Roger Waters

Roger Waters

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Roger Waters

Img_capt = Roger Waters in Brazil, 2007.
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = George Roger Waters
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1943|9|6|df=yes Surrey, England
Instrument = Vocals, bass guitar, guitar, synthesizer
Genre = Progressive rock, psychedelic rock, art rock, opera
Occupation = Musician, songwriter, composer, producer
Years_active = 1964–present
Label = Capitol, Columbia, Sony, Harvest
Associated_acts = Pink Floyd, Sigma 6, The Screaming Abdabs, The Bleeding Heart Band, Jeff Beck
URL = []
Notable_instruments = Fender Precision Bass

George Roger Waters (born 6 September 1943 in Great Bookham, Surrey) is an English rock musician. He is best known as the bass player, main songwriter, and a lead vocalist of the English rock band Pink Floyd from 1964 to 1985. Following his split with Pink Floyd in 1985, Waters began a moderately successful solo career, releasing three studio albums, one soundtrack, and staging one of the largest concerts ever, "The Wall Concert in Berlin" in 1990. In 2005 he released an opera, "Ça Ira", and joined Pink Floyd at the Live 8 concert in London for their first public performance with Waters in 24 years.


Early years (1943–1965)

Born in Great Bookham, Surrey, Waters grew up in Cambridge. His father Eric Fletcher Waters fought in World War II and died in combat at Anzio in 1944, when Waters was only five months old. Waters would refer or allude to the loss of his father throughout his work, from "Corporal Clegg" ("A Saucerful Of Secrets", 1968), through "Free Four" ("Obscured By Clouds", 1972) and the sombre "When the Tigers Broke Free", first used in the movie version of "The Wall".

Waters and Syd Barrett attended the Morley Memorial Junior School on Hills Road, Cambridge, and later both attended the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys (now Hills Road Sixth Form College), while fellow band member David Gilmour attended The Perse School on the same road.cite web|title=Pink Floyd in Cambridge|url=|accessdate=2006-10-18] He met Nick Mason and Rick Wright while attending the Regent Street Polytechnic school of architecture. He was a keen sportsman and was fond of swimming in the River Cam at Grantchester Meadows. At 15 he was chair of YCND in Cambridge.

Pink Floyd years (1965–1985)

In 1965, Roger Waters co-founded Pink Floyd along with Syd Barrett, Richard Wright and Nick Mason. Although Barrett initially did most of the songwriting for the band, Waters wrote the song "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" on their debut LP, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn". The album was a critical success and positioned the band for stardom. Barrett's deteriorating mental health led to increasingly erratic behaviour, rendering him unable to continue in his capacity as Pink Floyd's lead singer and guitarist. Waters attempted to coerce his friend into psychiatric treatment; this proved unhelpful, and the band approached David Gilmour to replace Barrett at the end of 1967. Even the band's former managers felt that Pink Floyd would not be able to sustain its initial success without the talented Barrett. Filling the void left by Barrett's departure, Waters began to chart Pink Floyd's new artistic direction. The lineup with Gilmour and Waters eventually brought Pink Floyd to prominence, producing a series of albums in the 1970s that remain among the most critically acclaimed and best-selling records of all time.

In 1970, Waters collaborated with British composer Ron Geesin, who co-wrote Pink Floyd's title suite from "Atom Heart Mother", on a soundtrack album, "Music from "The Body"", which consisted mostly of instrumentals interspersed with songs composed by Waters. Within Pink Floyd, Waters became the main lyrical contributor, exerting progressively more creative control over the band: he produced thematic ideas that became the impetus for concept albums such as "The Dark Side of the Moon" and "Wish You Were Here", for which he wrote all of the lyrics and some of the music. After this, Waters became the primary songwriter, composing "Animals" and "The Wall" largely by himself (though continuing to collaborate with Gilmour on a few tracks).

