Roger Waters

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Roger Waters, 2008

George Roger Waters (born September 6, 1943 in Great Bookham , Surrey , England ) is a British singer , bassist , composer , lyricist and record producer . He gained fame as a member of the rock group Pink Floyd , which he co-founded.

Waters mostly writes melancholy texts, which often combine personal experiences with acrid and sarcastic social criticism . They are characterized by a pessimistic view of modern society . The album The Wall features autobiographical parts from Waters' life. The final Pink Floyd album with Waters, The Final Cut , takes some of the themes from The Wall further and is dedicated to his father.

His childhood friend and bandmate Syd Barrett and his psychological problems also influenced Waters very much and were processed in several works: Barrett was dedicated to the 1975 album Wish You Were Here , whose title track and Shine On You Crazy Diamond refer to him. In addition, the previous concept album The Dark Side of the Moon makes reference to Barrett's constitution.


Roger Waters was founded in 1943 as the second son of Mary and Eric Fletcher Waters in the small town of Great Bookham ( county born Surrey). His father was the son of a miner, a devout Christian, initially a Labor Party activist and later a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain . In the first years of the war, as a conscientious objector, he drove ambulances during the Battle of Britain ; later he changed his attitude towards pacifism and joined the British Army . As an officer of the 8th Royal Fusiliers , Eric Waters was killed in action against the German Wehrmacht in February 1944 in Anzio (Italy) . According to his own statement, the death of his father still affects Waters today. He addressed the war and his childhood as a half-orphan without his father in many of his songs.

Career as a musician

Waters' earliest musical influences include American blues singers, but also folk musicians . The 1960s also influenced Roger Waters as a songwriter: "If I had to name fifty songs that I would have liked to have written, very few of them would not be by Dylan and Lennon ". Roger Waters' first instrument was the guitar , on which he taught himself folk songs and cultivated it with pieces such as If ( Atom Heart Mother ) or Grantchester Meadows ( Ummagumma ). In Sigma 6 , his first band with Nick Mason and Richard Wright, he still played guitar. His first electric bass was a model from Rickenbacker , which was played by Paul McCartney and later by Chris Squire , among others , and who became famous as a result. Waters' main instrument became the Fender Precision bass. Roger Waters is self-taught on his instrument. In terms of style, he initially followed up on his old band Pink Floyd as a solo musician , later influences from funk and soul came into play. Waters was the musician with the second highest annual income in 2012 at $ 88 million.

Pink Floyd

Roger Waters, 1970

In 1965 the architecture student founded the band "Sigma 6" with his student friends Richard Wright and Nick Mason , from which Pink Floyd emerged after the art student Syd Barrett joined as guitarist and singer . After the departure of the front man, main composer and songwriter Syd Barrett in 1968, he gradually became the lyrical and later the musical head of the group. His artistic handwriting can be felt most strongly on the albums Animals , The Wall and The Final Cut (Pink Floyd). The latter is the only album by the group that consists entirely of Waters compositions.

The concept, the stage show and the film for The Wall are also significantly influenced by Waters.

In 1983, after completing the Pink Floyd album The Final Cut , a first solo LP The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking and an accompanying tour (with Eric Clapton 1984/85), Waters wanted to break up the band, but this was due to the resistance of other members came across. Thereupon he announced his departure from the band at the end of 1985, assuming that the band was now unable to continue without the creative mind. When David Gilmour and Nick Mason (Wright was only a guest musician on the The Wall tour and no longer a member of the band) announced that they would continue to release records under the name Pink Floyd , a longstanding legal dispute ensued. Waters was ultimately defeated, and an out-of-court settlement was reached in 1987.

Solo musician

Roger Waters in Barcelona (2011)

In the course of his further career as a solo artist, Waters released numerous albums, which were received by critics and fans mostly very positively (especially Amused to Death ), but could not come close to the commercial success of Pink Floyd.

Waters had already released a solo album in 1984 with The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking , the demos of which were made at the same time as the demos for The Wall (and were presented as such to the band, which opted for the The Wall concept)

In 1987 he toured the world with the lavish Radio KAOS show, based on the concept album of the same name. The tour was, however, especially in the USA, in direct competition with the current tour of his old band Pink Floyd. In comparison, Waters filled the much smaller halls solo. As a result, he initially refrained from further tours.

