The legendary inflatable Floyd pig was conceived by Roger Waters and originally designed by ERG of Amsterdam in December 1976 for the photo session at Battersea Power Station which spawned the "Animals" album cover. Roger suggested flying a large inflatable pig from the towers of Battersea Power Station. He wanted to do it for real...no photo trickery.
Although the image of a pig suspended between the huge chimneys possessed a great sense of mood..it was the pig itself which caught the headlines. The day of the shoot was fantastic with a dramatic sky. First, the 40 ft. pig was inflated, but this took so long that it was not actually launched all day. The group of 11 photographers and 3 film crews stood around all day.
The manager, with clever foresight, had hired a marksman with telescopic rifle to shoot down the pig if it escaped its mooring ropes and sailed off into the sky, where it would become an insurance risk. On the second day, the manager, with not quite such clever foresight, had decided to not hire the marksman for the day, for economic reasons.
The inflated pig was launched, on the second day, into the air and secured by guy-ropes in between the towers. Everybody was very excited...cameras started clicking...film started rolling. But then a violent gust of wind suddenly came out of nowhere, the pig lurched one way and then the other and then tore free of its moorings. It disappeared into the heavens quickly. There was no marksman to shoot it down, there was no time to even get a photo. Instead, there were a lot of people on the ground looking forlornly into an empty sky.
The pig ascended into the flight paths of incoming jets landing at Heathrow Airport. The first sighting came from a jet pilot who landed at Heathrow, a police helicopter was sent up and sighted the pig over London. It tracked it to a height of 5,000 feet before having to return to base. The Civil Aviation Authorities then took over and a general alert was sent out to all pilots that a 40 foot long, pink flying pig was on the loose in the airspace over the capitol! The CAA lost radar contact with it at a point east of Detling, near Chatham in Kent, flying at a height of 18,000 feet and heading east towards Germany. The pig, with a mind of its own, floated along on into Kent and descended upon a rural farmers property. One can imagine the disbelief of his wife when the farmer said to her "guess what..." The Pink Floyd office at first slapped an embargo on information concerning the pig and then admitted that they weren't even sure that they had enough pictures of it for the album.
The roadies rescued the pig from the farmer that night,
returned it to London, mended the punctures and put the pig up
again so that it could be photographed the next day.
The day was cloudless, with a bright blue sky, but it was not
very striking...therefore the pig was layered into the final
artwork from day three into the sky of day one, which is how
it could have been done in the first place. While a different
technique could have been employed to save time, money and
anxiety, it also would have prevented a great story unfolding
and good laugh being had by all.
The pig was launched officially for the "In The Flesh" tour in Dortmund in January 1977, where it emerged from over the PA stacks through a cloud of black smoke during, appropriately, "Pigs (Three Different Ones)". It has since become a staple prop for every Floyd tour. When Roger Waters left the band in the mid-1980s, it was said that part of his "settlement" stipulated that he would be paid $800 every time his ex-band mates performed live with the pig (a sow).
David said.."We agreed to pay him to clear us in regard to any rights he may or may not have had in various effects including the pig and odd bits of animation by Gerald Scarfe. Roger had gone 'round these people buying these rights and placing them with a company he owned. However, we never agreed that he owned the rights. Pink Floyd, all of us, had commissioned those pieces of work and paid for them. In order to save ourselves a huge amount of extra aggravation and lawsuit possibilities we agreed to pay him a fee for any right... that he may or may not have had. I did not and do not believe he had a leg to stand on, and on the tour we've just done, no such money was paid to him."
The band proceeded to add testicles to the pig making it a different beast altogether. "Someone did suggest that if we altered the design of the pig then then Roger couldn't claim it. A pig's a pig, how do you alter its design? You add testicles. Well, it was amusing for us." Dave That's balls for you.
With 'Animals', Roger carves up the human species into three categories, each heralded by the title of one of the album's main pieces....The pigs: moralists, self-righteous and tyrannical, yet ultimately pathetic...The dogs: cutthroat pragmatists out to claw their way to the top of the heap... The sheep: comprise a mindless and unquestioning herd (Roger's vision of PF's audience?), dim dreamers whose sole function in life is to be used and abused by the dogs and pigs. While somewhat in the manner of Orwell's Animal Farm, 'Animals' was not an outright adaptation of it, rather...Roger's target was is his own society's dog-eat-dog capitalist system.