Waters' bandmates were happy to allow him to write the band's lyrics and guide its conceptual direction while they shared the opportunity to contribute musical ideas.cite web|title=David Gilmour Interview|url=|accessdate=2006-10-16] This give-and-take relationship began to dissolve: a consequence of the band's collective ennui, according to Waters. Songwriting credits were a source of contention in these years; Gilmour has noted that his contributions to tracks like "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II", with its guitar solo, were not always noted in the album credits. Nick Mason addresses the band infighting in his memoir, "", characterizing Waters as egomaniacal at times. It was while recording "The Wall" that Waters decided to fire Wright, after Wright's personal problems began to affect the album production. Wright stayed with the band as a paid session musician while Waters led the band through a complete performance of the album on every night of the brief tour that followed, for which Gilmour acted as musical director.

In 1983, the last Waters–Gilmour–Mason collaboration, "The Final Cut", was released. The sleeve notes describe it as being a piece "by Roger Waters" that was "performed by Pink Floyd". Gilmour unsuccessfully tried to delay production on the album until he could author more material; Waters refused, and in 1985, he proclaimed that the band had dissolved due to irreconcilable differences. The ensuing battle between Waters and Gilmour over the latter's intention to continue to use the name "Pink Floyd" descended into threatened lawsuits and public bickering in the press. Waters claimed that, as the original band consisted of himself, Syd Barrett, Nick Mason and Richard Wright, Gilmour could not reasonably use the name "Pink Floyd" now that it was without three of its founding members. Another of Waters' arguments was that he had written almost all of the band's lyrics and a great part of the music after Barrett's departure. However, through agreement, Gilmour and Mason won the right to use the name and a majority of the band's songs, though Waters did retain the rights to "The Wall" (save for three of the songs that Gilmour co-wrote), "Animals", and "The Final Cut", as well as ownership of the Pink Floyd pigs.Fact|date=February 2008

Early solo years (1985–2005)

After his departure from Pink Floyd, Waters embarked on a solo career producing three concept albums and a movie soundtrack which did not garner impressive sales. His solo work has managed critical acclaim and even some comparison to previous work with Pink Floyd.cite web|title="Amused to Death" review|url=|author=All Media Guide|accessdate=2006-10-16] His first solo album, 1984's "The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking", was a project about a man's dreams across one night. The list of musicians helping Waters during recording included guitarist Eric Clapton and jazz saxophonist David Sanborn. Conceived around the same time as "The Wall", the concept was shown and demos played to the Pink Floyd members, but they chose to proceed with "The Wall" over "The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking", rejecting the latter as "too personal". Gilmour was later to claim that this was not as obvious a task as might first seem, as, in his opinion, both demos were "unlistenable" and "sounded exactly alike." [Glenn Povey and Richard Ashton interview with Gilmour, "Brain Damage", February 1988] Longtime Pink Floyd engineer Nick Griffiths, however, says otherwise: "They were seriously rough, but the songs were there." [Schaffner, Nicholas, "A Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey", First Edition, 1991, p.224] The album, accompanied by Gerald Scarfe artwork that some claimed was sexist, received mixed reviews, with Kurt Loder describing "Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking" in "Rolling Stone" as a "strangely static, faintly hideous record", adding that "Waters sounds like the kind of guy who'd bring Hershey bars and nylons along on a first date."cite web|title="The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking" review|url=|author=Rolling Stone|accessdate=2006-10-16] On the other end of the spectrum, Mike DeGagne of Allmusic praised the album for its "ingenious symbolism and his brilliant use of stream of consciousness within a subconscious realm", rating it four out of five stars. [ Allmusic] The resulting concert tour featuring a set design by Marc Brickman and Mark Fisher of Park Display, and, on the first leg, Clapton on lead guitar, was not a success.

In 1986 Waters contributed songs and a score to the soundtrack of the movie "When the Wind Blows", based on the Raymond Briggs book of the same name. His backing band, featuring Paul Carrack, was credited as "The Bleeding Heart Band". Waters' then legal wranglings with Gilmour over the Pink Floyd brand are alluded to on the soundtrack album's "Towers of Faith", where the vocal transforms from "This land is my land", to "This sand is my sand", to "This band is my band".

