'Hey Hey Rise Up': Internet rejoices as Pink Floyd releases first song in 28 years to support Ukraine
Pink Floyd is back! The iconic English rock band, which last released an album in 1994 decided to reunite once again to release a song in support of Ukraine. 'Hey Hey Rise Up' was released on April 8, 2022, by the band with the goal of helping to raise funds for the UN's Ukraine humanitarian fund. Alongside the song, the group also launched a scathing attack on Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
The war in Ukraine has seen unprecedented levels of global unity, with widespread support coming from the entertainment industry as well. During the 94th Academy Awards, there was a one-minute silence for Ukraine, along with a message to support the country "in any way you are able." Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also made an appearance at the 64th Grammy Awards. Ever since the war broke out, actor Sean Penn has also been in Ukraine, filming a documentary about the war.
So far, Penn along with Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have been the most vocal supporters of Ukraine. However, their efforts were temporarily cast aside after Pink Floyd entered the frame. David Gilmour and Nick Mason, who have kept the band alive by touring since 2005, reunited for the band's first official song in nearly three decades.
Pink Floyd takes on Russia
'Hey Hey Rise Up' was born out of Gilmour's frustration at his inability to do anything about the situation in Ukraine. "It’s a really difficult and frustrating thing to see this extraordinarily crazy, unjust attack by a major power on an independent, peaceful, democratic nation. The frustration of seeing that and thinking ‘what the fuck can I do?’ is sort of unbearable," he told The Guardian.
Gilmour was inspired to act after seeing an Instagram video of Andriy Khlyvnyuk, a Ukrainian singer with whom he had once performed. In the video, Khlyvnyuk sang in front of Kyiv’s St Sofia Cathedral, while dressed in military fatigues. "I thought: that is pretty magical and maybe I can do something with this. I’ve got a big platform that (Pink Floyd) have worked on for all these years," Gilmour said.
For Gilmour, it was extremely personal because he has extended family from Ukraine, including a daughter-in-law. So he roped in Mason, longstanding bassist Guy Pratt, and composer Nitin Sawhney. Together with vocals from Khlyvnyuk, 'Hey Hey Rise Up' was born. "I wouldn’t do this with many more things, but it’s so vitally, vitally important that people understand what’s going on there and do everything within their power to change that situation," he said about the song.
Hours before the song came out, most of the Pink Floyd discography was removed from Russia and Belarus, barring their works from the 60s and 70s. Gilmour hopes the song "could help boost morale" in Ukraine. Whether that is the case or not remains to be seen, but clearly, it got the expected response on social media.
'This is cool in more ways than one'
"This is cool in more ways than one! #StandWithUkraine️," one person tweeted. Another said, "Well done Pink Floyd. For trying to highlight the horrendous acts taking place in Ukraine." A Ukrainian diplomat tweeted, "Oh God, @pinkfloyd, my heart will explode now. Thank you!"
Well done Pink Floyd. For trying to highlight the horrendous acts taking place in Ukraine. 🎸🎵🎤👍 https://t.co/wnMcoErA3X— NICKY VAN BEALZA (@bealza05) April 8, 2022
"For the first time in 28 years Pink Floyd released new music to raise money for Ukraine. Raise your hand if you love Pink Floyd!" an excited user tweeted. Another said, "New Pink Floyd music in support of Ukraine tonight has me absolutely ecstatic!!!" A third commented, "The war so horrible it brought Pink Floyd back together." Another joked, "putin has miscalculated on a scale he can barely comprehend."
For the first time in 28 years Pink Floyd released new music to raise money for Ukraine. Raise your hand if you love Pink Floyd!— 💙Brittney💙 (@AZ_Brittney) April 8, 2022
New Pink Floyd music in support of Ukraine tonight has me absolutely ecstatic!!! pic.twitter.com/71NyjC5LVy— Salty John Raw Bar Chef (@saltyjohnbos) April 7, 2022
The war so horrible it brought Pink Floyd back together https://t.co/jZbTsafuAC— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) April 7, 2022
putin has miscalculated on a scale he can barely comprehend https://t.co/asEAiA20HC— Jeff B. is *BOX OFFICE POISON* (@EsotericCD) April 7, 2022
The video includes images from the war, interspersed with videos of Khlyvnyuk and the band singing, and is now available to watch on YouTube. It's also available on most streaming services.