Rock

Pink Floyd: the long and brutal history of Roger Waters and David Gilmour’s feud

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In the expansive realm of rock, few feuds have resonated as enduringly as the strained relationship between Pink Floyd luminaries Roger Waters and David Gilmour. Despite the band’s colossal success, marked by millions of albums sold, world-conquering tours, and a legacy as one of the music industry’s giants, the camaraderie between Waters and Gilmour has seemingly grown more acrimonious with time.

Endowed with a searing artistic vision, Waters has consistently displayed a penchant for sailing his creative ship, preferring captaincy over collaboration. After Syd Barrett’s departure, Gilmour’s entrance into Pink Floyd in 1968, initially harmonized with the band’s success. However, as years unfolded, a power struggle ensued, leading to Waters’ departure in 1985 and a subsequent bitter legal battle.

Upon his exit, Waters invoked the ‘Leaving Member’ clause in his contract, initiating High Court proceedings to dissolve Pink Floyd, deeming it creatively spent. Gilmour and Mason countered, asserting the band’s resilience and ongoing creative pursuits. Eventually, a legal resolution was reached in 1987, with Waters resigning under financial duress.

In a 2013 BBC interview, Waters acknowledged the fallacy of attempting to dissolve the band, admitting, “I was wrong! Of course, I was.” Despite this realization, the lingering animosity endured, with Waters expressing frustration in 2020 over being barred from Pink Floyd’s official online platforms by Gilmour. This public spat underscored the persistent strains in their relationship.

The watershed moment he arrived in 2005 when Pink Floyd momentarily set aside differences for a charity performance at Live 8. However, the prospect of a lasting reunion remains elusive. Even a staggering $150 million offer for a U.S. tour after the Hyde Park show couldn’t entice Waters and Gilmour to collaborate again.

The feud intensified in 2022, with Waters alleging Gilmour’s obstruction of the Animals album re-release. Gilmour, in response, dismissed Waters’ attempts to force unauthorized liner notes, citing disagreements. The public exchange further highlighted the irreconcilable differences between the two.

In a bizarre turn, Waters waded into geopolitical commentary, attracting controversy and criticism. His open letter to the Ukrainian first lady and perceived defense of Putin stirred debates on war crimes, resulting in accusations of anti-Semitism and placement on a supposed Ukrainian “kill list.”

Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson, publicly rebuked Waters, labeling him an anti-Semite and Putin apologist. Gilmour endorsed Samson’s assertions, deepening the schism. Despite Waters’ assertion that his views stem from questioning Western media narratives, the fallout underscored the rift’s impact beyond music.

As the feud persists, fueled by personal and political differences, the hope for reconciliation dwindles. The Waters-Gilmour saga, spanning nearly four decades, leaves a poignant sense of loss for Pink Floyd fans, yearning for a resolution that seems increasingly unlikely. Whether the bitterness stems from artistic disagreements or extends into global affairs, the once-mighty collaboration of Waters and Gilmour remains an unresolved chord in the symphony of rock history.

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