The Pink Floyd Song Roger Waters Couldn’t Sing And Hired A Vocalist For
Maybe the inner power dynamics of Pink Floyd have never been equal, but the band has always achieved to put forth collaborative and balanced works with each member’s creative contributions. The band’s innovative characteristics helped them create the unique Pink Floyd sound, which music lovers of all different tastes and critics have greatly appreciated. While all the band members successfully fulfilled their commitments, the responsibility of lead vocals was shared among them.
Syd Barrett and Roger Waters performed the vocal duties together in the band’s early years. After Barrett’s departure, David Gilmour joined Waters in singing the unique Pink Floyd pieces. Still, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the band has never had a lead singer in the traditional sense since each band member contributed to the vocals at some point. Yet, there was still one song in which Roger Waters had difficulty performing, and a guest singer joined the band on lead vocals.
Which Pink Floyd Song Did Roger Waters Have Trouble Singing?
Besides his talent as a bass player, Roger Waters has always stood out with his innate talent for singing. Although he has limitations like staying on pitch, his vocal range has allowed him to perform in various styles. He has an interesting and primarily self-taught singing technique, giving a cool sensation to his vocals. No matter how good they are, even the most gifted artists are very likely to struggle with their voice in some part of their career.
Roger Waters also faced a similar problem while making Pink Floyd’s ninth studio album, ‘Wish You Were Here,’ which resulted in something unfamiliar. While recording the third track of the record, ‘Have a Cigar,’ Waters realized that he couldn’t sing in the way he wanted since he had pushed himself too much while recording, ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond.’ David Gilmour also rejected singing it, so they had no choice but to hire a guest singer.
Thus, English singer Roy Harper joined the band on the recordings of the track and provided the lead vocals without the contribution of any other Pink Floyd member. In an interview with COS in 2020, when asked how he ended up singing the song, Harper explained that they were working in the same studio, so he heard they were struggling with the vocals. Then, the singer offered to sing the lead vocals.
Roy Harper’s statements on how he joined Pink Floyd for ‘Have a Cigar’:
“It’s actually been a while since I’ve heard the song. I should have actually listened to it last night to familiarize myself with it again. I was recording my album in Studio 2 at Abbey Road. They were in Studio 3. They were having trouble with this song, and I was in and out of the studio. We were all friends. It was obvious they couldn’t sing this song because they were both vocally wrecked.
They were talking about abandoning it, throwing it away, or coming back another day. But they couldn’t quite admit yet that they were going to have to abandon it. And I said from the back of the room, and it was straight from brain to tongue really, and I don’t operate in any other way… I said, ‘I’ll do it, for a price.’ And Roger said, ‘What’s the price?’ And I said, ‘A season ticket to the Lords for life.'”
Thus, ‘Have a Cigar,’ along with ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ and ‘Hey Hey Rise Up,’ turned out to be one of the three Pink Floyd songs in which a guest singer performed the lead vocals.
You can listen to the song below.