The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking

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The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
a nude back-view image of a blonde woman wearing a red backpack and red stilettos sticking her thumb out, her buttocks clearly visible.
Studio album by
Released30 April 1984
RecordedFebruary–December 1983
StudioOlympic Studios (London)
Eel Pie Studios (London)
The Billiard Room (London)
Roger Waters chronology
Music from The Body
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
When the Wind Blows
Roger Waters studio chronology
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
Radio K.A.O.S.
Singles from The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
  1. "The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking"
    Released: 9 April 1984
  2. "Every Stranger's Eyes"
    Released: 12 June 1984
Professional ratings
Review scores
Rolling Stone[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[3]

The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking is the debut solo studio album by English singer and musician Roger Waters; it was released in 1984, the year before Waters announced his departure from Pink Floyd. The album was certified gold in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 1995.

Concept history and production[edit]

The concept was originally envisioned by Waters in 1977 and refined in the early 1980s. In its completed form, it rotates around a man's scattered thoughts during his midlife crisis. These are explored on a dream journey during which he takes a road trip through California, commits adultery with a hitchhiker he picks up along the way, attempts to reconcile with his wife by moving to the wilderness, and finally ends up alone but with greater insight into a common human compassion. Along the way he also faces other fears and paranoia.

The entire story is framed in real time as a fitful dream taking place in the early morning hours of 4:30:18 am to 5:12:32 am on an unspecified day. At the end of the dream, the man wakes up lonely and contrite and turns to his real wife for comfort, presumably having processed his crisis.

In July 1978, Waters presented the concepts and played demos of The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking as well as what was then titled Bricks in the Wall, which became The Wall, to his bandmates in the group Pink Floyd, asking them to decide which should be a group album, and which should be his solo album.[5][6][7] After a long debate, they decided that they preferred the concept of Bricks in the Wall,[6] even though their manager at the time, Steve O'Rourke, thought that Pros and Cons was a better-sounding concept,[8] and David Gilmour deemed Pros and Cons stronger musically.[6]

Waters declared:

Well, the idea for the album came concurrently with the idea for The Wall – the basis of the idea. I wrote both pieces at roughly the same time. And in fact, I made demo tapes of them both, and in fact presented both demo tapes to the rest of the Floyd, and said "Look, I'm going to do one of these as a solo project and we'll do one as a band album, and you can choose." So, this was the one that was left over. Um...I mean, it's developed an awful lot since then, I think.[7]

Bricks in the Wall, retitled The Wall, became the next Pink Floyd album in 1979, and Waters shelved Pros and Cons. In early 1983, Waters undertook the shelved project himself.[9] It was recorded in three London studios between February and December 1983: Olympic Studios, Eel Pie Studios and Waters' own Billiard Room, where his demos were constructed. The album features conductor Michael Kamen, actor Jack Palance, saxophonist David Sanborn and guitarist Eric Clapton. Guitar player Tim Renwick said:

Roger's a very different sort of person [i.e. from Eric Clapton or David Gilmour, described as easygoing]. I have tremendous respect for him. He's a very clever man, but he is very serious. When Eric and I toured with him, he wanted everything exactly the same as the record, which, unfortunately, kind of took the fun out of performing.[10]

Track 7, 4.50 am (Go Fishing), includes the same refrain as "The Fletcher Memorial Home" from Pink Floyd's The Final Cut: "The Fletcher Memorial Home for incurable tyrants and kings". This song also includes one of the car sounds, and the slightly changed chorus melody, from that album's "Your Possible Pasts".

"I played through some of the songs from the Pros and Cons album," Waters remarked in 1992, "and I was struck by how good they sounded. Looking back, that record dragged a little but, individually, some of the material was excellent."[11]

Notes on real time[edit]

The original album was released in 1984 on the traditional two-sided vinyl LP and cassette formats. In keeping with Waters' concept, there are five seconds missing between sides one and two to allow the listener to flip the record (or turn the cassette) in order to keep the second half starting at exactly 4:50 am as planned.

An unintended consequence of the album being released on CD a few years later was that this gap was lost due to continuous play, which moves the start of the second half back to 4:49:55 am, and the start of the final track, 5:11 am (The Moment of Clarity), back to 5:10:59 am.

Further to this, Track 6 on the first side, 4:47 am (The Remains of Our Love), actually begins at 4:46:46 am.


The censored cover, which is commonly used on physical editions of the album

Gerald Scarfe, who had created the album artwork and some animation for Pink Floyd's The Wall album, created all the graphics and animation for the Pros and Cons album. Its cover prompted controversy for featuring a rear-view nude photograph of model and softcore porn actress Linzi Drew. Although it was originally released with the nudity intact, subsequent editions distributed by Columbia Records censored Drew's buttocks with a black box.

