Roger Waters

As an only child born to older parents – one of whom was ill for most of my life – I spent much of my time alone. I still do. Music was, and is, important to me and my well-being. As you will see if you read some of the other letters, there are four musicians who I particularly admire and Roger Waters is one of them…


Dear Roger

There can’t be many heroes with whom you share almost no fundamental views and values. But this is certainly the case with you and me. I find myself drawn in to a polarised world where I wholeheartedly disagree with the political, economic and ideological bedrock that inspires albums such as Radio KAOS and Amused to Death, but being simultaneously moved – sometimes to tears – by their craft, emotion and intonation.

Roger Waters autograph photo

My signed photo of the man I disagree with so much!

Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking – an album rarely mentioned let alone acclaimed – showcases two of your most emotional pieces, Go Fishing and Every Strangers Eyes (although, to feel the ultimate spine-tingling of the latter, you need to catch it live on In The Flesh). The most frighteningly powerful album sequence I’ve ever experienced is found on Kaos – the three tracks Home, Four Minutes and Tide is Turning. In fact, to me Home is your best song ever – the premise that everyone has somewhere, something or someone they call home is so very true. And then we come to Amused to Death which is the ultimate paradox I was talking about earlier: I disagree with its political and ideological foundations, yet it’s the most intensely moving treasury of words and music I possess. Then, for raw heart-breaking melancholy, it’s Don’t Leave Me Now and Nobody Home, from The Wall, live.

Back in 1986 I remember reading a rare article about you in The Times. As you were – at that time, anyway – somewhat notorious for being uncommunicative with fans, I thought I’d try to contact you indirectly – by writing to the journalist and see if he would pass on a few poems I had written. He agreed and I sent them, even enclosing a stamped addressed envelope. Weeks passed and I assumed they had disappeared in to the ether. Then one day, just before Christmas, I was skipping down the stairs to spy that same white envelope sitting on the door mat. I swept it up and slit it open to find a hand-written letter from you, a photograph of which is shown below. Not bad for the man they call Mr Misery Guts!

Roger Waters letter

The letter from Roger Waters, Christmas 1986

So thank you, Roger – for the words, the music – and the polarisations!

Simon Bailey

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