In 1987 Waters released another concept album, "Radio K.A.O.S.", about a man named Billy who can hear radio waves in his head. Waters followed the release with a supporting tour, also in 1987. Though applauded by many for its contemporary soundFact|date=February 2008, the album did not garner the impressive sales he had achieved in Pink Floyd. Years later, Waters himself would express dissatisfaction at the album, expressing distaste for the production, and particularly regretting his decision to trim the album from a double to a single, losing much of the concept in the process.Fact|date=February 2008 This was possibly attributable to the fact that he was now competing with a reformed Pink Floyd who were touring to support their comeback release, "A Momentary Lapse of Reason".

After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, Waters staged The Wall Concert in Berlin on 21 July 1990 to commemorate the end of the division between East and West Germany. The concert took place on Potsdamer Platz, part of the former "no-man's land" of the Berlin Wall, and featured many guest superstars: The Band, Bryan Adams, Cyndi Lauper, Van Morrison, Sinéad O'Connor, The Scorpions, Marianne Faithfull, and Joni Mitchell. It was one of the biggest concerts ever staged with an attendance of over 300,000 and was watched live by over five million people worldwide. However, the initial funds raised from the concert barely covered expenses. Fact|date=September 2008

Two years later, Waters released 1992's "Amused to Death", about the corrupting, desensitising nature of television. The title was derived from the book "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman. It is Waters' most critically acclaimed solo recording, with music critics comparing it to later Pink Floyd work, such as "The Wall". Waters himself describes the record as the third in a thematically-linked trilogy, after "Dark Side Of The Moon" and "The Wall". The album had one hit, "What God Wants, Pt. 1" which hit #4 on Mainstream Rock charts. Jeff Beck played lead guitar on many of the album's tracks, which were recorded with a rotating cast of backup musicians. There was no tour in support of this record, although Waters would later perform several songs from this record nearly eight years later on his "In the Flesh" tours.

In 1999 Waters embarked on the "In the Flesh" tour which saw him performing some of his most famous work, both solo and Pink Floyd material. The tour was a success in the US, and after Waters had booked mostly smaller venues (after the let-down in attendance from his 1987 tour), tickets sold so well that most of the concerts had to be upgraded to larger venues. With Gilmour's Pink Floyd retiring after 1994, and many Floyd albums selling at the pace of Beatles records, Waters was in great demand. The tour eventually stretched across the world. Tickets were at such high demand, that the tour had to be spanned over three years. Almost every show was sold out with some venues garnering more sales than Pink Floyd shows of early touring years.Fact|date=February 2007 One concert was released on CD and DVD, named "In the Flesh Live", after the tour. During this tour he played two new songs from his next solo album, "Flickering Flame" and "Each Small Candle", as the final encore to the show. In June of 2002 Waters played the Glastonbury Festival performing many classic Pink Floyd songs.

Miramax Films announced in mid-2004 that a production of "The Wall" was to appear on Broadway with Waters playing a prominent part in its production. Reports stated that the musical contained not only the original tracks from "The Wall", but also songs from "Dark Side of the Moon", "Wish You Were Here" and other Pink Floyd albums, as well as new material.cite web|title=Pink Floyd's Wall Broadway bound|url=|author=BBC News|accessdate=2006-10-16] On the night of 1 May 2004, the overture for "Ça Ira" was pre-premièred on occasion of the "Welcome Europe" celebrations in the accession country of Malta, performed over Grand Harbour in Valletta and illuminated by light artist Gert Hof.

In September 2004, Waters released two new tracks on the Internet, "To Kill The Child" and "Leaving Beirut." Both of these tracks were inspired by the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Waters, who currently resides in the U.S., has said that the songs were written immediately after the start of the war, but he delayed releasing them until just before the 2004 Presidential election. The lyrics to "Leaving Beirut" contain strong attacks on U.S. President George W. Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair. After the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and subsequent tsunami disaster, Waters performed "Wish You Were Here" with Eric Clapton during a benefit concert on the American network NBC.

Later solo years (since 2005)

In February 2005, it was announced on Roger Waters' website that his opera, "Ça Ira", had been completed after 16 years of work. It was released as a CD/DVD set by Sony Classical on 27 September 2005 with Baritone Bryn Terfel, soprano Ying Huang and tenor Paul Groves. The original libretto was written in French by the late Étienne Roda-Gil, who set the opera during the early French Revolution. From 1997 Waters rewrote the libretto in English.

