Today (21 March 2013) is the 30th anniversary of the landmark Pink Floyd album…The Final Cut.
With Roger Waters’ overbearing creative dominance at its height and the absence of keyboardist Rick Wright, The Final Cut is very much the black sheep, mule, runt of the litter call it what you will of Pink Floyd’s legendary back catalogue.
But what a brilliant runt it is.
The Final Cut reached #1 in the U.K. album charts and stayed there for two weeks. Both The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and The Wall (1979) failed to reach the top spot. It also topped the album charts in: France, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.
Around the time the album was recorded and released the U.K. had just reclaimed the Falkland Islands from Argentina; and the Cold War was looking as if it was going to boil over. The I.R.A. was also rather active.
Waters’ father, Eric Fletcher Waters, was killed at the Battle of Anzio in 1944 and his sense of loss as well as the anger and frustration of seeing his country going to war again is easy to spot in his lyrics, hence the album’s anti-war concept.
Historical and contemporary figures aren’t spared from his wrath either.
As mentioned earlier, the late Rick Wright did not appear on this album because Waters had fired him just before The Wall Tour some three years earlier.
Drummer Nick Mason and guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour were also surplus to requirements on some songs due to the bass players’ dictatorial leadership of the band.
But this didn’t stop Gilmour from producing some of his most brilliant and raw guitar solos which save the album musically.
This was the only Pink Floyd album that wasn’t supported by a tour and both Waters and Gilmour recorded and toured as solo artists in 1984 with The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking and About Face respectively.
The Final Cut was the last Pink Floyd album Waters would appear on as he left the band in 1985 calling it “a spent force.”
F*** all that
Gilmour-led Pink Floyd recorded and released two albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994) as well as two accompanying live albums and videos, Delicate Sound of Thunder (1988) and P*U*L*S*E (1995) from their massively successful world tours.
Waters on the other hand lacked commercial success as solo artist, but that doesn’t mean Radio K.A.O.S. (1987) and Amused to Death (1992) aren’t great albums. They are.
The 12 tracks on The Final Cut’s original release are: The Post War Dream, Your Possible Pasts, One of the Few, The Hero’s Return, The Gunner’s Dream, Paranoid Eyes, Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert, The Fletcher Memorial Home, Southampton Dock, The Final Cut, Not Now John and Two Suns in the Sunset.
When the Tigers Broke Free was inserted between One of the Few and The Hero’s Return on the 2004 re-release.
A 19-minute ‘video EP’ was released to promote the album, starring Alex McAvoy who played the teacher in the film version of The Wall and Waters himself as a psychologist’s patient.
I wrote this article because we Floydians all over the world are preparing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Dark Side of the Moon on Sunday 24 March.
But I have heard nothing about The Final Cut’s 30th anniversary.
Former F.I.A. president Max Mosley had the right idea back in 1994: “I went to Roland Ratzenberger’s funeral because everyone went to Ayrton Senna’s. I thought it was important that somebody went to his.”
The EP contains: The Gunner’s Dream, The Final Cut, Not Now John and The Fletcher Memorial Home.
You can watch it here: