The musician dismissed as Roger Waters “not famous enough”

Roger Waters

Most musicians’ ability to perform together is determined by how well they can hold their own in front of an audience. Even if an artist can perform sweeping guitar runs, the chances of them collaborating on a masterclass song with a tone-deaf singer are almost non-existent. Roger Waters was willing to collaborate with a wide range of people after leaving Pink Floyd. But one of his most important post-Floyd shows forced him to reject Paul Carrack due to his credentials.

Syd Barrett departed from Pink Floyd in the late 1960s. Since then Waters has been in charge of the band’s ideas. He usually managed any overarching concepts that the band was developing. The band was willing to follow his visions on albums like Dark Side of the Moon. However, the nightmare developments during The Wall resulted in Waters becoming a tyrant in the studio.

Aside from dismissing Richard Wright during production and replacing Nick Mason during recording, Waters would be in charge of the band when it went on tour. Everyone performed to the best of their abilities. But Waters believed they had reached the end of the line together, sticking around for The Final Cut before departing for a solo career.

After a lengthy battle with the rest of his bandmates over the use of the name ‘Pink Floyd’, Waters secured the rights to The Wall. It allowed him to perform the album in its entirety on numerous occasions. After exhausting his solo material on albums such as Radio KAOS, Waters brought The Wall back to the stage. After it was announced that the Berlin Wall would be demolished.

Instead of having his bandmates by his side, Waters would assemble a star-studded cast of people to perform alongside him. It was from Thomas Dolby as the teacher on ‘Another Brick in the Wall‘ to the band Levon Helm lending his singing talents to the song ‘Mother‘. He had many star players during the first half of the performance. Carrack was reluctantly asked to contribute to the show.

Carrack had known Roger Waters for years before joining Mike and the Mechanics. He had even contributed to a few of his live solo performances. He was one of the first people to think of singing the song ‘Hey You’ for the performance. But Waters stated that his level of fame was not what people were looking for.

In his book “Pigs Might Fly,” Carrack recounted that Waters reluctantly permitted him to perform in Berlin. He stated, “Roger gave me this whole spiel about how it was going to be the biggest concert of all time… “Finally, he asked if I had Huey Lewis‘ phone number. I gave it to him and then asked, ‘What about me, Roger?’ He simply said, ‘You’re not famous enough.‘”

Despite his understanding at the time, Carrack would eventually find himself onstage when Lewis left. He called out from beyond the brick wall for some human contact. It was one of the scariest moments of his life playing on that stage. But Carrack proved to everyone that he had the vocal range to go toe-to-toe with any of the big names on the bill that night.

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