Roger Waters' Best Songs About His Late Father
Wednesday was Rocks Off's dad's birthday. We're fortunate to have had him in our lives as we were growing up, and also to be around now when we're older (and a parent) as well and can appreciate the kind of crap he put up with raising us and our brother and sisters.
Former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters, who plays The Wall soup to nuts at a sold-out Toyota Center Saturday, wasn't so lucky. His father, Eric Fletcher Waters, was killed at Anzio in 1944 when Roger was a newborn. The death of his father "in the corner of some foreign field" has had a lasting impact, and led to some of the band's most affecting songs.
"Free Four" (Obscured By Clouds)
It's an oddly bouncy tune, especially accompanying lyrics like "You are the angel of death/ And I am the dead man's son." The dead man, we learn, was "buried like a mole in a foxhole." Released in 1972, this is perhaps Waters' first foray into exploring his feelings about his long-dead father in Pink Floyd's music.
The death of Waters' father in WWII is, quite literally, the cornerstone of the Wall; both the album and the metaphorical construct therein. The childlike abandon of "Thin Ice" fades into dawning comprehension as Pink realizes "Daddy's flown across the ocean/ Leaving just a memory." This absence forms the foundation of his alienation that mother, school, and marriage will build upon.
The Final Cut is basically Waters' first solo album, and is an even more scathing indictment of war than The Wall was. The album is dedicated to Waters' father, whose name not-so-coincidentally graces the home where "colonial wasters of life and limb" would be dealt with appropriately.
The only song that goes into detail (painfully so ) about the exact circumstances of the elder Waters' death, this was actually difficult to find for a while. It wasn't on the album release of The Wall, but appeared in the film (it was available on bootleg film soundtracks), and it wasn't on The Final Cut until the 2004 remaster.
"Maggie what have we done?" the early 80s, to Waters, signaled the end of the post-WWII idea that England would seek means other than war to resolve their differences. In his view, Thatcher betrayed the memories of the men -- like his father -- who'd fought and died to guarantee the nation's freedom when she launched a naval task force to take back the Falklands from Argentina.
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