The Theft of Pink Floyd

“Roger comes up with the concepts — he’s the preacher of the group and spends more time home writing with Pink Floyd in mind. We get along fine. I know what I give to our sound, and he knows it, too. It’s not a question of him forcing his ideas on us. I get my ideas across as much as I want to. They would use more of my music if I wrote it.”

~ David Gilmour, Rolling Stone, 1978

When David Gilmour and (it seemed at the time) the other members of Pink Floyd decided to continue on without Roger Waters, I, like most other Pink Floyd fans, didn’t think much of it. While I couldn’t imagine how there could be a Pink Floyd without Roger Waters (Floyd’s principal songwriter and lyricist throughout their career), I felt no ill-will toward Mr. Gilmour. After all, he was a member of Pink Floyd for well over a decade prior to Roger Waters’ departure. I felt that he and the others had earned the right to continue on as Pink Floyd.

Since then, David Gilmour himself has changed my opinion on this.

Gilmour and the new Pink Floyd, Inc. has mounted a campaign with the intent of rewriting history, in an effort to convince all of us that Roger Waters didn’t have as much to do with Pink Floyd as history has recorded. For those of us who were there, and who grew up listening to Pink Floyd, it’s simple to separate the truth from the bullshit. But for the younger generations who were not there, it’s very easy to believe that David Gilmour was the primary architect behind Pink Floyd, and not Roger Waters. After all, there is evidence, right? And besides, it was Gilmour’s voice on most of those old Pink Floyd songs, right? Sorry. It was Gilmour singing Waters’ lyrics.

This brings me to my point, and the impetus for the creation of this web page.

It’s one thing for David Gilmour to continue on as Pink Floyd; even when the other members of Pink Floyd, Nick Mason and Richard Wright, have very little to do with it (and Pink Floyd as a group no longer exists); even when it takes scores of studio musicians and producers to even approximate the sound and soul which Pink Floyd lost when Roger Waters left. That I could deal with, and would not begrudge Mr. Gilmour. After all, there’s a lot of money to be made with the name “Pink Floyd.” I even ignored his ongoing spat with Roger Waters.

The implication that David Gilmour and Bob Ezrin try to leave with the public is either 1) that Waters and Gilmour were an equal songwriting team, or, worse, 2) that Roger Waters was little more than a supporting musician for David Gilmour, even though long-time fans know that, if anything, it was the other way around. David Gilmour had been the primary singer in the early days, but after Dark Side of the Moon, Roger Waters and Gilmour began to split the vocal chores fairly evenly (though nearly 100% of all lyrics, and 80% of all music recorded by Pink Floyd was written by Roger Waters).

There are many examples of David Gilmour’s attempt to write Roger Waters out of the history of Pink Floyd, even as the new Pink Floyd, Inc. roams the countryside making millions of dollars performing Roger Waters’ material.

While I had originally intended to present the evidence of these lies and misinformation, in the words of Gilmour himself, to the general public, in an effort to help younger and newer fans of Pink Floyd understand that they are being mislead by a faceless corporation that is masquerading as a once influential rock band. I realized, however, that the first article listed above says all that needs to be said. The others support my contention that it was Roger Waters, and not David Gilmour, who was the primary architect behind all the wonderful music that we call Pink Floyd.

David Gilmour is one of the most influential guitarists in rock and roll history, and is the author of some of the most tasteful guitar work to ever be recorded. But beyond that, and the work he and dozens of writers and musicians have created in the years since Roger Waters’ departure, he has no claim to the legacy that is Pink Floyd. I believe that Mr. Gilmour has confused his court-given legal right to use the Pink Floyd name with the right to claim the credit for all of Roger Waters’ incredible work.

I do not begrudge him the use of the name Pink Floyd. But when he pretends that it was he, and not Roger Waters, who created all that influential music, anyone who was there during the sixties and the seventies has a moral obligation to step forward and declare “That man is a liar.”

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