Roger Waters was born on 6 September 1943, in Great Bookham, Surrey. He attended Morley Memorial Junior School in Cambridge and then the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys (now Hills Road Sixth Form College) with Syd Barrett, while his future musical partner, David Gilmour, lived nearby on the city’s Mill Road, and attended the Perse School.At 15, Waters was chairman of the Cambridge Youth Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (YCND), having designed its publicity poster and participated in its organisation.Though he was a keen sportsman and a highly regarded member of the high school’s cricket and rugby teams. Whereas Waters knew Barrett and Gilmour from his childhood in Cambridge, he met future Pink Floyd founder members Nick Mason and Richard Wright in London at the Regent Street Polytechnic (later the University of Westminster) school of architecture. Waters enrolled there in 1962, and initially considered a career in mechanical engineering.However By September 1963, Waters and Mason had lost interest in their studies; they had moved into the lower flat of Stanhope Gardens, owned by Mike Leonard, a part-time tutor at the Regent Street Polytechnic.
Waters, Mason and Wright first played music together in the autumn of 1963, in a band formed by vocalist Keith Noble and bassist Clive Metcalfe. They usually called themselves Sigma 6, but also used the name the Meggadeaths. Waters played rhythm guitar and Mason played drums, Wright played on any keyboard. In the early years the band performed during private functions and rehearsed in a tearoom in the basement of Regent Street Polytechnic. When Metcalfe and Noble left to form their own group in September 1963, the remaining members asked Barrett and guitarist Bob Klose to join. Waters switched to the bass and by January 1964, the group became known as the Abdabs, the Screaming Abdabs, Leonard’s Lodgers, Spectrum Five, the Tea Set and finally Pink Floyd. By early 1966 Barrett was Pink Floyd’s front-man, guitarist, and songwriter.
He wrote or co-wrote all but one track of their debut LP The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, released in 1967.Waters contributed the song “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk”. Unfortunately Barrett’s deteriorating mental health and increasingly erratic behaviour, rendered him “unable or unwilling” to continue in his capacity as Pink Floyd’s singer-songwriter and lead guitarist and in 1968 Barrett agreed to leave Pink Floyd and David Gilmour arrived In April 1968. After Barrett’s departure in March 1968, Waters began to chart Pink Floyd’s artistic direction. He became the principal songwriter, lyricist and co-lead vocalist (along with Gilmour, and at times, Wright), and would remain the band’s dominant creative figure until his departure in 1985. He wrote the lyrics to the five Pink Floyd albums starting with The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and ending with The Final Cut (1983), exerting progressively more creative control over the band and its music.
The Dark Side of the Moon became one of the most commercially successful rock albums ever. It was followed by Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979) and The Final Cut (1983). He often referred to the cost of war and the loss of his father throughout his work, from “Corporal Clegg” (A Saucerful of Secrets, 1968) and “Free Four” (Obscured by Clouds, 1972) to “Us and Them” from The Dark Side of the Moon, “When the Tigers Broke Free”, first used in the feature film, The Wall (1982) and the “The Fletcher Memorial Home”. The last band performance of The Wall was on 16 June 1981, at Earls Court London, and this was Pink Floyd’s last appearance with Waters until the band’s brief reunion at 2 July 2005 Live 8 concert in London’s Hyde Park, 24 years later. In March 1983, the last Waters–Gilmour–Mason collaboration, The Final Cut, was released. The album was subtitled: “A requiem for the post-war dream by Roger Waters, The lyrics were critical of the Conservative Party government of the day.
Amidst a power struggle and creative differences within the group, Waters left Pink Floyd in 1985, and began a bitter legal battle with the remaining band members regarding their continued use of the name and material. In October 1986, he initiated High Court proceedings to formally dissolve the Pink Floyd partnership, referring to Pink Floyd as a “spent force creatively”. Gilmore and Mason opposed the application and announced their intention to continue as Pink Floyd. A settlement was finally reached 1987. Waters was released from his contractual obligation and he retained the copyrights to The Wall concept and the inflatable Animals pig. Pink Floyd released three studio albums without Waters: A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987), The Division Bell (1994) and The Endless River.
PART TWO – SOLO CAREER
Following the release of The Final Cut, Waters embarked on a solo career that produced three concept albums and a movie soundtrack. In 1984 he released The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, which features guitarist Eric Clapton, jazz saxophonist David Sanborn, and artwork by Gerald Scarfe. In 1986, Waters contributed songs and a score to the soundtrack of the animated movie When the Wind Blows, based on the Raymond Briggs book of the same name. His backing band featuring Paul Carrack was credited as The Bleeding Heart Band. In 1987, Waters released Radio K.A.O.S., a concept album based on a mute man named Billy from an impoverished Welsh mining town who has the ability to physically tune into radio waves in his head. Billy first learns to communicate with a radio DJ, and eventually to control the world’s computers. Angry at the state of the world in which he lives, he simulates a nuclear attack.