Performance of the rock opera "The Wall" in 1990 in Berlin

Part of the out-of-court settlement with his old bandmates stipulated that the complete performance rights of The Wall concept would remain with Waters. On July 21, 1990, on the occasion of the fall of the Berlin Wall , he organized a spectacular production of The Wall on Potsdamer Platz in Berlin . Numerous internationally known artists, including Van Morrison , Bryan Adams , Joni Mitchell , Sinéad O'Connor , Cyndi Lauper , the Scorpions and Tim Curry , took part in the open-air concert, which was attended by 250,000 people and was broadcast live via satellite worldwide .

Amused to Death from 1992 was Waters' last studio album for many years. The album is a comprehensive media review and is based on the book of the same name by Neil Postman . The question here is to what extent man deprives himself of the basis of existence through the hedonism suggested to him by the modern mass media . In addition, Waters deals with the suppression of the democracy movement in the People's Republic of China . In Watching TV he describes the inhuman reporting by CNN about the crackdown on Tian'anmen Square on March 3rd and 4th. June 1989. Waters expanded Postman's media criticism to include the aggressive policies of the US administration under George HW Bush .

The basis of all his texts is the alienation of people through economic constraints and disinformation. Directly he grabs Andrew Lloyd Webber and thus indirectly Tim Rice at (The Miracle) , whose shows and musicals, people just keep at rest and not to stimulate to follow the arguments. These musicals are the end of the amusement after TV sermons (What God Wants Part 1) , war reporting (Perfect Sense Part 1) , concern journalism (Late Home Tonight 1) and breaking news sensational reporting (Watching TV) .

Chart positions
Explanation of the data
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
  DE 49 05/21/1984 (8 weeks)
  CH 12 05/20/1984 (12 weeks)
  UK 13 
05/12/1984 (11 weeks)
Radio KAOS
  DE 58 07/13/1987 (3 weeks)
  CH 20th 07/12/1987 (5 weeks)
  UK 25th 
06/27/1987 (7 weeks)
  US 50 07/25/1987 (19 weeks)
The Wall - Live in Berlin
  DE 10 09/17/1990 (15 weeks)
  AT 25th 07.10.1990 (5 weeks)
  CH 11 
09/16/1990 (8 weeks)
  UK 27 09/29/1990 (3 weeks)
  US 56 09/29/1990 (10 weeks)
Amused to death
  DE 4th 09/28/1992 (17 weeks)
  AT 25th 08/07/2015 (1 week)
  CH 12 09/20/1992 (10 weeks)
  UK 8th 
09/19/1992 (4 weeks)
  US 21st 09/19/1992 (10 weeks)
In the Flesh (Live)
  DE 99 02/05/2001 (1 week)
  US 136 December 23, 2000 (1 week)
Flickering Flame - The Solo Years Volume 1
  DE 53 05/13/2002 (2 weeks)
  CH 62 05/12/2002 (4 weeks)
Roger Waters - The Wall
  DE 22nd 11/27/2015 (2 weeks)
  AT 29 04/12/2015 (1 week)
  CH 20th 
11/29/2015 (3 weeks)
  UK 53 03/12/2015 (1 week)
  US 134 12/12/2015 (1 week)
Is This the Life We Really Want?
  DE 3 06/09/2017 (12 weeks)
  AT 3 06/16/2017 (9 weeks)
  CH 1Template: Infobox chart placements / maintenance / NR1 link
06/11/2017 (18 weeks)
  UK 3 06/15/2017 (6 weeks)
  US 11 06/24/2017 (3 weeks)

In 1994, Waters turned down an invitation from his former Pink Floyd colleagues to play the full album The Dark Side of the Moon together in London .

After several years without appearances and publications, Waters returned in 1999 with the In The Flesh Tour , which lasted until 2002 and was surprisingly successful with a compilation of solo pieces and older Pink Floyd songs and immortalized on CD and DVD.

In mid-2004, Miramax Films announced that Roger Waters was planning a Broadway production of The Wall .

In September 2004, Waters released two new tracks on its homepage , entitled To Kill The Child and Leaving Beirut . Both titles were inspired by the 2003 Iraq War .

After the tsunami disaster in December 2004 Waters played together with Eric Clapton Wish You Were Here on NBC - benefit concert .

On July 2, 2005, for the first time in 24 years, he was back on stage with Pink Floyd at the Live 8 concert in London organized by Bob Geldof .

At the beginning of 2005, Waters had completed his opera Ça Ira about the French Revolution . The album was released worldwide on September 26th as a double SACD with extensive making-of material. Roger Waters has been working on this classical opera since 1992.

