Personalities | Pink Floyd | The Waters-Led Era (1978) | Key Events

Tax Exile

Album sales and tour receipts made Pink Floyd one of the most financially, as well as commercially, successful bands in the world. Due to pungent UK tax laws that would take up to 83 per cent of all income – leaving them with 17 pence from every pound earned – they were eventually advised to seek shelter by living overseas. Rick Wright was the first to go into financial exile, moving to the Greek island of Rhodes and Roger Waters later moved to Los Angeles. The band could spend a proportion of time in the UK but would, in future, have to plan recording sessions around their accountant’s tax-planning strategies.


David Gilmour

In June and July 1978 Dave Gilmour gave a series of rare interviews to promote his debut eponymous solo album (which had been released in May of that year). Although questions probed the guitarist about Floyd’s working practices and future plans, Gilmour was more comfortable discussing the musical reunion with two former Joker’s Wild members – Rick Willis (bass) and Willie Wilson (drums) who appeared on this warm album with him. The album sold well in America and the UK and Gilmour told one journalist why there was something missing in each sleeve: ‘I’ve never been keen on my lyric sheets because I’m not sure that my lyrics stand up.’ Which is nonsense, as ‘Fat Old Sun’ and ‘Mudmen’ show.


New Material

In September 1977 Roger Waters had begun to write a batch of new songs that were set down as rough demos at his home studio from January 1978. When he presented them to the rest of the band in the summer he had songs for two concept pieces: ‘The Wall’ and ‘The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking’. After much discussion the band opted for ‘The Wall’ concept. ‘The basic structure was there,’ Nick Mason was to recall in later years, ‘like a skeleton with lots of bones missing.’ Preliminary work in adding flesh started at Britannia Road Studios in November 1978.


Wright’s Wet Dream

Although Dave Gilmour’s solo album sold well on the back of his promotional interviews, Richard Wright’s Wet Dream failed to dent even the lower reaches of the chart when released in September 1978. Not that Wright, the most laid-back and reclusive member of Floyd was bothered. The title had less to do with sexual matters than Wright’s enjoyment of sailing his new yacht in Greece. The light cocktail jazz feel of tracks like ‘Mediterranean C’, ‘Cat Cruise’, ‘Waves’ and ‘Mad Yannis Dance’ were a million miles away from the strident sound of Animals and the growing Waters-led claustrophobia surrounding Pink Floyd.

Personalities | Introducing Pink Floyd
Personalities | Pink Floyd | The Waters-Led Era (1979) | Key Events

Source: Pink Floyd Revealed, by Ian Shirley


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