Five Incidents That Foreshadowed Roger Waters And David Gilmour’s Feuds

The interactions between Roger Waters and David Gilmour went under the spotlight again recently following the former’s comments about the Israeli government and remarks about Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson. But this wasn’t a sudden flaring up of tempers. The bad blood between these two ex-Pink Floyd members has its roots in a series of incidents spanning decades. Here’s a look at five of these past events.

‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ Period

After Syd Barrett’s exit from Pink Floyd, the band came up with its 1973 album, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon.’ While Waters contributed many of the songs in the ten-track record and expressed pride over its commercial success with a reissue years later, Gilmour shared his dissatisfaction with the period that followed the album’s release. In a 2010 chat, he said:

“It was a very difficult period, I have to say. All your childhood dreams had been sort of realized, and we had the biggest selling records in the world and all the things you got into it for. The girls and the money and the fame and all that stuff… Everything had sort of come our way, and you had to reassess what you were in it for thereafter, and it was a pretty confusing and sort of empty time for a while.”

Still, with the album’s success, the vocalist took over the role of leader in Pink Floyd, which caused some problems within the band.

Songwriting Credits

The recording phase of ‘Animals’ in the late ’70s brought forward some issues. For the first time, none of the songs in the album featured Richard Wright’s songwriting. He revealed the reason in an interview with BBC Omnibus Special in 1994:

“I didn’t really like a lot of the music on the album. I didn’t fight hard to put my stuff on the album, and I didn’t have anything to put on. I played well but did not contribute to the writing, and also Roger was not letting me write. This was the whole start of the whole ego thing in the band.”

As they went on to work on their next record, ‘The Wall,’ producer Bob Ezrin reportedly had to be a peacemaker between the band members, especially Gilmour and Waters. But Wright contradicted Ezrin and the other members over its release date, causing the band’s vocalist to fire him.

That caused the 1980-1981 tour to pass with tension, as Waters also began to separate himself from the rest of the band while on the road.

The Band’s ‘Final Cut’ With Waters

The dynamics further shifted with ‘The Final Cut.’ Waters not only wrote all of this album but also sang each track, including the ones taken from ‘The Wall’ writing sessions. Gilmour later reflected on this situation by explaining:

“I’m certainly guilty at times of being lazy, and moments have arrived when Roger might say, ‘Well, what have you got?’ And I’d be like, ‘Well, I haven’t got anything right now. I need a bit of time to put some ideas on tape.’ There are elements of all this stuff that, years later, you can look back on and say, ‘Well, he had a point there.’ But he wasn’t right about wanting to put some duff tracks on ‘The Final Cut.’ I said to Roger,’ If these songs weren’t good enough for ‘The Wall,’ why are they good enough now?'”

Following this record’s release, the vocalist left Pink Floyd in 1985. He debuted his solo album ‘The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking’ while the guitarist shared his struggles with his former bandmate in his second record ‘About Face.’

The Lawsuit

Things also took a legal turn after Roger Waters left the band. He took the other members to the court to stop them from using the Pink Floyd banner. During that era, he publicly called them ‘a spent force creatively.’ Gilmour responded to that while talking to The Sunday Times:

“Roger is a dog in the manger, and I’m going to fight him; no one else has claimed Pink Floyd was entirely them. Anybody who does is extremely arrogant.”

Still, the band reached an agreement in 1987, letting it go on under its name while Waters gained copyrights over some of the creative elements like ‘The Wall’ concept.

A Reunion That Didn’t Last

2005 saw a reunion with all Pink Floyd members, including the former frontman, for a Live 8 benefit concert in London. At the end of the performance, the band members even shared a hug on stage. They also received offers to reunite Pink Floyd for a tour that would be worth £136 million, which they refused. Gilmour also rejected the idea of doing another benefit concert with the band:

“The rehearsals convinced me it wasn’t something I wanted to be doing a lot of. There have been all sorts of farewell moments in people’s lives and careers, which they have then rescinded. But I think I can fairly categorically say that there won’t be a tour or an album again that I take part in. It isn’t to do with animosity or anything like that. It’s just … I’ve been there, I’ve done it.”

The Dispute Is Ongoing

A year after the benefit concert, Gilmour announced that Pink Floyd was formally over. Still, Waters said he wanted to make peace with the guitarist in a 2019 Rolling Stone interview. According to his words, the two held a meeting to talk about it, but it didn’t end up positively.