Early Years Pink Floyd Years Solo Years

Waters embarked on a solo career after Pink Floyd, producing three concept albums and a movie soundtrack which did not garner impressive sales. Solo works have managed critical acclaim and even some comparison to previous work with Pink Floyd.

His first truly solo album, 1984's The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, was a project about a man's dreams in a night. The list of musicians helping Waters during recording included legendary guitarist Eric Clapton and jazz saxophonist David Sanborn. Conceived around the same time as The Wall, the concept was shown to the Pink Floyd members, but they preferred The Wall over The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking. The album had been demoed by Waters at the same time as The Wall, but the band had voted it too personal. Waters decided to shelve it until he could do it as a solo project.

The album received mixed reviews, with Kurt Loder describing Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking in Rolling Stone as a "strangely static, faintly hideous record," adding that "Waters sounds like the kind of guy who'd bring Hershey bars and nylons along on a first date." (Loder gave the album one star out of five, though user ratings have averaged four out of five). On the other end of the spectrum, Mike DeGagne of the All Music Guide praised the album for its "ingenious symbolism and his brilliant use of stream of consciousness within a subconscious realm," rating it four out of five stars.

In 1986 Waters contributed songs to the soundtrack of the movie When the Wind Blows. His backing band, featuring keyboardist Paul Carrack, was credited as "The Bleeding Hearts Band".

In 1987 Waters (still accompanied by the Bleeding Hearts Band, although not always credited as such) released another concept album, Radio K.A.O.S., about a man named Billy who can hear radio waves in his head. Waters followed the release with a supporting tour, also in 1987. His album did not garner the impressive sales he had achieved in Pink Floyd. One possible reason was that he was now competing with a reformed Pink Floyd who were touring to support their latest release, A Momentary Lapse of Reason. At the time Waters was quoted to have said "I'm competing against myself and losing."

After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, Waters staged a gigantic charity concert of The Wall in Berlin on July 21, 1990 to commemorate the end of the division between East and West Germany. The concert took place on Potsdamer Platz (a location which was part of the former "no-man's land" of the Berlin Wall), featured many guest superstars, and was one of the biggest concert ever staged with an attendance of over 300,000 and watched live by over 5 million people worldwide.

1992's Amused to Death, about the corrupting, desensitizing nature of television, is perhaps Waters' most critically acclaimed solo recording, with music critics comparing it to later Pink Floyd work, such as The Wall. The album had one hit which was What God Wants, Pt. 1 which hit #4 on Mainstream Rock charts. Jeff Beck, another legendary guitarist, saw action on Waters' album as he played lead guitar.
Play video What God Wants

In 1999 Waters embarked on the In the Flesh tour which saw Waters performing some of his most famous work, both solo and Pink Floyd material. The tour was a success, and eventually stretched across the world. Tickets were at such high demand, that the tour had to be spanned over three years. Almost every show was sold out with some venues garnering more sales than Pink Floyd shows of early touring years.One concert was released on CD and DVD, named In the Flesh Live, after the tour.

In 2002 Waters performed at a concert organised by the Countryside Alliance in support of fox hunting [citation needed]. Waters has never publicly expressed any Tory allegiances and has, in fact, criticised the Thatcher Conservative government for their handling of the Falklands War on The Final Cut. In June of 2002 Waters played the Glastonbury Festival performing many classic Pink Floyd songs. This was the first time a special speaker system had been set up among the audience to enable sound effects to appear to be moving around amongst the crowd.

Miramax Films announced in mid-2004 that a production of The Wall is to appear on Broadway with Waters playing a prominent part in its production. Reports say the musical will contain not only the original tracks from The Wall, but also songs from Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and other Pink Floyd albums, as well as new material.

On the night of 1 May 2004, the overture for Ça Ira was pre-premièred on occasion of the Welcome Europe celebrations in the accession country of Malta, performed over Grand Harbour in Valletta and illuminated by light artist Gert Hof. The event was broadcast over all EBU television stations.

