Born George Roger Waters on the sixth of september, 1943 in Great Bookham Surrey. Waters had lost his father in World War II and was left living with his mother. He had a normal upbringing in postwar England, and as a school boy was able to attend Saturday art classes where he met his future bandmate, Syd Barrett.
Waters attended London's Regent Street Polytechnic during the early 1960's as the music scene began flaring up. Like many of his future bandmates, Waters spent a lot of his time playing small clubs and gatherings, as he jumped from band to band. He eventually picked up the bassist for a band which became known as the abadbas. As they played alot of different gigs (mainly covers of old Jazz songs and Beatles tunes), Syd Barrett joined the band as the guitarist.
With the addition of Barrett, the abadbas became sigma 6 and eventually with the departure of Bob Close became Pink Floyd or The Pink Floyd Experience as they were sometimes billed. The actions of Waters during his Pink Floyd days are well documented and shall be ignored.
After he left Pink Floyd, Roger Waters began a successful solo career. He released three albums after he left Pink Floyd. The Pros and Cons of Hitch hiking, Radio KAOS, and Amused to Death. None of these albums had the critical success of any of his Pink Floyd work, but they were well done. At the current moment, Roger Waters is setting up a tour of Europe under the "In the Flesh" title.
As we look back on Roger Waters' career from his beginnings on Piper at the gates of dawn to his last solo piece Amused to Death, we can see several evolutions of both his musical ability and lyrical style. We can watch as his personal feelings began to flood into his work and cloud his lyrics with anger and rage. I believe that most of his work was excellent but his personal evolution seemed to create works that were excellent for far different reasons.
As we look over his work as a musician, his abilities seem to stay rather stagnant from his first work even up until The Final Cut when he stopped playing the bass parts. Though he is a fine bass player, his bass lines seemed to be medicore at best. Most of Pink Floyd's bassy songs, especially Money, are dominated by a repetitive and simplistic bass line never really shows Waters' true abilities with his instrument.
As for his lyrical style, we see a serious change in his style as he breaks away from the 1960's acid wave into a more defined style of his own making. He goes from being a sideman to Syd barrett to being the powerhouse behind Pink Floyd. If you compare Let there be more light with Time, you can see obviously the more serious nature of Waters' style of lyrics.
As we track his lyrical style from his first published song, Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk, to his work with Amused to Death, we can see an evolution from a pop sound to a more defined style of his own. However, the evolution of his work is deeply related with the history of the band and his personal struggles with the image of the band after Syd Barrett's departure. In fact, many people felt that Pink Floyd was a sinking ship and only Barrett was smart enough to leave. However, the talent of the band, especially Richard Wright, allowed the band to thrive.
Waters and Wright were the main power behind the songs of A saucerful of secrets, and though Waters wrote the majority of the lyrics for the album, Wright's lyrical style was more defined and enjoyable than those of Waters. The clash of these two musicians later enfluenced Waters push for Wright's departure later on. However, this struggle also forced Waters to bring more definition to his songs.
The albums before Darkside of the moon showed Waters development at the detriment of Wright. Waters began taking full control of the sound and content of Pink Floyd's albums. Waters used much of his own unhappy past to influence his work and the emotions of the songs which later led to the autobiographical natures of the later albums. Waters was beginning to define himself as a musician and a lead singer.
With Darkside, Waters came into his own, writing all the lyrics for the album. Darkside's success lay in the use of personal feelings on the part of Waters as he dealt with the years after Barrett's departure. He was getting older and his life was beginning to pass him as he began to submit to the band. This change brought about the subtle, and later overt, anger of his albums.
Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall are the staples of Waters' style. They depict his own life and, in many ways, the deteriorization of Syd Barrett and himself from the rock and roll life. This use brought some of the most intriguing and amazing lyrics of the later albums. This was the apex of his style as a lyricist and was the apex of the band's fame, The Wall and Darkside of the Moon still rank in the top ten best selling albums of all time.
His later work departed from this autobiographical style of content albums for a more politically oriented style. Though stil lyrically incredible, the last Pink Floyd album and Waters' solo records failed to reach the same levels as his earlier work. These final albums defined his style but left much of the emotion of his previous work.