From June 2006 to October 2006 Waters went on an extensive tour of Europe and North America ( The Dark Side of the Moon Tour ), during which he a. a. also performed at the famous rock festival in Roskilde, Denmark, and at the Rock in Rio festival in Lisbon. The tour continued as The Dark Side of the Moon World Tour from January 2007 to July 2007 with concerts in 25 countries in Australia, Asia (including Waters' first appearance in China), South America, Europe and North America.

Roger Waters performed as part of the worldwide Live Earth concert series on July 7, 2007 at Giants Stadium New Jersey and played songs from the Pink Floyd albums The Wall and The Dark Side of the Moon . From 2010 to 2014 he brought The Wall back to the stage for the first time since 1990. The tour started on September 15, 2010 in Toronto , Canada, crossed the United States and concluded the North America portion of the tour on December 21 in Mexico City . On March 21, 2011 the tour came to Europe, where it started in Lisbon and ended on July 12 in Athens . Up until then, the tour schedule comprised 118 performances. On January 27, 2012 the tour continued in Perth , Australia. It led to North America via New Zealand and South America, and Europe followed again in 2013. The tour ended after a further 100 appearances on September 21, 2014 in Paris .

On May 12, 2011, during The Wall tour , the two remaining Pink Floyd members, David Gilmour and Nick Mason, performed with Waters in London's O₂ arena . Waters played Comfortably Numb with Gilmour . Mason and Gilmour played together on Outside the Wall . In an interview, Waters denied the question of whether this appearance meant that Pink Floyd would reunite.

With the album Is This the Life We Really Want? Waters first reached number 1 as a solo artist in the music charts , in Switzerland.

With a new program and a new record, Roger Waters went on tour again in 2017. The Us + Them Tour kicked off May 26th in Kansas City and is ready well into 2018.


Israel criticism

During a visit to the West Bank in 2006, Waters identified himself as a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign and sprayed the line “We don't need no thought control” from the song Another Brick in the Wall on an Israeli barrier. In October 2012 he became a member of the jury of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine . In December 2012, Stevie Wonder canceled a performance in Israel after Waters asked him to. Waters compared the Israeli government to the former South African apartheid regime. In April 2013, Waters said he was reconsidering his call for a boycott against Israel, pointing out that his letter to fellow musicians had not been published. In August 2013, however, Waters issued a public appeal to his “brothers and sisters of the rock and roll family” to join a cultural boycott of Israel. Specifically, in May 2014 he called on the Rolling Stones to cancel their first concert in Israel, which was planned for the summer. Playing in Tel Aviv would be morally equivalent to performing in South Africa during apartheid.

In April 2017, he unsuccessfully urged the Radiohead group to forego a concert in Tel Aviv in July of that year. As a result, New York State Legislature MP Howard Kopel called for a review of the legality of allowing Nassau Coliseum to be used for his September 2017 concert on Long Island , as a law in Nassau County since 2016 banned business with Israel boycotters. In September 2019, Waters and over 250 authors criticized the city of Dortmund for awarding the Nelly Sachs Prize to the writer Kamila Shamsie for supporting the controversial BDS campaign ( Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel), which the jury did not discuss was informed, had revoked. The jury had revoked their decision because Shamsie's position was in conflict with the statutes of the award and the spirit of the Nelly Sachs Prize.

Since September 2010, Waters has been using a flying balloon in the shape of a pig at concerts , on which a star of David is depicted in addition to the cross symbol , crescent moon with star , hammer and sickle , the Shell and McDonald’s logos , a dollar sign and a Mercedes star . The Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized the balloon as anti-Semitic . In an interview with the political magazine CounterPunch , Waters compared the politics of Israel directly with the Holocaust and commented with the words:

“There were many people who pretended that the oppression of the Jews was not going to happen. Between 1933 and 1946. Now there is a new scenario. Except that it is now the Palestinians who are being murdered. "

