Roger Waters of Pink Floyd inspired a lot of classic rock musicians — and a lot of musicians inspired him. During his teenage years, a classic song made a major impression on him. When he was a student, Waters met the artist who performed that song when that artist was “a junkie and he had no teeth.”
Roger Waters and Pink Floyd wanted to make a song as great as this classic tune
Waters is an icon of progressive rock. However, he clearly has a soft spot for old-school rhythm and blues. He told Cosmic Magazine he used to listen to one record, in particular, a lot. “We’d stay up all night, almost every night and we would listen to music,” Waters recalled. “We listened to everything. [Ray Charles‘ ‘George On My Mind’] is one of the records we used to listen to a lot.” Although “Georgia on My Mind’ was originally recorded by pop singer and actor Hoagy Carmichel, Charles’ rendition is arguably more famous.
According to The Australian, Waters has a strong memory of listening to Charles’ version of “Georgia on My Mind” when he was 15. “If only I could write a song that would move someone as much as this is moving me now,” he thought at the time. In an interview with Far Out Magazine, Waters said Charles’ version of “Georgia on My Mind” is one of his favorite songs of all time.
Waters’ love of Charles’ version of “Georgia on My Mind” is interesting given his work with Pink Floyd. Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” came from his album The Genius Hits the Road, which was a concept album inspired by different states in the United States. Pink Floyd would release some of the most famous concept albums ever, including The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall.
What happened when Roger Waters met Ray Charles
Waters revealed he met Charles once. “I actually met him, fleetingly, when I was a student studying architecture in London,” he recalled. “We were living in a squat in Cheyne Gardens—the whole block was full of squats—and Chet was squatting three doors down and this must have been 1962. He was a junkie and he had no teeth and he… couldn’t play anymore and I’ve seen films about him after he got himself together but what a remarkable man. What an extraordinary talent.” So did Charles have no teeth? According to the Dallas Observer, Charles had only three teeth at one pint, however, he never lost his teeth entirely.
Clearly, Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” meant a lot to Waters. This raises an interesting question: Was the song a hit? The track reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100. It was one of Charles’ three No. 1 hits alongside “Hit the Road Jack” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” It’s interesting he met Charles — even if Charles had some issues at the time.
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