The 1979 Pink Floyd song “Run Like Hell” represented a number of lasts — it is the last original composition written by both David Gilmour and Roger Waters and the last song ever recorded by all four members of the classic ’70s-era band lineup together on the same song. It comes from the group’s classic, chart-topping album, The Wall.
Written from the perspective of a rock star hallucinating that he’s a fascist dictator turning a concert audience into a mob, the song’s driving rhythm and memorable chiming, reverb guitars are what most listeners remember.
The song charted in multiple countries as a single in 1980, yet reached only #53 in the US. But it has enduring appeal and relevance. In 2017, Billboard ranked it #2 on the list of Pink Floyd’s 50 greatest songs.
The song was written in the key of D, with a quick tempo of 123 bpm, or just slightly faster than a good modern walking tempo.
In 1990, Waters staged a production of The Wall in Berlin to celebrate the destruction of the Berlin Wall. The 200,000 people attendees cheered wildly when he played this. On Waters’ 2010-13 tour of The Wall, the song was transposed a whole step down, to C, leading to speculation that Waters could no longer sing the high notes. Gilmour, while rocking hard in Dad jeans, also shows some vocal strain in this performance from 1995.
It’s a great song by a legendary band. The live intro adds some great guitar effects.