The Pink Floyd album Roger Waters compared to ‘Animal Farm’: “It was in no sense a democratic process”

Despite having some of the greatest players from the 1960s rock scene, Pink Floyd had already started to divide into several creative groups by the time they reached the pinnacle of prog rock in the 1970s. David Gilmour and Roger Waters, the group’s two principal innovators, had started to work on separate sides of the studio and were only able to bring ideas together with clenched teeth.

Despite this, the band released several of its landmark albums during this decade, including Meddle (1971), The Dark Side of the Moon (1977), Wish You Were Here (1977), and the genre-defining The Dark Side of the Moon (1986). That record had a strong narrative thread going through it in addition to experiencing one of the worst advertising efforts in rock history.

The album’s songs were brilliantly delivered, but what really sets it apart from other albums is how the songs themselves were adapted from George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

This cerebral record quickly dispelled the notion that Pink Floyd had suddenly turned into flabby seniors, just as punk was taking over London. Although the record’s cover boasts a ridiculous backstory, the content within was really serious. The record captures the first instance in which Waters openly addressed global politics. It seems that Waters’ devotion to Orwell’s writing and her sincerity would carry over into their following album, The Wall.

The Wall, sometimes regarded as a de facto Roger Waters solo album, is a concept album that centers on Pink, the protagonist, as he navigates a dangerous world. In addition to showcasing Waters’ skill as a musician, the album was also his most introspective to date. In it, the bassist let his guard down and considered the fleeting loneliness that comes with pursuing fame and money.

The band’s strife was also represented in the record. Gilmour and Waters had been at odds for a while, and during the band’s hiatus following Animals’ debut, they both went solo. Waters would present a nearly completed version of The Wall to Pink Floyd, while Gilmour would record his own album outside of the group.

In spite of this, Gilmour is listed as a co-songwriter on three of the LP’s tracks: “Run Like Hell,” “Comfortably Numb,” and “Young Lust.” However, if you believed that this was a peaceful instance of the two men putting their differences aside, Waters’ remarks from the 1999 record to Mojo will put an end to any such ideas: “This was not a cooperative. It was in no sense a democratic process.”

Later, Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason, and keyboardist Richard Wright would all assert that they contributed significantly to the record. Waters refuted these claims with a well-known analogy: “If somebody had a good idea, I would accept it and maybe use it, in the same sense that if someone writes and directs a movie he will often listen to what the actors have to say. It sounds to me a bit like Animal Farm, the pigs fight about who was more equal than others.”



Leave a Comment