Pigs (Three Different Ones) specifically lampoons Mary Whitehouse, who was then the self-appointed guardian of British pop-music morality.
Nothing was chosen from 'Animals' to perform during the AMLOR tour, however 'Sheep' came close.
The concept belonged to Waters, but two of the four 'beasts' on Animals had been heard before under different names: Sheep was a re-working of 'Raving And Drooling', and 'Dogs' was a makeover of 'You Gotta Be Crazy'.
While 'Animals' was viewed in some respects as a 'courageous' endeavor, it also foreshadowed a time when Waters would stress his increasingly strident message to the detriment of PF's distinctive music. He wanted to push the band into more specific areas of subject matter, so that there wasn't much left for the fans to interpret. Much of PF's attraction in the past had been that they enabled the listener to have the freedom to use his or her own imagination. Waters began to be more interested in simply telling his audience what to think. This streak manifested itself when journalists were invited to Battersea Power Station in the 2nd week of '77 for a preview of the album, and then forbidden to take notes.
The "In The Flesh" tour marked another transition in Pink Floyd's statistic-expanding live career. In complete contrast to what was acceptable to the then new Punk philosophies (remember Johnny Rotten's "I Hate Pink Floyd" T-shirt?), stadiums and large arenas had now become the only places which could physically accommodate the band's staging, equipment needed, and multimedia presentations ...and in many cities, they were at least doubling the size of their audiences.
The tour also governed a notable increase in the size of Floyd's PA. For the 1977 tour, Bill Kelsey designed a four-way active system, which was comprised of Kelsey bins, 2 x 15-inch blue fiberglass front-loaded mid cabinets, Altec horns, and JBL 075s. Augmented by additional horns and bins depending on the sizes of venues, this formed the core of the Britannia Row PA system.
In November 1976, Midas began designing a new Pink Floyd custom console, described as being a radical step forward in front-of-house control. This console as a whole, which was completed just in time for its debut on the "In The Flesh" tour, was formed from two separate mirror imaged desks, each side containing twenty channels but operating as one large forty-channel board. In total, there were eight stereo sub-groups and eight effects busses, and each input had three controls, which could be assigned to any of the effect busses via the buss transfer electronics. The quality of this unusual console package owed much to its state-of-the-art op-amp, the Philips TDA 1034, which was the fore-runner of today's standard 5532 and 5534 op-amps. It was a very expensive, ground-breaking, military specification linear op-amp in a metal case (unlike today's more common plastic- cased variety). As such, this was one of the very first consoles to use it. The console is now owned by a small rental company in France.
Dave Gilmour first used a Heil voice box for the recording of the "Animals" track "Pigs (Three Different Ones)".
On the day of its release, January 23 1977, the band played the first date of its "In The Flesh" European tour in Germany at Dortmund's Westfalenhalle.
The 'In The Flesh' tour had its share of problems at almost every show, often stemming from the sheer complexity of the production. In Frankfort, Germany, the smoke was so thick that irate fans, unable to see the show, began to rain the stage with bottles.
Added to the Floyd's lineup for the 1977 "In The Flesh" tour was guitarist Snowy White. Those who purchased the eight-track cartridge version of "Animals" will be familiar with White's brief guitar solo, which linked the two verses of a rare, composite version of "Pigs On The Wing".
It was July 6, in Montreal, that the'famous' spitting incident occurred. In interviews while on the road, Waters had reported his frustration at the "meaningless ritual" of live performance, where his intensely personal songs were treated with a lack of respect by "whistling, shouting, and screaming" audiences. Finally he took it out on an innocent fan in the front row by spitting in his face. After Roger spat on the young man, Dave left the stage, unnoticed, slipped through the audience and made his way to the mixer, disgusted.
It was during this tour that Roger conceived the idea of building a wall between himself and the audience. Roger began formulating the overall concept of The Wall in Jan.'78.....the band later began the preliminary work on the album.
Although a real step forward technically, "In The Flesh" proved to
be the most unhappy tour of the band's career.
