The Album Roger Waters Listened to With His “Mouth Hanging Open”

As the conceptualist and lyricist of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters knows a thing or two about making a great album. His visionary approach played an essential role in shaping the landscape of the concept album and Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and “The Dark Side of the Moon” rank among the greatest albums ever made. But it arguably would’ve never been possible without the release of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, an album that Roger Waters listened to with his “mouth hanging open”.

The Album Roger Waters Listened to With His Mouth Hanging Open
By Jethro – CC BY-SA 2.5

“When The Beatles made ‘Sgt. Pepper’ in 67, we were in the same studio making our first record,” Roger Waters told Howard Stern. “And I remember when it came out I listened to the whole thing with my mouth hanging open. ‘wow this is so complete and accomplished.”

“But it was more than that, it had a ton of ideas and a ton of narratives in it. And I feel more than any other record, it was the record that gave me and my generation permission to branch out and do whatever we wanted. If they can do it, we can do it!”

In the experimental and conceptual nature of “Sgt. Pepper”, Waters – like many of his musical peers – saw a revolutionary musical idea that opened new possibilities. The Beatles’ transition from “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to the artistic genius of “Sgt. Pepper” was an unimaginable feat to fellow musicians.

“Obviously when they started off it was all ‘Please Please Me’ and whatever, and they transcended all that,” Waters reflected. “They transcended all the nonsense of girls screaming and nobody being able to hear anything to making songs that people really wanted to hear because [they’re] really smart, clever, beautiful musical songs.”

Inspired by the limitless creativity of “Sgt. Pepper”, Roger Waters embarked on his own artistic journey that would take the concept album to the next level. Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”, “Animals”, and “The Wall” are concept album blockbusters that defined the album era. The lesser-known “The Final Cut” and Waters’ solo works like “The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking” are also concept albums coming from Waters’ hands.

Following the honorific nickname of Elvis Presley’s “The King of Rock and Roll” or Aretha Franklin’s “The Queen of Soul”, Roger Waters deserves the honor of being “The King of the Concept Album”. But it arguably would’ve never been possible without The Beatles and their groundbreaking album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.

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