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The man behind The Wall, Roger Waters founded Britain's maiden psychedelic band, Pink Floyd, in 1965 with cohorts Syd Barrett, Richard Wright and Nick Mason. Solely a bassist at first, Waters grabbed the songwriting reigns from Barrett in 1968, when the erratic, schizophrenic frontman checked himself into a mental hospital. Passing the torch did not alter Pink Floyd's dark, mystical formula. Waters went on to pen albums like Saucerful of Secrets and Ummagumma, which charted the singer/songwriter's fall into bitter territory.

Pink Floyd ascended from the ranks of British cult band to international sensation in 1973, the year The Dark Side of the Moon debuted on the charts. Waters wrote every lyric and a good chunk of music for that groundbreaking work, which would remain on Billboard's Top 200 album chart longer than any other release in history. The fire burned even brighter on The Wall, the mind-altering 1979 album about the mental tribulations of a successful, suicidal rocker. Waters sang most of the lead vocals on this simultaneous cult, critical and mainstream phenomenon.

Fame bore down on Pink Floyd after The Wall, causing rifts so deep between Wright and Waters that the keyboardist split from the band. Water's bleakest, darkest work would follow with The Final Cut, "a requiem for the postwar dream" that became a final farewell for Pink Floyd as well Waters left the band shortly after completing the album.

In 1984 Waters released his first solo effort, The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking. This was followed two years later by a lawsuit against Mason and guitarist David Gilmour, asking the court to dissolve the band's one-time partnership and bar them from using the name Pink Floyd. Waters lost the suit and was forced to watch as Pink Floyd's Momentary Lapse of Reason climbed the charts in 1987. Busy with his next solo project, Radio K.A.O.S, Waters stood by empty handed as his former bandmates grossed $30 million touring in support of that album.

Waters assembled an all-star cast, including Sinead O'Connor, Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison, in 1980 to perform a version of The Wall at the site of the Berlin Wall -- a feat that was chronicled in The Wall -- Live in Berlin. In 1992, Waters released his third solo record, Amused to Death. In the meantime, Pink Floyd raked in millions of dollars with its 1994 tour for Division Bell.

 



 

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