a different facet of society, highlighting the violence and cold-hearted nature of these entities.

Lastly, the mention of “Hey you, Whitehouse” is a direct call-out. It’s widely believed that Pink Floyd refers to Mary Whitehouse, a conservative British activist known for her strong stances against what she considered declining moral standards in the media. The band critiques her for trying to suppress emotions and expressions, attempting to “keep it all on the inside.”

The Story Behind “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”

Pink Floyd’s Animals album, released in 1977, was heavily influenced by George Orwell’s allegorical novel, Animal Farm. The album painted a grim picture of a society divided by class and power, and “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” was a vital piece in that societal jigsaw puzzle. At the heart of this song and the entire album is a critique of capitalism, societal hierarchy, and the corrupt individuals who stand at the top.

During the mid-70s, the members of Pink Floyd, especially Roger Waters, were becoming more outspoken and critical about the society they lived in. Waters penned most of the lyrics for this album, and his frustration and disdain for certain societal figures are evident. The inclusion of Mary Whitehouse in the song demonstrates the band’s desire to push back against those they felt were repressive or hypocritical.

Moreover, the socio-political landscape of the 70s, marred with economic downturns, political scandals, and an overarching sense of distrust towards the establishment, provided a fertile ground for such a critique. Having previously delved into personal and existential themes, Pink Floyd turned their gaze outward, examining the society that shaped them.

“Pigs (Three Different Ones)” was a reaction, a retort, and a reflection of the turbulent times the band found themselves in. Through their music, they channeled the collective angst and skepticism of a generation.

Overall, the song masterfully uses metaphor and direct references to express its disdain for certain figures and aspects of society, showcasing Pink Floyd’s signature blend of deep commentary and musical artistry.