Things You Didn’t Know About “Animals” Album By Pink Floyd
David Gilmour during a concert given by Pink Floyd on June 16th, 1971 to the abbey of Royaumont. (Photo by Bernard Allemane / INA via Getty Images)
More Than Music
Pink Floyd’s tenth studio album is one of those records that have remained relevant today. Everything about it is iconic – from the artwork cover of the inflatable pig to the songs themselves. Well-known for its critique of the social-political conditions in Britain at the time, it received generally positive reviews and managed to crack the top 5 of several charts.
It’s a fan favorite and for good reason. NME called it “one of the most extreme, relentless, harrowing and downright iconoclastic hunks of music to have been made available this side of the sun.” But there are still things you may not know about Animals. Here are some of them…
The whole idea about “Animals” was loosely based on George Orwell’s allegorical novella Animal Farm which was published in 1945. The songs describe different societal classes based on animals – dogs, pigs, and sheep. It also focuses mostly on capitalism. It’s anti-establishment and in some ways, also against the punk rock movement.
The Rise of Roger Waters
“Animals” was more than an excellent concept album. It also became a turning point for the band when Roger Waters became the primary creative force. He wrote most of the songs and co-wrote just one with David Gilmour. He also came up with the artwork cover and pretty much everything else.
The Recording Sessions
With their previous recordings, their deal with Harvest Records’ parent company EMI was for unlimited studio time and in return, their earnings will get a cut. But since that has already expired, Pink Floyd ended up buying a three-story block of church halls in Islington, North London. It took almost a year to finish converting it into a recording studio and storage facility.
The Iconic Cover
The cover was conceived by Roger Waters.
But it was English art design group Hipgosis which turned Waters’ vision into a reality. Cambridge natives Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell were originally contacted by Pink Floyd to design the cover for “A Saucerful of Secrets” and their career took off from there. They’re also responsible for creating the cover design for “The Dark Side of the Moon” which is often cited as one of the best album covers of all time. And this is perhaps what propelled them to be recognized globally.
The Floating Pig
The pig is more than just another image on the cover. The concept was to have this 40-foot inflatable pig floating over the Battersea Power Station. But the balloon ended up breaking off and flying directly into the Heathrow Airport and in the path of airplanes landing, no less. It might have looked funny (helicopters and even the Royal Air Force had to chase the pig) but it was dangerous – so much so that the flights had to be grounded. Powell was also arrested.
No one caught it, it just landed on its own a few miles away. In the end, they had to manually Photoshop the image by cutting the picture of the pig and pasting it on another photo of the power station. Fast forward years later, the pig eventually became a symbol for protesting.