Why Roger Waters decided to leave Pink Floyd

In 1965, the inception of Pink Floyd marked the collaboration of musical talents, including bassist, singer, and songwriter Roger Waters, alongside Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright. As the years unfolded, their collective efforts pioneered the Progressive Rock movement, with the transformative addition of David Gilmour reshaping their musical landscape.

The zenith of their career materialized with the release of the iconic “Dark Side of The Moon” in 1973, a record that swiftly ascended to become one of the best-selling albums in history. This triumph ushered in a series of lauded albums, including “Wish You Were Here” (1975), “Animals” (1977), and “The Wall” (1979).

However, beneath the surface of success, internal discord simmered within the band. Roger Waters emerged as the primary songwriter and, as his bandmates later recounted, began harboring a belief that he embodied Pink Floyd, rendering the others superfluous. Tensions escalated when Waters insisted on the departure of keyboardist Richard Wright during the production of “The Wall.” Wright was subsequently ousted, and relegated to the status of a hired musician for subsequent tours.

The fissures deepened with the release of “The Final Cut,” the last Pink Floyd album to feature Waters. The divergence in songwriting contributions became a critical point of contention. Waters felt that his bandmates, particularly Wright, were no longer committed to the creative process, allowing him to assume an even more dominant role. Conversely, Nick, David, and Richard perceived Waters’ ego as inflated, asserting that he sought to dominate the creative sphere independently.

Waters’ decision to part ways with Pink Floyd was rooted in his perception that the band had ceased to function as a collaborative unit. The differences in vision led to Wright’s expulsion and ultimately culminated in “The Final Cut,” a record where Waters wrote all the material, solidifying it as, in essence, his solo endeavor.

In retrospect, Waters contended that “Wish You Were Here” marked the true finale of Pink Floyd’s collaborative era. He argued that subsequent albums witnessed diminishing contributions from the other members, especially after Wright’s departure in 1979. Waters believed the band effectively disbanded at that point, a sentiment fueled by the belief that David Gilmour and Nick Mason, while talented, were not prolific lyricists.

The aftermath saw Waters’ departure in 1985, leading to a legal battle over the band’s name. Gilmour and Mason persisted, settling the dispute and inviting Richard Wright back into the fold. The making of “The Final Cut” had strained relations, with Gilmour describing it as torture, a sentiment shared by Mason, who regarded the recording process as dreadful.

Despite the commercial success of previous albums, “The Final Cut” failed to replicate their earlier triumphs, selling approximately 3 million copies worldwide. Waters, however, remained resolute in his decision to leave, asserting that bands, like any other human group, have a lifespan, and Pink Floyd’s dissolution was a necessary and justifiable conclusion.

Since his departure, Roger Waters has pursued a solo career, releasing four studio albums and engaging in diverse projects. The reunion with Pink Floyd occurred only briefly during Live 8 in 2005, underscoring Waters’ belief that the band’s dissolution was a natural and irreversible progression.

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