The statement was sharply criticized by the Holocaust Education Trust , among others . Waters countered his critics that other religious symbols were also seen on the pig. In an open letter on Facebook in 2013, he wrote that two grandchildren and numerous friends were Jewish. To be dubbed “Jew haters” insulted him personally. All his life he tried to see religion and state separate from one another. On November 26, 2017, the WDR ended a cooperation with Waters, with which the Cologne concert of the Us + Them tour was to be advertised. WDR director Thomas Buhrow responded to an online petition signed by over 1,300 people , which accused the broadcaster of supporting an anti-Semite. Other ARD stations such as SWR, BR and RBB do not broadcast the concert live in addition to WDR. The concert organizer Marek Lieberberg - himself a child of Holocaust survivors - criticized this decision as "absolutely ridiculous", the public broadcasters should " refer to the sometimes bloodthirsty anti-Semitic theories of these gentlemen if before all [in] contributions about Luther or Wagner performances". Waters has a "dubious and private" opinion towards Israel , which he does not share, but he cannot deny his right to freedom of expression. Roger Waters' artistic work is neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Jewish; "The canon of Roger Waters and Pink Floyd is and will remain brilliant." The Central Council of Jews in Germany , on the other hand, welcomed the decision:

“The quick and decisive reaction of the broadcasters to the massive public criticism is an important sign that the rampant Israel-related anti-Semitism has no place in Germany [...]. Anyone who lets balloon-shaped balloons with a Star of David rise at concerts has to put up with the accusation of anti-Semitism. "

According to chairman Josef Schuster , it is high time that anti-Semitism, which is camouflaged under the cloak of criticism of Israel, "is finally called what it is."

According to Kirsten Dierolf of Palestinian terrorism as resistance, his defense of the Islamist is Waters' playing down Hamas , whose anti-Semitic ideology, he ignored his NS - analogies and his anti-Semitic conspiracy theories clearly what he has to hide behind "criticism of Israel" search "be manifest anti-Semitic Worldview".

On June 21, 2020, the rock star and BDS front man produced an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Israel was partly responsible for the violent death of George Floyd . The US regularly flew in experts from Israel to teach police officers how to kill black people efficiently, Waters claimed. America's “militarized police” have learned their deadly practices, namely air-printing by kneeling on the victim, from the Israeli army, where this is allegedly practiced against the Palestinians.

Paid campaign

Waters supported an environmental lawsuit brought by lawyer Steven Donziger against the energy company Chevron . For his public relations work he received an assurance of 0.074% of the compensation. After the lawsuit was initially successful in February 2011 and Waters had admitted $ 7 million of the $ 9.5 billion in damages awarded, the judgment was overturned by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in September 2018 because it was achieved through bribery . Donzinger lost his license to practice as a lawyer in the United States.

Private life

Waters has been married four times. In 1969 he married his childhood sweetheart Judy Trim, a potter. Her picture was printed in the gatefold cover of the original version by Ummagumma , but was not shown on later CD releases. They didn't have any children. In 1975 the marriage ended in divorce. Trim died in 2001.

In 1976 Waters married Lady Carolyne Christie, niece of Lawrence Dundas, 3rd Marquess of Zetland . They have a son, Harry Waters, a musician and keyboardist who has played with his father since 2006, and a daughter, India Waters, who has worked as a model . Christie and Waters divorced in 1992.

The third marriage, from 1993 to 2001 with Priscilla Phillips, was Waters' son Jack Fletcher.

In 2004 he became engaged to actress and film producer Laurie Durning and married her in early 2012; In 2015 the divorce was filed.

Waters is an atheist .


Studio albums

Other albums

  • 1970: Music from The Body (with Ron Geesin )
  • 1986: When the Wind Blows (Soundtrack)
  • 1990: The Wall - Live 1990 in Berlin
  • 2000: In the Flesh (Live) (released on CD and DVD)
  • 2002: Flickering Flame - The Solo Years Volume 1
  • 2004: To Kill the Child / Leaving Beirut CD single
  • 2005: Ça Ira
  • 2007: The Last Mimzy (soundtrack with Howard Shore )
  • 2015: Roger Waters - The Wall
  • 2018: Igor Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale

Awards for music sales

Golden record

  • GermanyGermany Germany
    • 2004: for the video album In The Flesh - Live
  • CanadaCanada Canada
    • 1987: for the album Radio KAOS
    • 1992: for the album Amused to Death
  • NorwayNorway Norway
    • 1998: for the album Amused to Death
  • SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
    • 2006: for the album In The Flesh - Live
  • United StatesUnited States United States
    • 1995: for the album The Pros & Cons Of Hitchhiking
    • 2002: for the video album In The Flesh - Live
  • United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
    • 2013: for the video album The Wall: Live In Berlin
    • 2013: for the video album In The Flesh - Live

Platinum record

  • CanadaCanada Canada
    • 1992: for the video album The Wall: Live In Berlin
  • United StatesUnited States United States
    • 1992: for the video album The Wall: Live In Berlin
  • United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
    • 2020: for the video album The Wall

2 × platinum record

  • CanadaCanada Canada
    • 1990: for the album The Wall: Live In Berlin

Note: Awards in countries from the chart tables or chart boxes can be found in these.

