“High Hopes” is the eleventh and final track from the 1994 Pink Floyd album The Division Bell, composed by guitarist David Gilmour with lyrics by Gilmour and Polly Samson. Its lyrics speak of the things one may have gained and lost in life, written from Gilmour’s autobiographic perspective. Gilmour has said that the song is more about his early days, and leaving his hometown behind, than about the seeds of division supposedly planted in Pink Floyd’s early days.(3)Douglas Adams, a friend of Gilmour, chose the album title from one verse in this song. Live versions are featured on Pink Floyd’s Pulse, as well as Gilmour’s In Concert, Remember That Night, Live in Gdańsk and Live at Pompeii releases. On Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd, a somewhat shortened version of the song segues into Syd Barrett‘s “Bike“. The segue is accomplished by cutting from the church bell at the end of “High Hopes” to a new bicycle bell sound effect before “Bike” begins. A 7-inch vinyl version of the single was released on a transparent record.
The final couplet from the song (“The endless river/Forever and ever”) recalls a line from the band’s second single, “See Emily Play“, from 1967, (“Float on a river/Forever and ever”)(4) and inspired the name of their final studio album, The Endless River, released in 2014.(5)
The song is mostly in the key of C minor, and features the sound of a church bell chiming a ‘C’ throughout, except for a short section in the middle where the song briefly modulates into E minor for a guitar solo. The lyrics refer to the band’s early days in Cambridge, specifically before they started making music and it also references ex-bandmate Syd Barrett.
Shortly after the song ends and the chimes fade out is a hidden track comprising a brief phone call between the band’s manager, Steve O’Rourke, and Gilmour’s stepson, Charlie. This concludes The Division Bell album.
- CD single
- “High Hopes” – 8:34
- “Marooned” – 5:29
- CD maxi
- “High Hopes” (radio edit) – 5:16
- “Keep Talking” (radio edit) – 4:55
- “One of These Days” (live) – 6:57
This song has an official music video that was directed by Storm Thorgerson.
- The Division Bell
- David Gilmour – lead vocals, classical guitar and lap steel guitars
- Richard Wright – Kurzweil synthesisers, Hammond Organ
- Nick Mason – drums, gong
- The song was covered by Shark ‘n the Smoke on 2003 tribute album A Fair Forgery of Pink Floyd.
- The song was covered by Nightwish who released two different live versions; one on the compilation album Highest Hopes: The Best of Nightwish and another one on the DVD End of an Era.
- The song was covered by Gregorian for their album Masters of Chant Chapter IV.
- The song was covered by the German band Sylvan in 2000 for the album Signs of Life – A Tribute to Pink Floyd.
- The song was covered by the French power metal band Karelia in 2005 for the album Raise.
- The song was covered by the German Metalcore band Caliban in 2012 for the deluxe version of I Am Nemesis.
- The song was covered by the Scottish vocalist Ray Wilson in 2016 for his acoustic album Song for a Friend.
- “High Hopes” (CD single notes). Pink Floyd. EMI. 1994. 881777 2 – via Discogs.CS1 maint: others (link)
- “High Hopes” / “Keep Talking” (CD single notes). Pink Floyd. EMI. 1994. CDEMS 342 – via Discogs.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Fuller, Graham (July 1994). “The Color of Floyd”. Interview Magazine, p. 20-21. Archived from the original on 2011-07-30. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
- “Pink Floyd Set To Release New Album This Fall”. 1037theloon.com. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
- Everitt, Matt (9 October 2014). “Shaun Keaveny, with a Pink Floyd Exclusive, Pink Floyd Talk to 6 Music’s Matt Everitt”. BBC.
- “High Hopes”, French Singles Chart Lescharts.com (Retrieved January 22, 2008)
- “High Hopes”, UK Singles Chart Official Charts Company (Retrieved January 30, 2009)
- Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved January 30, 2009)
- Library and Archives Canada: Top Singles – Volume 60, No. 14, October 24 1994, October 24, 1994, retrieved July 12, 2014
- 1994 French Singles Chart Disqueenfrance.com Archived 2011-08-20 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved January 30, 2009)