On 2 July 2005 Waters and Pink Floyd reunited for a performance at the Live 8 concert. They played a six-song, 23-minute set, including "Speak to Me/Breathe"/"Breathe (Reprise)", "Money", "Wish You Were Here", and "Comfortably Numb". Waters remarked shortly after Live 8 to the Associated Press that, while the experience of playing as Pink Floyd again was positive, the chances of a bona fide reunion would be "slight", considering his and Gilmour's continuing musical and ideological differences. During an interview with Rolling Stone, Waters further denied the possibility of a future Pink Floyd tour, saying "I didn't mind rolling over for one day, but I couldn't roll over for a whole fucking tour." [Scaggs, Austin (11 August 2005). "Q&A", "Rolling Stone" issue 980] He has since stated on a radio interview that he would be interested in the possibility of recording a new album with the rest of Pink Floyd as long as he had creative control. However, David Gilmour has said on several occasions that he is retired from extensive touring, shedding more doubt on the possibility of a Pink Floyd reunion tour.

However, more recently, Roger has become more open to the idea of a Pink Floyd reunion tour, stating during the BBC documentary "Which One's Pink", "It was really cool, I'd like to do more of it", and at the end of the program, stated "I don't think it will happen but I'd like...well, you can ask David when you speak to him."

Waters is known to be working on two new solo albums; one has the working title of "Heartland". Two new songs that might appear on this album have been released on "": "Each Small Candle" and "Flickering Flame". The other of the two albums deals with the theme of love, much in the vein of "Pros and Cons". A work-in-progress, which may appear on this album and was dubbed "Woman" by bootleggers, was heard during the sound checks for the In the Flesh tour. However, in a recent telephone interview, he confirmed that the release of his next project has been delayed due to not having a concept to draw all the individual songs together into one piece.

Roger Waters toured Europe and North America during 2006 for his The Dark Side of the Moon Live Tour. As part of his performance he played a complete run-through of the 1973 Pink Floyd classic, "The Dark Side of the Moon", as the second half of the show. The first half was a mix of Floyd classics and Waters' solo material. Elaborate staging designed by Marc Brickman, complete with projections, and a full, 360 degree quadrophonic sound system were used. This new Waters' solo tour is expected to be as successful as his previous "In the Flesh" tour. His former Pink Floyd bandmate, Nick Mason joined Waters on some of the tour dates. Richard Wright was invited to participate on the tour as well but he declined the offer to work on solo projects.cite web|title=2006 North American Tour Full Details|url=|author=Brain Damage|accessdate=2006-10-16] There is also a 2007 leg of the Tour, starting in January in Australia, followed by New Zealand and going through Asia, Europe, South America, and finally North America in June.

Waters' former bandmate Nick Mason began patching their relationship in 2002. After speaking to Mason and Bob Geldof about a possible Pink Floyd reunion at Live 8, Waters contacted Gilmour by phone and e-mail, and it appears that they have buried the hatchet since the historic concert and now communicate on a friendly basis. Waters had made overtures to Richard Wright, as well, before Wright's death on 15 September 2008. Syd Barrett, who died on Friday 7 July 2006, remained an emotional subject for most of his friends and former colleagues. Waters said in interviews before Barrett's death that it would be difficult and inappropriate for him to try to insert himself back into his old friend's life. Waters performed another Dark Side of the Moon concert in the summer of 2007.

On 7 July 2007, Waters played at the American leg of the Live Earth concert, an international multi-venue concert aimed to raise awareness about global climate change, featuring the Trenton Youth Choir and his trademark inflatable pig. Waters has also recently become a spokesperson for Millennium Promise, a non-profit organisation that helps fight extreme poverty and malaria, and wrote a commentary for CNN's website on 11 June 2007 about the topic. [ [ Waters: Something can be done about extreme poverty -] ] After wrapping up a performance at the Coachella Festival in April, Waters will continue his The Dark Side of the Moon Live tour in 2008. [ [ Portishead, Johnson, Waters To Headline Coachella] ]