Country / Region Silver record icon.svg silver Gold record icon.svg gold Platinum record icon.svg platinum Sales swell
Awards for music sales
(country / region, awards, sales, sources)
Germany (BVMI) Germany (BVMI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 0! P- 25,000
Canada (MC) Canada (MC) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 2 × gold2 Platinum record icon.svg 3 × platinum3 310,000
Norway (IFPI) Norway (IFPI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 0! P- 20,000 ( Memento from November 5, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
Switzerland (IFPI) Switzerland (IFPI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 4 × gold4th 0! P- 70,000
United States (RIAA) United States (RIAA) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 2 × gold2 Platinum record icon.svg platinum1 1,550,000
United Kingdom (BPI) United Kingdom (BPI) Silver record icon.svg 3 × silver3 Gold record icon.svg 2 × gold2 Platinum record icon.svg platinum1 280,000
All in all Silver record icon.svg 3 × silver3 Gold record icon.svg 12 × gold12 Platinum record icon.svg 5 × platinum5

Web links

Commons : Roger Waters  - album with pictures, videos and audio files


  1. ^ The world's highest paid musicians 2012
  2. Chart sources: DE AT CH UK US
  3. a b The Pink Floyd Archives: The Pink Floyd Archives-Roger Waters Concert Appearances. Retrieved October 29, 2017 .
  4. "We don't need mind control"
  5. ^ Roger Waters Calls for Boycott of Israel. In: Rolling Stone. March 20, 2013 (English).
  6. Danny Shea: Roger Waters On Israel Boycott: 'I Am Considering My Position'. In: Huffington Post. April 4, 2013 (video).
  7. ^ Robert Tait: Pink Floyd's Roger Waters calls on musicians to boycott Israel. In: The Telegraph. August 20, 2013 (English).
  8. Pink Floyd veterans call on Rolling Stones to boycott Israel. In: May 3, 2014, accessed January 8, 2017 .
  9. ^ Calling Out Roger Waters, Radiohead Front Man Thom Yorke Says Calls to Boycott Israel 'Offensive'. In: Ha-Aretz. June 2, 2017 (English).
  10. ^ After Calling to Boycott Israel, Roger Waters' NY Concert May Be Canceled. In: Ha-Aretz. July 18, 2017 (English).
  11. Open letter supported by Kamila Shamsie , Deutschlandfunk, September 24, 2019
  12. RJ Cubarrubia: Roger Waters' Open Letter Addresses Pink Floyd Singer's Controversial statements. In: Huffington Post. August 5, 2013 (English).
  13. An Interview with Roger Waters. In: Retrieved January 8, 2017 : “There were many people that pretended that the oppression of the Jews was not going on. From 1933 to 1946. So this is not a new scenario. Except that this time it's the Palestinian People being murdered. "
  14. Massive criticism: Ex-Pink Floyd singer compares Israel with Nazi Germany. In: Spiegel Online . December 14, 2013, accessed January 8, 2017 .
  15. ' WDR ends cooperation with "Pink Floyd" star Roger Waters . In: Die Welt , November 27, 2017
  16. Michael Hanfeld: Roger Waters and the ARD - Lied des Antisemiten , In: November 27, 2017, accessed on November 28, 2017
  17. Joachim Huber: And where is the reference to the anti-Semitism of Luther and Wagner? , In: November 28, 2017
  18. Kirsten Dierolf: "Roger Waters, the pig and BDS." In: Samuel Salzborn (Ed.): Anti-Semitism since 9/11. Events, debates, controversies. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2019, p. 445
  19. Roger Waters: Israel is behind the death of George Floyd . Jewish Newspaper, June 22, 2020. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  20. Kevin D. Williamson: Green Floyd: Roger Waters and the Great Green Chevron Scam. In: October 30, 2018, accessed November 5, 2018 .
  21. ^ Court overturns judgment against US oil company Chevron in Ecuador. In: September 8, 2018, accessed November 5, 2018 .
  22. ^ Naomi West: Fashion junkie: India Waters . In: The Telegraph , August 24, 2005
  23. Roger Waters' ex-wife calls Pink Floyd founder an 'a *******' as she demands return of £ 20,000 Rolex watch . In: The Telegraph , December 18, 2015
  24. Roger Waters. In: November 28, 2011, accessed January 8, 2017 .