Roger Waters and John Lennon are two of the most eminent songwriters of all time, and without their contributions, life would be very different to what it is today. In short, they are both pioneers, and their glittering back catalogs are brimming with moments so forward-thinking for their time that today they remain just as astounding as they were back then.
The former was the co-frontman of the most significant band of all time, The Beatles. He wrote many classics with his bandmates, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, with each member a vital cog in the machine. Formed in 1960, over the course of the decade, the ‘Fab Four’ embarked on a personal and creative odyssey, going from sugary teeny boppers to cerebral masters of psychedelic pop.
Their story is a remarkable one, and although they were together for only ten years, by the time they split in 1970, the world of music was ready to move into the orgiastic light of the future with all the subgenres, movements and aesthetic choices it had to offer.
As for Roger Waters, he is one of the masters at pushing rock’s boundaries. The bass player of Pink Floyd, after the departure of the band’s original frontman Syd Barrett in 1968, he and David Gilmour formed a formidable partnership that gave even Lennon-McCartney a run for their money. From The Dark Side of the Moon to The Wall, he has many masterpieces to his name, and without his deeply penetrating artistic direction, it is certain that we would not be talking about Pink Floyd in such hallowed terms today.
It transpires that Waters is a lifelong fan of Lennon’s, and over his career, he has discussed the impact the late Beatles man had on him. “I only met John Lennon once, to my huge regret, and that was in the control room at Number 2,” Roger Waters once recalled to Rolling Stone, touching on the similarities in their personalities. “He was a bit acerbic. He was quite snotty – so was I!”
Then, in a 2000 MSN webcast, when asked what his three wishes are, Waters replied: “That the innocent should be spared, the guilty should be forgiven and that John Lennon should have been seen as right when he said, ‘all you need is love.’”
Waters’ respect for Lennon and the rest of his Beatles bandmates reared its head again in 2015 when he sat down with KLCS. He revealed that he learned much from Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, and in particular, that it’s okay to be honest in his songwriting.
“I learned from John Lennon and Paul McCartney and George Harrison,” he expressed, “that it was okay for us to write about our lives, and what we felt — and to express ourselves… That we could be free artists and that there was a value in that freedom. And there was.”