Waters recalls Beatles lesson in songwriting
Former Floyd man remembers the moment he heard Sgt Pepper – and how it helped shape Dark Side Of The Moon
Roger Waters has recalled the important lesson he learned from the Beatles – and his shocked reaction to hearing Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for the first time.
Pink Floyd recorded debut album Piper At The Gates Of Dawn in London’s Abbey Road Studios, while the Fab Four worked on their iconic 1967 album in the next room.
But Floyd didn’t hear it until they were touring the UK as part of a package tour headed by Jimi Hendrix and also featuring The Move, The Nice, Amen Corner and Eire Apparent.
Waters tells KLCS: “I remember pulling the car over into a lay-by, and we sat and listened. Somebody played the whole thing on the radio. I remember sitting in this old beat-up Zephyr 4, just completely stunned.
“I learned a lot from protest music when I was a young teenager. But I learned from John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison that it was okay for us to write about our lives, what we felt, to express ourselves.”
Referring to the era when impresarios including Larry Parnes manufactured stars who performed songs written for them in Tin Pan Alley, he reflects: “We didn’t need someone to tell us what to sing and how to sing it.”
That vital lesson crystallised in Floyd’s 1973 masterpiece The Dark Side Of The Moon. Waters explains: “We’d cracked it. That was the first thing we’d made that was really beautifully crafted – but also, significantly, it was about a lot of things.
“That’s what’s made it stand the test of time.”