"If that seems somewhat heavyweight for rock'n'roll let me explain that this band has little to do with the American blues/rock tradition. Though they use the same instruments, the Floyd have left behind the direct, romantic, story-telling type of music that most people want to hear when they turn on their radio." - Bart Mills, Daily Mail, Sept. 16
"The group's performances at Wembley are proving they can still envelop their audience in a musical experience no other band can come close to." - Bart Mills
"One of the most interesting things about Floyd is its complete anonymity and facelessness in face of phenomenally successful albums." Los Angeles Herald Examiner, May '77
"This was a bit of a return to the group feel, quite a cheerful session as I remember. We did it in our own studio, which we'd just built. By now Roger was in full flow with the ideas, but he was also really keeping Dave down, and frustrating him deliberately." - Nick
"I didn't like a lot of the writing on Animals, but unfortunately I didn't have anything to offer. I think I played well but I remember feeling not very happy or creative, partly because of problems with my marriage. This was the beginning of my writer's block." - Rick
"On Animals I was the prime musical force. Roger was the motivator and lyric writer." - Dave
(Sheep) "The 23rd Psalm was originally read by Nick Mason, but the recorded version is by Floyd roadies. Live '77, this borrowed the bass line and 'Dr Who' keyboard improvisation from One of These Days." - Roger
"This was the first tour we did where we had to use click tracks and the music synchronised to the film, hence Roger Waters needed to wear headphones." - Brian Humphries (Prod. Mgr. for tour)
"On that 1977 tour, Roger was definitely becoming unpredictable and was changing a lot as a person, the last gig was pretty awful, because he was shouting abuse at the audience when they wouldn't shut up during the quiet numbers." - Robbie Williams
Some years after the fateful tour, Waters commented: "We played to enormous numbers of people, most of whom could not see or hear anything. A lot of people were there just because it was the thing to do. They were having their own little shows all over the place, letting off fireworks, beating each other up and things like that. As the tour went on, I felt more and more alienated from the people we were supposed to be entertaining."Most of them (fans) were only there for the beer". Roger
At the show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, a technician's stupidity or lack of paying attention to his job caused Roger to call a halt to the show. Snowy White said: "Because of various union regulations in the States, we were forced to use a number of local technicians and one of the lampies didn't have a clue. He was focusing a spotlight at Roger's feet instead of his face and body, and Roger reacted by bending down and 'willing' it upwards with his hand. After a while, he'd clearly had enough of this incompetence and he stopped the band halfway through a song, saying, "I think you New York lighting guys are a f**king load of shit!', and we then carried on without batting an eyelid!"
" 'Raving and Drooling', or 'Dogs' as it was later known was just a simple little chord sequence that I had written and that everyone seemed to like. I liked it because all the chords were very unusual chords and you could play almost any note over the top of them. Like for guitar solos they were great because you could play nearly any note. So you can zoom around anywhere and not worry about what frets you hit or anything because almost anything you do hit if you do it deliberately enough will sound alright." - Dave
(Pigs-one)"Roger was singing a note, and he sort of dragged the note out long, and it just suddenly struck me that we could cross-fade fade it with a synthesizer note--you know, as his note comes down you just bring up the synthesizer, and you cross-fade them together, and turn the vibrato up on the synthesizer. Just to make a strange effect, and it worked." - Dave
(Pigs-one)"I think most of the effects are backwards echoes. The drums are put on normally, then the tape reversed, and echo put on, so that you just--as I say, you get that slur, instead of a decay. With something going "CCCHHHHEEEeeeessssshhhhh...," that's reversed, so you get the thing building up to the actual sound, so it goes "sssshhhhheeeeeEEEEEHHHHHC!". - Nick
" 'Animals' was in a way, the beginning of the departure of me from the Floyd". "And, it was the first album, for me, where the the group was losing its unity as well. That's when it was beginning where Roger wanted to do everything. There are certain bits of music that I quite like, but it's not my favorite album of the Floyd." - Rick
"For me it started to come to a head then. Roger was changing, he
really did believe that he was the leader of the band, really did
believe that it was only because of him that the band was still
going. And, obviously, when he started developing his ego trips, the
person he would have his conflicts with would be me. Plus I was
going through... my personal life wasn't that happy, my marriage was
breaking up. Recording Animals he started rejecting what I came up
with. But it was partly my fault, I can see that now, because I didn't
push my material. Or I was too lazy to write anything. I suppose he
thought, what was the point of having this man in the band?
In fact, that was the time I was threatening to leave too, I remember
flying off, saying I didn't want any more of it. On the Animals tour
that was, and Steve O'Rourke said, 'You can't, you mustn't'." - Rick