The Ultimatum Roger Waters Issued Foreshadowed Pink Floyd’s Downfall

Considering Pink Floyd‘s history, one of the first things that might come to many fans’ minds is probably the long-running feud between Roger Waters and David Gilmour. However, Gilmour was not the only member Waters had problems with. The conflict between the bassist and Richard Wright began in the late 1970s during the recording and touring of the album, ‘The Wall.’

Wright’s contribution to the band had already diminished during the making process of the previous album, ‘Animals,’ which became the first Pink Floyd album not to contain songwriting credits for the keyboardist. While the band was working on ‘The Wall,’ Waters was the primary songwriter and creative force behind their works, while Wright had taken a smaller role due to personal and professional issues.

Eventually, Waters felt that Wright was not contributing enough to the band and was not committed to the creative vision of ‘The Wall.’ Yet, there are two different accounts of the bassist’s reaction to Wright’s diminished input on the band’s efforts. In his 2004 autobiography ‘Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd,’ Nick Mason recalled that Waters had called Steve O’Rourke, the band’s manager, and told him to remove Wright from the band by the time he came to L.A. to mix the record.

However, in another version told by a later historian of the band, when Roger called their manager to ask him to inform Wright about the new recording arrangements, the keyboardist harshly responded by telling Waters to f*ck off. Yet, Wright later denied this account, saying he had refused to join the recording backlog, as they were originally scheduled to record only through the spring and early summer. So, he didn’t catch up when Waters suggested hitting the studio ten days earlier than agreed. Still, he said he would be there if he knew they were so far behind schedule.

Although David Gilmour tried to calm the conflict between the two sides, Roger Waters was determined to uphold his ultimatum. He wanted Wright to leave the band; otherwise, he wouldn’t release ‘The Wall.’ Waters had also considered suing Wright but, later on, opted to exclude him from the project. The late keyboardist agreed to leave as he knew that the band was in a financially difficult position.

When the band embarked on a world tour to support ‘The Wall,’ Wright joined them as a salaried session musician rather than a full member. Even though he was fired, Wright’s departure from Pink Floyd was not publicly announced until years later. The band’s subsequent album, ‘The Final Cut,’ would be the last Pink Floyd album Waters contributed.

The bassist eventually left the band in 1985 and began a legal battle with the act. Of course, there were also other issues that led to Waters’ departure from Pink Floyd, but it can be said that the conflict he had with Richard Wright was sort of a breaking point that foreshadowed the band’s upcoming downfall. From then on, the different incidents and disagreements followed one another, setting Waters’ destiny with the band on an irreversible path.