Waters has made his views about the 2008 United States Presidential election clear. During his concert appearance at the Coachella Festival, he released the trademark Pink Floyd inflatable pig into the air with the words "Don't be led to the slaughter" written on one side, next to a cartoon of Uncle Sam holding meat cleavers. "Fear builds walls" was written on the pig's other side and "Impeach Bush" on the pig's behind. On the pig's belly was Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama's name with a check mark beside it. [ The Raw Story: "Roger Waters plays `Dark Side,' unleashes giant pig"] ] Waters has referred to Hillary Clinton, another Democratic candidate, as "ghastly". [ Gigwise news article: "Roger Waters: "Ghastly Hillary Clinton Will Invade Iran"] ] During an interview on the subject of the 2008 Presidential election Waters also revealed his atheism, saying: "Please, God - I'm an atheist so maybe I shouldn't be asking God - but let Barack Obama finally win the Democratic nomination and elect a person who seems to be not just enormously intelligent but also deeply humane and seems to have an imagination." [Roger Waters interviewed by Mark Brown, [ Rocky Mountain Music] , 25 April 2008 (accessed 10 June 2008).]

Pink Floyd songs composed solely by Roger Waters

*"Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" from "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" (1967).
*"Julia Dream" from Single B-side to "It Would Be So Nice" (1968).
*"Let There Be More Light" from "A Saucerful of Secrets" (1968).
*"Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" from "A Saucerful of Secrets" (1968).
*"Corporal Clegg" from "A Saucerful of Secrets" (1968).
*"Cirrus Minor" from "Soundtrack from the Film More" (1969).
*"The Nile Song from "Soundtrack from the Film More" (1969).
*"Crying Song" from "Soundtrack from the Film More" (1969).
*"Green is the Colour" from "Soundtrack from the Film More" (1969).
*"Cymbaline" from "Soundtrack from the Film More" (1969).
*"Grantchester Meadows" from "Ummagumma" (1969).
*"Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict" from "Ummagumma" (1969).
*"If" from "Atom Heart Mother" (1970).
*"Biding My Time" from "Relics" (1971).
*"San Tropez" from "Meddle" (1971).
*"Free Four" from "Obscured by Clouds" (1972).
*"Money" from "Dark Side of the Moon" (1973).
*"Brain Damage" from "Dark Side of the Moon" (1973).
*"Eclipse" from "Dark Side of the Moon" (1973).
*"Have a Cigar" from "Wish You Were Here" (1975).
*"Welcome to the Machine" from "Wish You Were Here" (1975).
*All tracks on "Animals" except "Dogs" (1977).
*All tracks on "The Wall" except "Young Lust", "Comfortably Numb" , "Run Like Hell" and "The Trial" (1979).
*All tracks on "The Final Cut" (1983).
*"Embryo" from "Works" (1983).

Hits and awards

Waters' solo singles have seen little chart activity; "What God Wants, Pt. 1" reached #35 in the UK in September 1992. [cite web|title=UK Top 40 chart archive database|url=] His first major solo album, "The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking", has been certified Gold by the RIAA, and his opera "Ça Ira" reached #1 on both the UK and U.S. Classical Charts. Waters has also been inducted into the U.S. and UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Pink Floyd, and received a "Media Event of the Year" award for mounting "The Wall Live in Berlin".

Equipment and instruments

Though Waters does not talk a lot about the musical equipment he uses in his tours and during his recordings, it is known that when he first started playing with Pink Floyd he used a Hofner bass, quickly replacing that with a Rickenbacker 4001S bass guitar. In the early 1970s, he switched to a Fender Precision Bass. He often plays with a pick, but is also known to play fingerstyle occasionally. He also uses RotoSound Jazz Bass 77 bass guitar strings. Throughout his career, he has used WEM, Hiwatt and Ashdown amplifiers. On his current tour, Waters uses Ampeg amplifiers. He is known to use delay and flanger effects in his music.

While usually credited only as a bass guitarist and vocalist, Waters is also known to play electric guitar (as he did on "Wish You Were Here" and "Animals", where he played rhythm guitar on tracks "Shine On You Crazy Diamond"-part 9, "Pigs (Three Different Ones)"Fact|date=August 2007 and "Sheep") as well as add synthesizer and tape effects, both to Pink Floyd and his solo works. He also plays acoustic guitar frequently during his live tours, mostly on tracks from "The Final Cut" and on the track "Mother".

