All the friends we thought we could rely on
In the well-known interview Roger Waters gave Penthouse in 1988, he stated, "...Gilmour has built up an entire cast of backstage characters that he's sought to enlist as sources of material for the next so-called Pink Floyd album." He went on to suggest that Gilmour was willing to ally himself with anyone who could help make records that sound like Pink Floyd had sounded prior to Waters' departure.
That's probably a fair statement.
But what Waters doesn't like to admit is that he has done the same thing. A Momentary Lapse of Reason may have contained input from some 20 people--musicians, producers, and songwriters--and The Division Bell features about the same number. But The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Radio KAOS, and Amused to Death used 15, 20, and 35 musicians respectively.
Going back even further, on The Wall the non-Floyd musicians outnumbered the Floyds at least 2-to-1 (not counting the orchestra and the choir of schoolchildren, or the Welsh choir that appeared on the film soundtrack). The Dark Side of the Moon used six non-bandmembers, not to mention the important production work done by Alan Parsons and Chris Thomas. And the Floyds have supplemented their live act with additional musicians since 1974.
Try to imagine Pink Floyd without the haunting sax solos. Imagine the Floyd without the female backing vocals. What would the Floyd have sounded like on the 1977 tour without Snowy White? And while David Gilmour has admittedly required a lot of songwriting assistance in the post-Waters era, Waters has used a dozen different guitarists (including big names such as Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck) in attempts to fill Gilmour's shoes.
My point? Like it or not, the armies of assorted session musicians, backup singers, arrangers, engineers, and producers are an important part of Pink Floyd's heritage. In this issue of Spare Bricks, we celebrate the sidemen that have become a part of the Floydian universe, and say thanks for helping the Floyd sound like the Floyd.