1992 Roger Waters – Amused To Death

Amused to Death is a concept album, and the third studio album by former Pink Floyd bassist/vocalist Roger Waters. It was released in 1992.

Roger Waters started working on Amused to Death in 1987 when he first wrote “Perfect Sense”. It was several years before the album was released and it is unknown how much the material was changed in the interim. The album’s artwork features a monkey watching television in reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The image on the TV is a gigantic eyeball staring at the viewer. According to Waters, the monkey was “a symbol for anyone who’s been sitting with his mouth open in front of the network and cable news for the last 10 years.” The album’s title was inspired by Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death. The album is organised loosely around the idea of a monkey randomly switching channels on a television, but explores numerous political and social themes, including critiques of the First Gulf War in “The Bravery of Being Out of Range” and “Perfect Sense”.

The first song, “The Ballad of Bill Hubbard”, features a sample of World War I veteran Alfred “Raz” Razzell, a member of the Royal Fusiliers (much like Waters’ father Eric Fletcher Waters had been in World War II) who describes his account of finding fellow soldier William “Bill” Hubbard, to whom the album is dedicated, severely wounded on the battlefield. After failed attempts to take him to safety, Razzell is forced to abandon him in no-man’s land. This sample is continued at the end of the title track, at the very end of the album, providing a more upbeat coda to the tragic story. The track also features the sound of several animals. The second song, “What God Wants, Part I”, follows and contrasts the moving words of Razzell by opening with the TV being tuned instead into an excerpt that sounds like it’s taken from a vox pop of a child who says, “I don’t mind about the war. That’s one of the things I like to watch – if it’s a war going on. ‘Cos then I know if, um, our side’s winning, if our side’s losing…” he is then interrupted by the channel change and a burst of ape-chatter.

“Perfect Sense” is a two-part song about a world where live transmissions of wars are the main form of entertainment. The first part of the song begins with a loud, unintelligible rant, and then a backwards message voiced by Waters: “Julia, however, in the light and visions of the issues of Stanley, we changed our minds. We have decided to include a backward message. Stanley, for you, and for all the other book burners.” The message climaxes with Waters yelling in the aggressive Scottish voice he used to depict the character of the teacher in The Wall. In the second part, famed sportscaster Marv Albert narrates a war as if it were a basketball game.

“The Bravery of Being Out of Range” includes a reference to a song written by Waters on Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals, “Sheep” (not to mention the spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”). In “Sheep”, Waters sings “I’ve looked over Jordan and I have seen…” Waters references and expands on this line in “The Bravery of Being Out of Range” when he sings “I looked over Jordan and what did I see/Saw a U.S. Marine in a pile of debris”. “Late Home Tonight, Part I” recalls the 1986 US air strike against Libya from the perspective of two “ordinary wives” and a young American F-111 pilot. At the beginning of “What God Wants, Part II”, Charles Fleischer (better known as the voice of Roger Rabbit) performs the greedy evangelist’s sermon. The song “Watching TV” (a duet with Don Henley) explores the influence of mass media on the Chinese protests for democracy in Tiananmen Square. Waters makes reference to Andrew Lloyd Webber in the song “It’s a Miracle”

Tracks

1  The Ballad Of Bill Hubbard (Roger Waters) 4:20
What God Wants, Part I (Roger Waters) 6:00
3  Perfect Sense, Part I (Roger Waters) 4:16
4  Perfect Sense, Part II (Roger Waters) 2:50
5  The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range (Roger Waters) 4:42
6  Late Home Tonight, Part I (Roger Waters) 4:01
7  Late Home Tonight, Part II (Roger Waters) 2:13
8  Too Much Rope (Roger Waters) 5:47
9  What God Wants, Part II (Roger Waters) 3:41
10  What God Wants, Part III (Roger Waters) 4:08
11  Watching TV (Roger Waters) 6:07
12  Three Wishes (Roger Waters) 6:49
13  It’s A Miracle (Roger Waters) 8:30
14  Amused To Death (Roger Waters) 9:06

Media

Musicians

1 The Ballad Of Bill Hubbard

Drums (programming)Patrick Leonard
GuitarJeff Beck
KeyboardsPatrick Leonard
PercussionLuis Conte
VocalsAlf Razzell


2 What God Wants, Part I

BassRoger Waters
BassRandy Jackson
DrumsGraham Broad
Guitar (solo)Jeff Beck
GuitarGeoff Whitehorn
GuitarTim Pierce
GuitarAndy Fairweather Low
KeyboardsPatrick Leonard
KeyboardsRoger Waters
Background VocalsDoreen Chanter
Background VocalsKatie Kissoon
Background VocalsN’Dea Davenport
Background VocalsNatalie Jackson


