Roger Waters: Tear Down The Wall

By: Nathan Chandler
Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Most rock stars burn out and fade away, but Roger Waters has never been a typical musician. As the primary visionary behind Pink Floyd, he's created some of the most famous rock songs ever written. Alternately domineering and introspective, he's an artist for the ages. How much do you know about the man behind "The Dark Side of the Moon"?

What subject was Waters studying when he decided to become a part of Pink Floyd?

Waters had a keen mind and nearly took up engineering before deciding on architecture. While taking classes, he met future band members Richard Wright and Nick Mason.

When Waters first helped to form Pink Floyd, what was his job in the band?

Waters mostly just played bass guitar. But after Syd Barrett left the band, he stepped into a much more prominent role, shaping the band's unique artistry.

After Barrett left the band due to mental issues, what role did Waters take?

Waters became the band's primary lyricist, and as such, he controlled the group's artistic direction. His work veers from depressive and moody to enlightened and introspective.

Pink Floyd was Waters' first band.

Waters played in a couple of other bands before joining Syd Barrett, the original mastermind behind Pink Floyd.

How did Waters feel about his time in Britain's educational system?

Waters attended a school that he said was oppressive. It was that very oppressiveness that helped spark his rebellious musical streak.

After Barrett left Pink Floyd, Waters primarily split vocals with which band member?

Waters and Gilmour took up most of the vocals work, with Wright stepping in from time to time. Waters and Gilmour would later develop famous interpersonal friction.

What is Waters' actual first name?

His given name is George Roger Waters. He was born during a World War II air raid, a subject that would appear as a theme in some of his life's work.

Waters couldn't match the artistic power of the departed Syd Barrett.

Although Barrett was unquestionably a creative force in the band, Waters had plenty of good ideas for Pink Floyd, too. He guided the band's most impressive work.

How did Waters' father die?

Eric Waters started World War II a conscientious objector, but he witnessed too many awful sights -- he took up arms for the Allies against the Germans. He was killed at the Battle of Anzio when Roger was still a baby.

What did Waters' mother do for a living?

Mary Waters was a teacher. The concept of teaching, education and authority all impacted Roger's artistic sensibilities. Many of his songs oppose those in power.

In the early 70s, Pink Floyd became more and more popular. How did that affect Waters' creative control?

In the early 70s, the band's popularity exploded, and Waters took more control over Pink Floyd's direction. Under his guidance, the band made some of its most important albums.

Waters wrote all of the lyrics for "The Dark Side of the Moon."

Waters did indeed write all of this famous album's lyrics. And he wrote almost all of the music, too, meaning he was by far the album's primary life force.

Why did Waters leave Pink Floyd in 1985?

The band generated growing interpersonal animosity for many years. Finally, Waters couldn't take it anymore, and he decided to launch a solo career.

What was the name of Waters' first solo album?

In 1984, Waters released his first solo effort, "The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking." The album unfolds as a tale of a man suffering a midlife crisis.

Which Pink Floyd album is dedicated to Waters' father?

Waters dedicated "The Final Cut" to his father, who died in World War II. The album is a powerful denunciation of war.

Why did "The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking" generate a bit of controversy?

The cover of the album showed a nude female hitchhiker from behind. At one point, the record company covered her naked body parts with a black box in order to stop complaints from the public.

On "The Final Cut," Waters sings a line that goes "Maggie what have we done?" He wrote that line in reference to what world event?

When Argentina captured the British Falklands Islands in the early 80s, Britain's Margaret Thatcher ordered a violent response to retake the area. Waters thought "Maggie" overreacted and killed soldiers for no good reason.

In 2005 Waters released "Ca Ira," which was what kind of work of art?

"Ca Ira" is a three-part opera. Waters eventually performed it live as part of a full opera, an expensive undertaking that wowed many audiences.

How did his solo album "Amused to Death" fare with music critics?

Most critics had a positive impression of "Amused to Death," the third solo effort from Waters. The musician himself is certain that album should have received more applause than it did.

Waters wrote almost all of the material for Pink Floyd's most successful albums. Which album was the most successful?

"The Wall" sold upwards of 20 million copies, but that's still roughly half of the business that "The Dark Side of the Moon" brought in. Combined, these albums make Pink Floyd one of the best-selling bands of all-time.

"Radio Waves" was the first single from which album?

"Radio Waves" was the opening song (and lead single) from "Radio K.A.O.S.," an album that did well in the United States. The album revolves around a man who can intercept and understand radio waves with his brain.

How many albums has Pink Floyd released without Waters?

David Gilmour and Nick Mason decided to forge ahead without Waters. To date, they've released three Waters-less albums, two of which have sold many millions of copies.

"The Wall" is an album that is founded mostly on whose life story?

As Pink Floyd's fame blossomed, Waters felt ever more disconnected from his band members and even himself. The result was an oppressive masterpiece titled "The Wall."

With regards to touring, Roger Waters is the highest-grossing solo artist of all time.

Waters has embarked on multiple ambitious world tours, and they've all been massively successful. He's made more money than any other solo artist on tour.

Waters trails just two bands in all-time gross ticket sales. Which band does Waters NOT trail?

Both U2 and The Rolling Stones have grossed more than Waters, but he has the Beatles -- and every other band -- beaten, hands down.

Why did Waters leave Pink Floyd and then file a lawsuit?

Waters left the band and then demanded that they stop using the Pink Floyd name. In the end, they came to an agreement that allowed Mason and Gilmour to use the long-standing band name.

In 2010, as he was in his late 60s, Waters launched "The Wall Live" tour. How many dates did he play?

Even late in life, Waters is an unstoppable machine. He played 219 tour dates around the world. More than 4 million people saw the show.

Waters has never shied away from politics. What did Roger Waters have to say about U.S. President Donald Trump?

Waters called Trump a greedy, emotionally dead man who is ultimately nothing more than a con artist.

Waters reunited with Pink Floyd for a concert in 2005. Where did the concert take place?

The band set aside their past differences and came together for the Live 8 concert in London. It had been more than two decades since their last show as a full band.

Waters has finally retired from touring.

At 73 years old, Waters announced a new tour for 2017. He promises that the shows will be a spectacular blend of new and old material.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes