Not Fade Away: Pink Floyd’s ‘The Final Cut’ Turns 30
In Not Fade Away, we take a look at the legacy of some of the greatest albums of the past few decades — some iconic, some lesser known — as they celebrate significant anniversaries. First up is Pink Floyd’s 1983 album, ‘The Final Cut.’
This week, as former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters is making headlines for calling on artists to boycott Israel and his former band is celebrating the 40th anniversary of landmark album Dark Side Of The Moon, there’s another Pink Floyd anniversary. It was 30 years ago today (March 21) that Pink Floyd ended an era, marked by the release of Waters’ final album with the band, the deeply political The Final Cut.
A continuation of The Wall, the album saw Waters take over the band completely. He’d been steering the ship for years, but on The Final Cut, all the songs were written solely by Waters. Additionally, guitarist/singer David Gilmour wasn’t even credited as a co-producer, as he had been on The Wall – a choice that was apparently Gilmour’s own preference. Gilmour only sang one song, the hard rocker “Not Now, John.”
A highly personal album to Waters, The Final Cut developed The Wall‘s theme of the psychological damage he suffered by losing his father in World War II when he was just a few months old. The Final Cut wasn’t as self-centered, though; it focused on war in general and the consequences to those who suffer because of it. “Southhampton Dock” pays tribute to veterans returning home, minus their fallen colleagues, while “The Hero’s Return” looks at a vet who now works as a teacher, but can’t seem to leave the war behind (some believe that this is the same character as the teacher in “Another Brick In The Wall”).
Waters’ anger towards world leaders is most apparent in “The Fletcher Memorial Home,” where he imagines then-President Ronald Reagan, British Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin living out their twilight years in a “home for incurable tyrants and kings.” The song ends with the narrator asking, “Is everyone in? Are you having a nice time?” before saying, “Now the final solution can be applied.” According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “the Final Solution” referred to the Nazi plan to eliminate all Jews.
— Brian Ives, Radio.com