|The Final Cut|
|Released||March 21, 1983|
|Recorded||July - December 1982, in various studios|
|Producer(s)||Roger Waters, James Guthrie and Michael Kamen|
The LP was released by Harvest/EMI in the UK on March 21, 1983 and then on Columbia Records in the US on April 2. The Final Cut reached #1 on the UK album charts and #6 in the US. On May 23, 1983, The Final Cut went Gold and Platinum in May of 1983 and then Double Platinum on January 31, 1997.
Originally scheduled as the film soundtrack for the band's movie The Wall, it evolved into a new anti-war concept album. The album cover states: "A Requiem for the Post War Dream by Roger Waters, performed by Pink Floyd" - it was solely written by Waters and is the last Floyd album with him on board. The Final Cut is also the only Pink Floyd album on which Rick Wright does not appear, as he was fired during composition of The Wall.
Many have said that it is a Waters solo album under the name Pink Floyd. It has only one David Gilmour lead vocal (on "Not Now John"), and sounds more like Waters' solo recordings. Waters offered to release it as a solo album, but Gilmour insisted that the band name be used. David Gilmour was paid for his work as producer, but Waters insisted on him not being credited, to which Gilmour eventually agreed. Waters dominated the recording sessions, furthering the tension that already existed between him, David Gilmour, and Nick Mason, and even employed a session drummer on "Two Suns in the Sunset". Waters intended this to be the last Floyd album, but Gilmour and Mason (along with Wright as a session player) put out A Momentary Lapse Of Reason in 1987 and continued to tour and record. The Final Cut is the only album under Pink Floyd to be written by one member, Roger Waters.
The Final Cut was also the only Pink Floyd album not to have a concert tour in support of the album as the band unofficially split up in January of 1983 as Roger Waters dove head first into the recording of The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking and David Gilmour recorded his solo album About Face.
"Not Now John" was released as a single with "fuck all that" from the choruses overdubbed as "stuff all that" (the lyrics on the sleeve of the 7" single contain that phrase "stop all that"), backed by an extended version of "The Hero's Return" as a B-side, featuring an additional verse.
- "The Post War Dream" – 3:02
- "Your Possible Pasts" – 4:22
- "One of the Few" – 1:23
- "The Hero's Return" – 2:56
- "The Gunner's Dream" – 5:07
- "Paranoid Eyes" – 3:40
- "Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert" – 1:19
- "The Fletcher Memorial Home" – 4:11
- "Southampton Dock" – 2:13
- "The Final Cut" – 4:46
- "Not Now John" – 5:01
- "Two Suns in the Sunset" – 5:14
- "The Post War Dream" – 3:00
- "Your Possible Pasts" – 4:26
- "One of the Few" – 1:11
- "When the Tigers Broke Free" – 3:16
- "The Hero's Return" – 2:43
- "The Gunner's Dream" – 5:18
- "Paranoid Eyes" – 3:41
- "Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert" – 1:17
- "The Fletcher Memorial Home" – 4:12
- "Southampton Dock" – 2:10
- "The Final Cut" – 4:45
- "Not Now John" – 4:56
- "Two Suns in the Sunset" – 5:23
All songs composed by Roger Waters.
- Roger Waters - lead vocals on all songs, bass guitar, synthesizer, tape effects, acoustic guitar, sleeve design
- David Gilmour - guitars, lead vocals on Not Now John, bass guitar
- Nick Mason - drums, percussion
- Michael Kamen - piano harmonium
- Andy Bown - hammond organ
- Ray Cooper - percussion
- Andy Newmark - drums on "Two Suns..."
- Raphael Ravenscroft - tenor sax
- The National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted and arranged by Michael Kamen
- James Guthrie; Remastering producer, engineer, remastering on 2004 re-issue
- Andrew Jackson - Engineer
- Willie Christie - Photography
- Doug Sax; mastering on original album and Remastering on 1994 and 1997 re-issues
Pink Floyd released a 19-minute "video EP" for The Final Cut, essentially four music videos in a continuous sequence, directed by Willie Christie, who was Waters's brother-in-law. The running order was "The Gunner's Dream", "The Final Cut", "Not Now John", and "The Fletcher Memorial Home". The film is now available on the band's website. English actor Alex McAvoy, who played the teacher in the film version of "The Wall", had a prominent role in the video EP. Roger Waters appears (albeit all but his mouth are sillhouetted) as a patient singing the lyrics to a psychologist on the grounds of the Fletcher Memorial Home. Alex McAvoy died on 16th June 2005, aged 68.
During the end of "The Fletcher Memorial Home", the main character's newspaper includes the headline "Your Son's Head in a Box". This is most likely a reference to "Run Like Hell" from Pink Floyd's previous album, The Wall.
The album has three overlapping storylines:
- One portrays Waters' view on world affairs at the time (Tracks 1, 5, 7-9, 11, 12). Much of this was formed by the Falklands War, condemning among others Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Menachem Begin. The name Fletcher in "The Fletcher Memorial Home" is in honour and remembrance of his father (to whom the whole album is dedicated in the credits), who died in Anzio during World War II. The album also espouses his views of an ideal world, ending the album with a nuclear holocaust he feared might happen in the real world.
