Ignored Obscured Restored
In 1984, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd released his first solo album – The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking. The album has a concept that is dense and difficult to comprehend. It seems to have something to do with a man that is suffering from insecurity (?), a midlife crisis (?), and/or paranoia (?). Who really knows other than Waters.
The concept was originally presented to Pink Floyd in 1977/78 along with The Wall. Waters asked the band to consider both and choose which one they wanted to pursue for their next album. They wisely chose The Wall.
One of the details I like about Pros and Cons is the way Waters framed the album as taking place over a specific period — 4:30:18 AM to 5:12:32 AM. The song titles all have a start time that accurately coincides with the actual running time of the record. In fact, when it was released on vinyl in ’84, Waters even built in an extra 5 seconds between the ending of Side 1 and the beginning of Side 2 to allow for the listener to flip the record!
The most popular song on the album is the title cut – “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.”
It is the track that sounds the most like a Pink Floyd recording. The women’s gospel choir in the chorus is a nice touch.
Waters enlisted the help of Eric Clapton and sax players David Sanborn and Raphael Ravenscroft (“Baker Street”) to flesh out his ideas. Unfortunately, the album liner notes don’t give track-by-track credits.
Another point of interest related to this record concerns the album cover. Created by Gerald Scarfe, who handled the album artwork for The Wall, it presented a backside view of a high-heeled, naked woman with a backpack, hitchhiking. The model was soft porn actress Linzi Drew. The first release showed her exposed butt. Later pressings had her backside covered by a black rectangle.
Enjoy… until next week.