ROGER WATERS: How did his absence affect Pink Floyd’s music?


Laurence Wilson

Vastly. Roger Waters was the chief songwriter for over a decade. He either collaborated on songs with Richard Wright or Dave Gilmour or wrote songs by himself, which he presented to the band.

For instance Waters wrote most of the material on The Dark Side of the Moon and some of the writing credits that Gilmour and Mason have on the album, where gifted to them by waters to make sure they got royalties. Something he has since regretted, possibly more for historical accuracy than financial.

Especially because places like Quora have become a zone for many to try and strip Waters of his talent, popularity, musicianship and overall importance to Pink Floyd.

There will soon be a ton of threads about how terrible Waters was/is and how the band would have been better without him, which is just completely untrue.

Now, before I go on, obviously the rest of the band, particularly Gilmour and Wright also have a massive impact on the band and worked well with Waters’ ideas, songs, concepts, driving force, and theatrics. They are two beloved musicians who were amazing in and out of Pink Floyd and if they had been missing from the albums the contributed to, then those albums would not have been as good.

I love Pink Floyd, and I like it best when all members are on the album. I’ll leave the Syd Barrett era to one side, as it doesn’t really fit this question. (I love Barrett too.)

If you took Roger Waters out of Pink Floyd after the 1971 album Meddle, there would have been no Dark Side of the Moon, and I very much doubt a Pink Floyd comprising of Gilmour, Mason and Wright at this point would have created it’s equal. They may have made a good album but it wouldn’t have been anything like Dark Side of the Moon and therefor unlikely to have become the huge success it was. Also the following albums wouldn’t have happened and without Waters driving force and prolific writing, the band would have most likely faltered and failed.

Gilmour has admitted that he was lazy in this period (Dark Side to the Final Cut) and often didn’t practice or try and write songs.

Wright was struggling with coke addiction and this affected his ability to write new work and make good musical decisions that were right for Pink Floyd.

That’s a bit of backstory.

When Roger Waters left the band, it left only Gilmour and Mason, as Rick Wright had been pushed from the band a few years earlier, and didn’t appear on the album that was made after he left.

Mason is mainly just a drummer in Pink Floyd and didn’t write songs, so this left David Gilmour to do the bulk of the work. He didn’t ask Wright to rejoin the band and he and Mason financed the album, as the record company were doubtful of their abilities to pull off a Pink Floyd album, because they knew how important Waters had been to the music.

Gilmour did something Pink Floyd had done rarely before and that was have other musicians, from outside the band help with the songwriting. This had happened on the Atom Heart Mother, with Ron Geeson, helping to write the title track, with Bob Ezrin helping to write The Trial on The Wall and with Clare Torry helping to write, albeit through improvisation, The Great Gig in the Sky on The Dark Side of the Moon. She doesn’t get a writing credit for that on the album, but has since sued and made an out of court settlement.

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