- The second is the story of the mental plight of a World War II veteran and teacher (Tracks 2-4, 5 , 6). The tracks then feature him dealing with memories of the war (Your Possible Pasts, The Gunner's Dream), taking out his problems on schoolchildren (One of the Few, The Hero's Return), and lamenting his life (Paranoid Eyes). The abusive teacher is also mentioned in The Wall, viewed as "one of the bricks" by its main character, Pink.
- The final is a story of a depressed man (who might be Pink after he tore down the wall) who either tries to block himself to the real world or kill himself, but is stopped. Track 10, "The Final Cut," was intended to fit in with Pink Floyd's previous album and rock opera, The Wall. The person singing in The Final Cut is highly reminiscent of the depressive, schizophrenic Pink from The Wall, although Waters does sing most of the album in that same vocal style. The first verse of the song ends with "And if you make it past the shotguns in the hall, dial the combination, open the priesthole, and if I'm in I'll tell you what's behind the wall", with the words "what's behind the wall" having been overdubbed with a loud shotgun sound and some shouting.
With the nuclear annihilation ending the album, it could be argued that Pink's unclear fate after the end of The Wall also becomes clear in the end of this album.
The cover was designed by Roger Waters. It features a Remembrance Day poppy and four World War II medal ribbons (from left):
- 1939/45 Star, for at least 6 months service between 1939 and 1945,
- Africa Star, for service in the North African Campaign,
- Defence Medal, for 3 years service,
- Distinguished Flying Cross, for acts of courage, valour or devotion to duty while flying.
Vinyl copies did not have the album title on the cover; this was added for the CD and cassette releases.
The back cover depicted a man stabbed in the back carrying a film cannister.
The picture labels on the vinyl copies depicted roses in a poppy field on side one (this artwork was also featured on the 1997 Columbia remaster and the 2004 remaster. This is the picture label on the 1997 Columbia remastered CD copies). Side two depicted a man that was stabbed in the back(from the back cover) now laying face forward dead with a hound dog standing (this artwork was also featured on the 1997 Columbia remaster and the 2004 remaster booklets. This is the picture label on the 1994 EMI Europe remaster and 2004 Capitol/EMI remastered CD copies)
In 1986, the album was released on CD. A digitally remastered CD was released in 1994 in Europe and in 1997 for the rest of the world. A remastered and repackaged CD was released on March 19, 2004 in Europe and May 4, 2004 in the U.S. to commemorate the album's 21st anniversary. The track "When the Tigers Broke Free", previously only available as a single, on the soundtrack to the movie version of The Wall or on Echoes:The Best Of Pink Floyd, was added albeit in a slightly remixed form to the versions found on the movie version of The Wall and Echoes.
"The Final Cut was absolutely misery to make, although I listened to it of late and I rather like a lot of it. But I don't like my singing on it. You can hear the mad tension running through it all. If you're trying to express something and being prevented from doing it because you're so uptight...It was a horrible time. We were all fighting like cats and dogs. We were finally realising—or accepting, if you like—that there was no band. It was really being thrust upon us that we were not a band and had not been in accord for a long time. Not since 1975, when we made Wish You Were Here. Even then there were big disagreements about content and how to put the record together [...] It sold three million copies, which wasn't a lot for the Pink Floyd. And as a consequence, Dave Gilmour went on record as saying, "There you go: I knew he was doing it wrong all along." But it's absolutely ridiculous to judge a record solely on sales. If you're going to use sales as the sole criterion, it makes Grease a better record than Graceland." — Roger Waters, June 1987, to Chris Salewicz
"Well, this has been my beef for years, I mean always has been one of my beefs about what we do is that the balance has to be maintained. I've said it hundreds of times, ad nauseam I've said it—it's the balance between the words and the music I think is a very important thing and that's what I think we lost very much on The Final Cut." — David Gilmour, Australian Radio, February 1988
"The Final Cut was the lowest point in our Pink Floyd career for me, personally. I started off trying to do my best on that record... I had tried to point out to Roger that some of the tracks he wanted to put on it were tracks we had rejected off The Wall album because we didn't like them, you know. Roger just thought I was interfering... he'd got to a sort of megalomaniac stage where he could not tolerate anyone else having any real say in what was going on. We did fight horribly throughout that whole period." — David Gilmour recalls himself about the album during the early 1990's
"It's very very good, but it's not personally how I would see a Pink Floyd record going. The sound quality is very good, it's very very well recorded, and the string arrangements and orchestral stuff are very well done, but it's not me. Consequently, I was arguing about how to make the record, at the beginning and it was being counterproductive." — David Gilmour, in a May 1983 interview
"Not Now John (cleaned-up version)"/"The Hero's Return (Parts I and II)" - Columbia 38-03905; released May 3, 1983