The following is a list of equipment Waters either has used on his solo or Pink Floyd recordings, as well as on tours. [Fitch, Vernon: "The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia (3rd Edition)" 2005] [Mason, Nick: "Inside Out - A Personal History of Pink Floyd" 2004] [Fitch, Vernon and Mahon, Richard: "Comfortably Numb - The Wall 1978-1981" 2006]

Bass guitars

*Höfner bass guitar. His first bass.
*Rickenbacker RM-1999 (also known as 4001S). Fireglo with rosewood fretboard. Used between 1966-1969.
*Fender Precision Bass. Waters was first seen in 1968 with a Precision. After 1970 he has rarely used any other bass guitars.
**Sunburst with rosewood fretboard and brown shell pickguard. First seen in September 1968. Also used in the early 70's. Pickup cover and thumbrest (below pickups) attached.
**White with red pickguard and rosewood fretboard. Appears on back cover of Ummagumma 1969. Seen used at the KQED TV recording April 1970 as well as several photographs from 1969.
**Multi-coloured with rosewood fretboard. Actual colours of bass are unknown since only black and white footage/photos exist. This is a WWII German camouflage pattern. Used extremely rarely in 1969.
**Black with rosewood fretboard. Seen in some early performances.
**Black with white pickguard, maple fretboard. First seen at a concert in Hyde park in July 1970, this guitar was not used extensively until after early 1972 when it became his "de facto" only guitar on stage. In the late 70's Phil Taylor (David Gilmour's guitar technician) replaced the white pickguard with a black, something clearly visible on In the Flesh and The Wall tours. During the Wall sessions and tour Waters had three of them.
**Sunburst with maple fretboard and white pickguard. Used during the "Dark Side of the Moon" recordings.
**Black with maple fretboard and black pickguard. His main bass guitars during the 1980s solo album and tours.Waters currently uses Samson wireless systems with his basses.
*Black with maple fretboard "blackguard" Fender Precision - currently used on Live 8, The Dark Side Of The Moon Live 2006-2008


*CBS Fender Stratocaster. Black with white pickguard, maple fretboard. First seen in Live at Pompeii.
*CBS Fender Stratocaster. Black with maple fretboard. Used on the 1977 tour. The above Pompeii guitar belonged to David Gilmour.
*Fender Stratocaster. Black with white pickguard and maple fretboard. Used on The Wall recording sessions.
*Ovation Legend acoustic/electric guitar. Used on the 1977 tour.
*Ovation Legend 1619-4 acoustic guitar. Used on The Wall recording sessions and tour. Also used on The Pros & Cons of Hitch Hiking Tour.
*Ovation Classical 1613 acoustic guitar. Used on The Wall tour.
*Washburn electric-acoustic guitar. Blue. Used on Radio K.A.O.S. tour. and The Wall Live in Berlin.
*Gibson Les Paul guitar. Black. Used on Radio K.A.O.S. tour.
*Unknown Fender Telecaster copy. Black, with three control knobs. Used exclusively at The Wall Live in Berlin, on "Hey You".
*Martin 000-28EC acoustic guitar. Used on In the Flesh tour.
*Martin 000-28ECHF Bellezza Nera acoustic guitar. Used on Dark Side of the Moon Live tour.
*Washburn RR300 electric guitar (hi-strung). Sunburst. Used on In the Flesh tour.
*Fender Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster. Torino Red with white pickguard. Used on In the Flesh tour.
*Fender Stratocaster. All black. Used on 2002 In the Flesh tour.

olo discography

"For his work with Pink Floyd, see Pink Floyd discography between 1967 and 1983


External links

* [ Roger Waters Official website]
*imdb name | id=0914166| name=Roger Waters
* [ "REG": Roger Waters International Fan Club]

NAME= Waters, Roger
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Waters, George Roger
DATE OF BIRTH= 6 September 1944
PLACE OF BIRTH=Surrey, England

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