Breathe (Pink Floyd song)

"Breathe (In the Air)" is a song by English progressive rock band Pink Floyd. It appears on their 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon.[2]

"Breathe (in the Air)"
Song by Pink Floyd
from the album The Dark Side of the Moon
PublishedWorld Copyrights Ltd.
Released1 March 1973
Recorded22 June 1972 – 27 January 1973[1]
Producer(s)Pink Floyd
Official audio
"Breathe (In the Air)" on YouTube

Authorship and compositionEdit

Fender 'Duo 1000' double-neck steel guitar (1962), purchased in Seattle in October 1970 by David Gilmour, and used on 'Breathe'; displayed at the Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition

The authorship and composition of this song is credited to David Gilmour and Richard Wright for the music and Roger Waters for the lyrics.[2] Dark Side, admitted the latter, "is a little adolescent and naïve in its preoccupations, but I'm not belittling it. It's like a rather wonderful, naïve painting. 'Breathe in the air / Don't be afraid to care' – that's the opening couplet. Well, yeah, I can cop that, but it's kind of simplistic stuff."[3]

The song is slow-paced and rich in texture, and features Gilmour playing the electric guitar with a Uni-Vibe and lap steel guitar with a volume pedal and several overdubs.[4] On the original album, it is a separate track from "Speak to Me", the sound collage that opens the first side.[2] Since this track segues into "Breathe" via a sustained backwards piano chord, the two are conjoined on most CD versions of the album.[5] A one-minute reprise features at the end of the song "Time",[2] without the slide guitar and using Farfisa organ and Wurlitzer electronic piano in place of Hammond organ and Rhodes piano.

The chords for much of the song alternate between E minor(add9) and A major, with a turnaround appearing before the verses and then functioning as a chorus, consisting of C major seventh, B minor seventh, F major seventh, G major, D7(9) and D#dim.[6] Wright admitted to having lifted the D7(#9) in the progression from Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. It is an exact quote from bar 9 of "All Blues" even though the 2 songs are in different keys. [7]

Along with the other Pink Floyd tracks "Time" and "The Great Gig in the Sky", "Breathe" is seen as Gilmour "carving out a more distinctive style" with the introduction of blues-based chords and solos.[8] "Breathe" has also been seen to "embrace ecology".[9]

This song was one of several to be considered for the band's "best of" album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.[10]

Alternative and live versionsEdit

  • The Pulse CD and DVD features a live version of the song[2] with a run time of 2:33.
  • The song was played at the Live 8 concert and features on the DVD. For that performance, "Breathe" and "Breathe (Reprise)" were combined to form one song. Although Pink Floyd themselves had never done this before, the London Philharmonic Orchestra had previously covered the song in this manner on their 1995 album Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd.
  • The solo Roger Waters DVD and CD, In the Flesh – Live, features a version of the song sung by Doyle Bramhall and Jon Carin.
  • Live versions with Richard Wright appear on the Gilmour solo Remember That Night DVD and Live in Gdańsk CD. The Live in Gdańsk version is titled "Breathe (In the Air)" rather than just "Breathe".
  • "Breathe (Reprise)" appears (along with "Time") on Gilmour's 2017 live video and album Live at Pompeii.
  • A live version is found on The Dark Side of the Moon Live at Wembley 1974 (2023).



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[11] Gold 35,000 
United Kingdom (BPI)[12] Silver 200,000 

  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Cover versionsEdit


  1. ^ Guesdon, Jean-MIchel (2017). Pink Floyd All The Songs. Running Press. ISBN 9780316439237.
  2. ^ a b c d e Mabbett, Andy (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd. London: Omnibus. ISBN 9780711943018.
  3. ^ Gwyther, Matthew (7 March 1993). "The dark side of success". Observer magazine. p. 34.
  4. ^ Chapman, Richard (2003). Guitar: Music, History, Players (1st pbk. ed.). New York: DK Pub. ISBN 9780789497000.
  5. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Speak to Me/Breathe". Rovi. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  6. ^ Waters, Roger; Wright, Richard; Gilmour, David (10 November 2008). "Pink Floyd "Breathe (In the Air)" Guitar Tab". Musicnotes.
  7. ^ "Pink Floyd darkside of the moon breathe". YouTube.
  8. ^ Gulla, Bob (2008). Guitar Gods: The 25 Players Who Made Rock History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 93. ISBN 9780313358067.
  9. ^ Schinder, Scott; Schwartz, Andy (2008). Icons of rock : an encyclopedia of the legends who changed music forever. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 447. ISBN 9780313338472.
  10. ^ Guthrie, James. "James Guthrie: Audio: Building A Compilation Album". Pink Floyd. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Italian single certifications – Pink Floyd – Breathe (In the Air)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 21 December 2021. Select "2021" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Breathe (In the Air)" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  12. ^ "British single certifications – Pink Floyd – Breathe (In the Air)". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  13. ^ London Philharmonic Orchestra (10 October 1995). "Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd by London Philharmonic Orchestra; Alibris UK". Retrieved 2010-06-02.
  14. ^ Heyes, Paul (8 July 2003). "Saturday Review - Glastonbury Festival 2003". Retrieved 2010-06-02.
  15. ^ "The Flaming Lips Tour Statistics |". Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  16. ^ Breihan, Tom (19 April 2010). "Video: The Flaming Lips Do Pink Floyd's "Breathe" on "Jimmy Fallon"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
  17. ^ O'Brien, Jon (9 July 2007). "The Saturday Sessions: The Dermot O'Leary Show'". Rovi. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
  18. ^ Tilles, Jay (May 7, 2013). "Capital Cities Explains How They United Pink Floyd & Tupac For 'Breathe'". Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 18, 2014.