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Roger Waters was the singer, songwriter and bassist for the British rock band Pink Floyd. He also has had an extensive solo career.
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Roger Waters was born in Surrey, England, in 1943. In grammar school he was friends with David Gilmour and Syd Barrett. He met Nick Mason and Richard Wright in college, and Pink Floyd was born. After Barrett’s departure, Waters led the group, writing most of the songs on the band’s most successful albums. He left to pursue a solo career in 1985,
and has toured and recorded his own material since.
George Roger Waters was born September 6, 1943, in Surrey, England. His father, Eric, was killed in World War II when Waters was five months old, and his mother, Mary, moved him and his older brother to Cambridge. Waters went to elementary and high school with Syd Barrett, and knew David Gilmour, who also lived nearby. After he graduated, Waters went to London to study architecture at Regent Street Polytechnic, now the University of Westminster, where he met Nick Mason and Richard Wright.
Within a year of moving to London, Waters, Mason and Wright were in a band together, Sigma Six, along with Keith Noble and Clive Metcalfe. Noble and Metcalfe soon left, and the band went through other iterations and other names, including the Abdabs, the Screaming Abdabs, Leonard's Lodgers, Spectrum Five and Tea Set. In 1965, Syd Barrett joined the group and Pink Floyd was born.
The only song on Pink Floyd’s debut album not penned by Barrett was written by Waters: “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk.” After Barrett’s departure, Waters became the front man for the band, and exerted progressively more control over the band’s artistic direction. He wrote most of the songs on the albums The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall, and all of the songs on The Final Cut.
After releasing The Final Cut, Waters declared Pink Floyd “a spent force.” He announced his decision to leave in 1985, and initiated a legal battle to prevent the remaining members from using the name Pink Floyd. He ultimately lost his case, but retained the rights to The Wall.
In 1984, Waters released his first solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking, featuring Eric Clapton on guitar, and began touring. The album and the tour were poorly received, and Waters lost more than $600,000 on the endeavor. His second album, Radio K.A.O.S., fared somewhat better.
The Berlin Wall fell late in 1989, and the following spring, Rogers staged “The Wall -- Live in Berlin,” a charity concert that attracted hundreds of thousands of attendees and a billion TV viewers. It was an elaborate affair that included performances by Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams and Sinéad O'Connor, as well as an East German orchestra, a Soviet marching band and U.S. military helicopters. Many well-known musicians were invited, but Waters snubbed his former bandmates.
Two years later he released Amused to Death, his most successful solo album. This was his last studio album until 2005, when he released Ça Ira, a three-act opera about the French Revolution.
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