Possible film[edit]

A film based on the concept was proposed, and in 1987 a press release for the Radio K.A.O.S. album claimed a film adaptation of Pros and Cons... had been completed, though nothing has been heard of it since. The screenplay was written by BBC/Radio Times Drama Award winner Pete Ward, who used excerpts from Waters' songs/lyrics from 1967 to 1987 as background to his award-winning play, Yesterday's Triumph,[12] exploring the 20-year relationship of two close friends – one who attempts to fake mental illness to be with the other, who is an institutionalized 'catastrophic schizophrenic'. Ward was commissioned to expand the plot and characters in The Pros and Cons around the album's 42-minute real-time dream sequence based on Waters' own dreams.

A film was made in 1984 and 1985 which combined Gerald Scarfe's animations and Nicolas Roeg's live-action footage with slit-scan photography created by Peter Truckel at The Moving Picture Company. Also directed by Nicolas Roeg the film was projected on a backdrop behind the stage as the band played. Three promotional videos were also directed by Roeg. "The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking" features snippets of the live action material from the screen films interspersed with footage of "Shane" and other cowboy films. "Sexual Revolution" also featured screen film material interspersed with footage Waters singing the song and playing his bass. "Every Stranger's Eyes" is identical to the screen projection, except for the fact that footage of Waters is also interspersed here.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Roger Waters.[9]

1."4:30AM (Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad)"3:12
2."4:33AM (Running Shoes)"4:08
3."4:37AM (Arabs with Knives and West German Skies)"2:17
4."4:39AM (For the First Time Today, Part 2)"2:02
5."4:41AM (Sexual Revolution)"4:49
6."4:47AM (The Remains of Our Love)"3:09
7."4:50AM (Go Fishing)"6:59
8."4:56AM (For the First Time Today, Part 1)"1:38
9."4:58AM (Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin)"3:03
10."5:01AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Part 10)"4:36
11."5:06AM (Every Stranger's Eyes)"4:48
12."5:11AM (The Moment of Clarity)"1:28
Total length:42:14


Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[13]


Actors (in order of appearance)

  • Andy Quigley as 'Welshman in Operating Theatre'
  • Beth Porter as 'Wife'
  • Roger Waters as 'Man'
  • Cherry Vanilla as 'Hitch Hiker' and 'Waitress'
  • Manning Redwood and Ed Bishop as 'Truck Drivers'
  • Jack Palance as 'Hell's Angel'
  • Madeline Bell as 'Hell's Angel's Girlfriend'

Technical personnel

  • Andy Jackson – engineer
  • Laura Boisan – assistant engineer
  • Michael King – SFX boffin
  • Zuccarelli Labs – holophonics
  • Doug Sax and Mike Reese – mastering
  • Gerald Scarfe – sleeve design, illustrations and lettering
  • Alex Henderson – photography
  • The Artful Dodgers – co-ordination

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[14] 30
New Zealand (RIANZ)[15] 14
Norway (VG-lista)[16] 4
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[17] 3
Switzerland (Media Control AG)[18] 12
UK Albums (The Official Charts Company)[19] 13
US Billboard 200[20] 31


  1. ^ "AllMusic review".
  2. ^ "Roger Waters : The Pros & Cons of Hitch Hiking". Rolling Stone. 7 June 1984. Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  3. ^ Cross, Charles R. (2004). "Roger Waters". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 864. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  4. ^ Sputnikmusic review
  5. ^ Blake, Mark (2008). "Why Are You Running Away?". Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo. pp. 258–259. ISBN 978-0-306-81752-6.
  6. ^ a b c Carruthers, Bob (2011). "The Wall". Pink Floyd – Uncensored on the Record (E-book ed.). Cooda Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-908538-27-7. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  7. ^ a b Kendall, Charlie (1984). "Shades of Pink – The Definitive Pink Floyd Profile". The Source Radio Show. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  8. ^ Roger Waters quoted in Mojo Magazine issue 193 (December 2009)
  9. ^ a b Mabbett, Andy (9 October 2007). The Complete Guide to the Music of "Pink Floyd". Wise Publications. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-84449-870-3.
  10. ^ Tolinski, Brad (September 1994). "The Great Gig in the Sky". Guitar World. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  11. ^ Blake, Mark (1992). "Still Waters". RCD. No. Vol.1, No.3. p. 57.
  12. ^ The title for the play Yesterday's Triumph is taken from the line "And we'll bask in the shadow of yesterday's triumph and sail on the steel breeze..." from the track Shine on You Crazy Diamond on Pink Floyd's album Wish You Were Here.
  13. ^ Waters, Roger (1984). The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking (Liner notes). Columbia Records. CK 39290.
  14. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 334. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  15. ^ " – Roger Waters – The Pros And Cons of Hitch Hiking". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  16. ^ " – Roger Waters – The Pros And Cons of Hitch Hiking". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  17. ^ " – Roger Waters – The Pros And Cons of Hitch Hiking". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  18. ^ "Roger Waters - The Pros And Cons of Hitch Hiking -". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  19. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Roger Waters – The Pros And Cons of Hitch Hiking". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  20. ^ "allmusic ((( The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 16 September 2010.

External links[edit]