In September 2004, Waters released two new tracks, "To Kill The Child" and "Leaving Beirut". These were released only on the Internet. Both of these tracks were inspired by the U.S./UK 2003 invasion of Iraq. Waters, who currently resides in the U.S., has said that the songs were written immediately after the start of the war, but he delayed releasing them until just before the 2004 Presidential election, hoping to derail George W. Bush's re-election. The lyrics were quite rash such as: "Oh George! Oh George! That Texas education must have fucked you up when you were very small" (from "Leaving Beirut"). Although the songs' criticism was primarily aimed at the American government, Tony Blair is also referenced: "Not in my name, Tony, you great war leader".

After the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and subsequent tsunami disaster that occurred on December 26th 2004 (at 00:58 UTC), Waters performed "Wish You Were Here" with Eric Clapton on an NBC benefit concert.

Waters and Pink Floyd reunited for a performance at the Live 8 concert. They played a six-song, 23-minute set, including "Speak to Me/ Breathe/ Breathe (reprise)/ Money/ Wish you were Here/ Comfortably Numb". Before going into "Wish You Were Here", Waters said:

It's actually quite emotional standing up here with these three guys after all these years. Standing to be counted with the rest of you. Anyway, we're doing this for everyone who's not here, but particularly, of course, for Syd.

Waters remarked shortly after Live 8 to the Associated Press that, while the experience of playing as Pink Floyd again was positive, the chances of a bona-fide reunion would be 'slight', considering his and Gilmour's continuing musical and ideological differences. Gilmour commented that the experience was like "sleeping with my ex-wife again".

Waters is also known to be working on two new solo albums, which (as remarked to Jim Ladd, with whom he worked on Radio K.A.O.S.) one has the working title of Heartland, and that it might be released in 2006 or 2007. Two possible tracks from this album have appeared on In the Flesh Live ("Each Small Candle") and the compilation Flickering Flame: The Solo Years Vol. 1 ("Flickering Flame"). The other of the two albums deals with the theme of Love like his first solo album. A possible track is a song dubbed "Woman" which was heard during the sound checks for the "In the Flesh" tour.

In February of 2005, it was announced on Roger Waters' website that his opera, Ça Ira, had been completed after 16 years of work. It was released as a CD/DVD set by Sony Classical on September 27, 2005 with Baritone Bryn Terfel, soprano Ying Huang and tenor Paul Groves. The original libretto was written in French by the late Étienne Roda-Gil, who set the opera during the optimistic days of the early French Revolution. From 1997 Roger Waters rewrote the libretto in English.

On May 20th, 2006 he performed with a set band consisting of Roger Taylor and Eric Clapton and band-mate Nick Mason performing two songs, 'Wish You Were Here' and 'Comfortably Numb'.

Roger Waters toured Europe during the Summer of 2006 and North America in the fall for his The Dark Side Of The Moon Live Tour. As part of his performance he played a complete run-through of the 1973 Pink Floyd classic, The Dark Side Of The Moon, as the second half of the show. The first half was a mix of Floyd classics and Roger's solo material. Elaborate staging designed by Mark Fisher, complete with projections, and a full, 360 degree quadrophonic sound system were used. This new Waters' solo tour is expected to be as successful as his previous In the Flesh tour. His former Pink Floyd bandmate, Nick Mason joined Roger on some of the tour dates. Rick Wright was invited to participate on the tour as well but he declined the offer to work on solo projects. [8] There is also a 2007 leg of the Tour, starting in January in Australia and going through Asia, Europe, South America, and finally North America in June.

Waters' former bandmate Nick Mason began patching their relationship in 2002. After speaking to Mason and Bob Geldof about a possible Pink Floyd reunion at Live 8, Waters contacted Gilmour by phone and e-mail, and it appears that they have buried the hatchets since the historic concert and apparently now communicate on a friendly basis. Waters has made overtures to Richard Wright, as well. Syd Barrett, who died on Friday 7th of July 2006, remained an emotional subject for most of his friends and former colleagues. Waters said in interviews before Barrett's death that it would be difficult and inappropriate for him to try to insert himself back into his old friend's life.