In November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, and in July 1990 Waters staged one of the largest and most elaborate rock concerts in history, The Wall – Live in Berlin, on the vacant terrain between Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate. The show reported an official attendance of 200,000, with one billion television viewers. Leonard Cheshire asked him to do the concert to raise funds for charity. Waters’ group of musicians included Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams, Scorpions, and Sinéad O’Connor. Waters also used an East German symphony orchestra and choir, a Soviet marching band, and a pair of helicopters from the US 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron.
On 1992 He released his third studio album, Amused to Death, Which is heavily influenced by the events of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and the Gulf War, and a critique of the notion of war becoming the subject of entertainment, particularly on television. The title was derived from the book Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. It featured Jeff Beck on lead guitar on many of the album’s tracks. The album also garnered some comparison to his previous work with Pink Floyd. Waters described the record as, a “stunning piece of work”, ranking the album with Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall as one of the best of his career. It featured the song “What God Wants, Pt. 1”.
In 1999, after a 12-year hiatus from touring, and a seven-year absence from the music industry, Waters embarked on the In the Flesh tour, performing both solo and Pink Floyd material. A concert film was released on CD and DVD, named In the Flesh – Live. During the tour, he played two new songs “Flickering Flame” and “Each Small Candle”In June 2002, he performed in front of 70,000 people at the Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts, playing 15 Pink Floyd songs and five songs from his solo catalogue.
In 2004 aBroadway Production of The Wall opened with Waters playing a prominent role in the creative direction, this contained original tracks from The Wall, and songs from Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and other Pink Floyd albums, as well as new material. In July 2004, Waters also released two new tracks on the Internet: “To Kill the Child”, inspired by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and “Leaving Beirut”, an anti-war song “inspired by his travels in the Middle East as a teenager”. In 2005, Waters reunited with Mason, Wright, and Gilmour for what would be their final performance together at the 2005 Live 8 concert in London’s Hyde Park, Pink Floyd’s only appearance with Waters since their final performance of The Wall at Earls Court London 24 years earlier. They played a 23-minute set consisting of “Speak to Me/Breathe”/”Breathe (Reprise)”, “Money”, “Wish You Were Here”, and “Comfortably Numb”. In November 2005, Pink Floyd were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame by Pete Townshend of the Who.
In September 2005, Waters released Ça Ira (pronounced [sa iˈʁa], French for “it will be fine”; Waters added the subtitle, “There is Hope”), an opera in three acts translated from the late Étienne Roda-Gil’s French libretto based on the historical subject of the French Revolution. featuring baritone Bryn Terfel, soprano Ying Huang and tenor Paul Groves. Set during the early French Revolution, the original libretto was co-written in French by Roda-Gil and his wife Nadine Delahaye. Waters had begun rewriting the libretto in English in 1989.
In June 2006, Waters commenced The Dark Side of the Moon Live tour, a two-year, world-spanning effort that began in Europe in June and North America in September. The first half of the show featured both Pink Floyd songs and Waters’ solo material, while the second half included a complete live performance of the 1973 Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon, using elaborate staging as well as laser lights, fog machines, pyrotechnics, psychedelic projections, and inflatable floating puppets (Spaceman and Pig) controlled by a “handler” dressed as a butcher, and a full 360-degree quadraphonic sound system was used. Nick Mason joined Waters for The Dark Side of the Moon set and the encores on select 2006 tour dates. In March 2007, Waters also wrote the song, “Hello (I Love You)” for the science fiction film The Last Mimzy. He also performed at California’s Coachella Festival in April 2008 and was to be among the headlining artists performing at Live Earth 2008 in Mumbai, India in December 2008,but that concert was cancelled in light of the 26 November terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
n June 2010, Waters released a cover of “We Shall Overcome”, a protest song rewritten and arranged by Guy Carawan and Pete Seeger at the Highlander Folk School possibly derived either from the refrain of a gospel hymn published by Charles Albert Tindley in 1901, but more likely from Louise Shropshire’s hymn, “If My Jesus Wills.” He performed with David Gilmour at the Hoping Foundation Benefit Evening in July 2010, plating: “To Know Him Is to Love Him”,”Wish You Were Here”, “Comfortably Numb”, and “Another Brick in the Wall (Part Two)”.Waters also commenced The Wall Live tour, an updated version of the original Pink Floyd shows, featuring a complete performance of The Wall Which has been described as one of the most ambitious and complex rock shows ever . At The O2 Arena in London on 12 May 2011, Gilmour and Mason once again appeared with Waters and Gilmour performing “Comfortably Numb”, and Gilmour and Mason joining Waters for “Outside the Wall”. Waters also performed at the Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden on 12 December 2012 and headlined the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island in 2015 accompanied by the band My Morning Jacket and two singers from the group Lucius.
As a member of Pink Floyd, Waters was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. That same year he released Ça Ira, an opera in three acts translated from Étienne and Nadine Roda-Gils’ libretto about the French Revolution. Later that year, he reunited with Pink Floyd bandmates Mason, Wright and David Gilmour for the Live 8 global awareness event; it was the group’s first appearance with Waters since 1981. He has toured extensively as a solo act since 1999 and played The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety for his world tour of 2006–2008. In 2010, he began The Wall Live and in 2011 Gilmour and Mason appeared with him during a performance of the double album in London. As of 2013, the tour is the highest-grossing of all time by a solo artist.