Pink Floyd pigs

Pink Floyd pigs

Pigs are heavily featured in the artwork and stage shows of the progressive rock band Pink Floyd.

Inflatable Pink Floyd pigs are one of the staple props of their live shows. The first was a sow, but a very obviously male pig appeared in the 1980s. Pigs appeared numerous times in concerts by the band, promoting concerts and record releases, and on the cover of their 1977 album "Animals".


The original Pink Floyd pig was designed by Roger Waters and built in December 1976 in preparation for shooting the cover of the "Animals" album. Plans were made to fly the forty-foot, helium-filled balloon over Battersea Power Station on the first day's photo-shoot, with a marksman prepared to shoot the pig down if it broke free. However, the pig was not launched.

On the second day, the marksman wasn't present because no one had told him to return, and the pig broke free due to a strong gust of wind (gaining a lot of press coverage). It disappeared from sight within five minutes, and was spotted by airline pilots at forty thousand feet in the air. Flights at Heathrow Airport were cancelled as the huge inflatable pig flew through the path of aircraft, eastwards from Britain, over the English Channel, finally landing on a rural farm in Kent that night.

The pig was recovered and repaired for the resumption of photography for the album cover, but unfortunately the sky was cloudless and blue, thus "boring". However, the pictures of the sky from the first day were suitable; eventually, the album cover was created using a composite of photos from the first and third days. []

The pig that was originally floated above Battersea Power Station was called "Algie".Fact|date=February 2007

In the Flesh

After the album "Animals" was released in 1977, Pink Floyd began their "In the Flesh" tour. During concerts, the pig appeared around the PA stacks in a cloud of black smoke during performances of "Pigs (Three Different Ones)".

The pig also went astray whilst suspended from the ceiling of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge Louisiana in 1977Fact|date=June 2007. It ran back and forth over the audience during the performance on some sort of track, and at the end of its travels across the arena struck a fan in the head as it turned to go back toward the stageFact|date=June 2007.

"The Wall"

The pig also appeared during each of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" concerts, black instead of pink, with a crossed hammers logo on its side. Waters would occasionally refer to it directly before "Run Like Hell" (the pig appeared during the end of the previous song, "In the Flesh"). A short speech in reference to either the pig or the song was given in every show, with each speech being different; this oddity is used by bootleggers to identify which date a recording of the Wall tour was made on. At the Berlin concert, it was only the head and it had fangs.

The post-Waters pig

After Roger Waters left the band in 1985, following the release of "The Final Cut", he retained the copyright of the original design of the pig. He demanded US$800Fact|date=June 2007 for every time the remaining members of Pink Floyd appeared with the pig. Not wanting to pay that, they changed the pig's sex, adding testicles.Fact|date=March 2007

In the two post-Waters tours, the pig was used many times; but two of the pigs were lost, both during the "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" tours:
*One 12-meter pig being used at a record company function on January 28 1988 broke free before a concertFact|date=June 2007.
*On May 6 1988 one of the band's larger pigs descended towards the crowd and was ripped apart by fans during a concert in Foxboro, MassachusettsFact|date=June 2007.

During the 1994 tour, two warthog-like pigs with protruding tongues were shown at the top of the stage side's speaker towers, sometimes just deflated, sometimes dropped on the ground after "One of These Days". These two pigs were nicknamed "Syd" and "Roger" after the two former bandmatesFact|date=June 2007.

The pig made another appearance before the release of "", when Capitol Records flew a replica of the original pig from "Animals" over the Capitol Tower in Hollywood, California. It took a total of 350 hours to createFact|date=June 2007.

One inflatable pig, badly damaged and believed to be from the 1988 Pink Floyd tour, was repaired and flown again over a concert by the band String Cheese Incident in Austin, Texas on [ September 20, 2003] . Reportedly purchased by String Cheese Incident manager Mike Luba from a former Pink Floyd stagehand, the 40-foot pig flew again over the Austin City Limits Music Festival audience during a cover of Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)". The full story of the pig, its repair, and return to flight is detailed in [ this article at] .


During their Live 8 reunion with Waters, footage of the original pig, over Battersea Power Station, was shown on a giant video screen behind the band.

Roger Waters solo tours

See: Inflatable pigs on Roger Waters' tours.


*The Pig has also appeared on "The Simpsons". It was featured in the episode "Homerpalooza" where it was used by Peter Frampton. Frampton mentions that he bought the pig at "Pink Floyd's yard sale". Another instance of a flying pig appeared in "Lisa the Vegetarian", where a roasted pig is jettisoned by a clogged dam and flies past the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. In December 2007, an inflatable Spider-Pig flew over Battersea Power Station as both a promotion for The Simpsons Movie's DVD release and as an homage to the Animals cover.

*The song "The Air Is Getting Slippery" by Primus (from their "Pork Soda" album, whose cover features a pig's head), includes the lyrics "If you've studied your Floyd properly / You'd know that pigs could fly". Primus are known to be big Pink Floyd fans, and have covered several Pink Floyd songs, both on stage and on disc (including "Have a Cigar" on the "Miscellaneous Debris" album). Les Claypool, lead singer of Primus recorded Pink Floyd Animals in its entirety as Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade - Live Frogs: Set 2

*Roger Waters wanted the pig to be male.

*In the film "Children of Men", homage is paid to the cover of "Animals" in the scene where Theodore Faron (played by Clive Owen) first meets the character Nigel (Danny Huston). This scene clearly shows a large scale replica of the pig, apparently overlooking Battersea Power Station.

*The B-side of the Leyton Buzzards' single "I'm Hanging Around" featured a track titled "No Dry Ice or Flying Pigs".

*In , eventually a flying pig that strongly resembles the one seen in Water's concerts zooms through any neighbourhood using a water tower. To avoid copyright issues, Maxis added wings to the pig.

*The song "Force Quit" by Chemlab refers to the cover of "Animals", with the lyric "I can see / pigs over Battersea."

*During Waters' performance at the 2008 Coachella Festival, one of the giant inflatable pigs being used as a prop became untethered and floated away into the California desert. Organizers of the festival have offered a $10,000 reward plus free lifetime tickets to the festival in return for the pig's recovery. The pig was found three days later at a nearby country club. [ [ Pig found in La Quinta country club] ]

*Likewise, during the concert in Dallas, TX on May 2, 2008, and Houston, TX on May 4, the pig floated away again. No news yet on its whereabouts.


*"The Work of Hipgnosis: Walk Away Rene" by Storm Thorgerson, (New York: A & W Visual Library, 1978), ISBN 0-89104-105-2.

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