“The Show Must Go On” (working titles “Who’s Sorry Now“, “(It’s) Never Too Late“) is a song by English rock band Pink Floyd, from their 1979 album The Wall. It was written by Roger Waters and sung by David Gilmour.
Roger Waters wanted to create a “Beach Boys” type sound for the backing vocals, and got Bruce Johnston to come and help create it, but this was only after the Beach Boys themselves had agreed to do so, only to cancel at the last possible moment (the morning of the session, 2 October 1979). The song’s chord patterns closely resemble those found in “Mother“, “In the Flesh“, and “Waiting for the Worms“.
The track does not appear in the 1982 film version of The Wall nor in Waters’ post-Pink Floyd 1990 concert The Wall – Live in Berlin. It also has an extra verse that was cut from the studio album, but is nevertheless included in the lyrics printed on its sleeve.
Do I have to stand up
Wild eyed in the spotlight
What a nightmare
Why don’t I turn and run
After this, the line “There must be some mistake…” starts.
The full song was performed live in concert, and as such appears on Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81. It was also included on Waters’ 2010-2013 solo Wall tour, and is included in the concert film and album of that tour.
It’s the only song from the album which Waters does not perform any kind of instrument and vocal, although his voice is audible on unofficially released recordings of the demo. He is heard singing a verse that was cut from the final version and has never been played live, located right before David Gilmour’s bridge:
Am I really unsure,
Wild eyed in the spotlight?
Fuck me, what a nightmare
Have they all gone?
It’s okay, now you’re in luck,
The worms have fled the rising sun.
Their evil power is on the way.
Forget the past and start again.
There must be some mistake…
As with the other songs on The Wall, “The Show Must Go On” tells a segment of the story of Pink, the story’s protagonist. This song leads into “In the Flesh”, where the show is performed by Pink as he begins to mentally unravel and hallucinate that he is a fascist dictator.