3 Perfect Sense, Part I

BassJimmy Johnson
DrumsGraham Broad
GuitarSteve Lukather
GuitarRick DiFonso
Acoustic GuitarBruce Gaitsch
Pedal Steel GuitarBrian John Cole
KeyboardsPatrick Leonard
SynthesizerRoger Waters
PercussionBrian McLeod
PercussionLuis Conte


5 The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range

BassJohn Pierce
DrumsDenny Fongheiser
GuitarTim Pierce
12 String GuitarRoger Waters
OrganPatrick Leonard
SynthesizerPatrick Leonard
Background VocalsLynn Fiddmont-Linsey
Background VocalsNatalie Jackson


6 Late Home Tonight, Part I

BassJimmy Johnson
DrumsGraham Broad
GuitarAndy Fairweather Low
PercussionLuis Conte
PercussionGraham Broad
CornetSteve Sidwell


8 Too Much Rope

BassJimmy Johnson
DrumsGraham Broad
GuitarSteve Lukather
GuitarGeoff Whitehorn
12 String GuitarAndy Fairweather Low
KeyboardsPatrick Leonard
PercussionLuis Conte
Background VocalsDoreen Chanter
Background VocalsKatie Kissoon


9 What God Wants, Part II

BassJimmy Johnson
DrumsGraham Broad
GuitarTim Pierce
GuitarAndy Fairweather Low
Acoustic GuitarAndy Fairweather Low
KeyboardsPatrick Leonard
PercussionLuis Conte


10 What God Wants, Part III

BassJimmy Johnson
DrumsGraham Broad
Guitar (solo)Jeff Beck
GuitarGeoff Whitehorn
KeyboardsPatrick Leonard
PercussionLuis Conte


11 Watching TV

BassJohn Patitucci
GuitarJeff Beck
Acoustic GuitarAndy Fairweather Low
Acoustic GuitarRoger Waters
LuteGou Yi
PianoPatrick Leonard
OboeGou Yi
VocalsDon Henley


12 Three Wishes

BassJimmy Johnson
DrumsGraham Broad
Guitar (solo)Jeff Beck
GuitarTim Pierce
12 String GuitarAndy Fairweather Low
KeyboardsPatrick Leonard
OrganJohn Brundrick
PercussionLuis Conte
Background VocalsDoreen Chanter
Background VocalsKatie Kissoon


13 It’s A Miracle

BassJimmy Johnson
BassRoger Waters
DrumsJeffrey Porcaro
GuitarJeff Beck
PianoPatrick Leonard
SynthesizerPatrick Leonard
Background VocalsJim Haas
Background VocalsJon Joyce


14 Amused To Death

BassJimmy Johnson
DrumsGraham Broad
Guitar (solo)Jeff Beck
GuitarGeoff Whitehorn
Acoustic GuitarRoger Waters
KeyboardsPatrick Leonard
VocalsAlf Razzell
VocalsRita Coolidge
Background VocalsDoreen Chanter
Background VocalsKatie Kissoon

Liner Notes

Producer – Patrick Leonard
Co-producer, Recorded By – Nick Griffiths
Arranged By (Choir) – Patrick Leonard (Tracks 2, 9, 10, 13)
Conductor (London Welsh Chorale) – Kenneth Bowen (Track 2)
Conductor, Arranged By (Strings) – John Dupree (Tracks 3, 4)
Conductor, Arranged By (National Philharmonic Orchestra Limited) – Michael Kamen (Tracks 6, 7, 8, 10)
Engineer – Haydn Bendall, Jerry Jordan, Stephen McLaughlin
Engineer (Assistant Mix) – Sean O’Dwyer
Engineer (Assistant) – Andy Bradfield, Brian Burrows, Chris Brown, Dary Sulich, Jeremy Wheatley, John Lowson, Marc Moreau, Mike Bosley, Ross Donaldson, Roy Sweeting, Steve Heinke
Management – Kate Watkins, Mark Fenwick
Mastered By – Doug Sax, Ron Lewter
Remastered By, Mixed By, Recorded By (Additional) – James Guthrie
Technician (QSOUND™) – Buzz Burrowes

Art Direction – Deadskinboy Design
Artwork, Photography By, Cover (Front) – Sean Evans
Cover – Sean Evans

Copyright (c) – Columbia Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Columbia Records
Recorded At – The Billiard Room
Recorded At – Olympic Studios
Recorded At – CTS Studios
Recorded At – Angel Studios
Recorded At – Abbey Road Studios
Recorded At – Compass Point Studios
Recorded At – Devonshire Studios
Recorded At – Ameraycan Studios
Recorded At – Evergreen Recording
Recorded At – Johnny Yuma Recording
Mixed At – Devonshire Studios
Mixed At – Visual Studios
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Published By – Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd.
Published By – Roger Waters Music Overseas Ltd.
Manufactured For – Analogue Productions
Manufactured By – Sony Music Entertainment
Lacquer Cut At – The Mastering Lab
Pressed By – Quality Record Pressings