Animals is the tenth studio album by Pink Floyd, released on 23 January 1977 by Harvest Records in the United Kingdom and by Columbia Records in the United States. It is a concept album that provides a scathing critique of the social-political conditions of late-1970s Britain, and presents a marked change in musical style from their earlier work. Animals was recorded at the band's studio, Britannia Row, in London, but its production was punctuated by the early signs of discord that three years later would culminate in keyboardist Richard Wright leaving the band. The album's cover image, a pig floating between two chimneys of the Battersea Power Station, was conceived by the band's bassist and lead songwriter Roger Waters, and was designed by long-time collaborator Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis.
In 1975, Pink Floyd bought a three-storey block of church halls at 35 Britannia Row in Islington, north London. Their deal with Harvest Records' parent company EMI for unlimited studio time in return for a reduced percentage of sales had expired, and they converted the building into a recording studio and storage facility. Its construction took up most of 1975, and in April 1976 the band started work on their tenth studio album, Animals, at the new facility.
Animals was engineered by a previous Floyd collaborator, Brian Humphries, and recording took place at Britannia Row from April to December 1976, continuing into early 1977. "Raving and Drooling" and "You've Got to Be Crazy", two songs previously performed live and considered for Wish You Were Here, reappeared as "Sheep" and "Dogs" respectively. They were reworked to fit the new concept, and separated by a Waters-penned composition, "Pigs (Three Different Ones)". With the exception of "Dogs" (co-written by Gilmour) the album's five tracks were written by Waters. The song contains references to Waters' private life; his new romantic interest was Carolyne Anne Christie (married to Rock Scully, manager of the Grateful Dead). Gilmour was distracted by the birth of his first child, and contributed little else towards the songwriting of the album. Similarly, neither Mason nor Wright contributed as much as they had on previous albums, and Animals was the first Pink Floyd album not to contain a composer's credit for Wright.
The band had discussed employing another guitarist for future tours, and Snowy White was therefore invited into the studio. When Waters and Mason inadvertently erased one of Gilmour's completed guitar solos, White was asked to record a solo on "Pigs on the Wing". Although his performance was omitted from the vinyl release, it was included on the eight-track cartridge version. White later performed on the Animals tour. Mason recalled that he enjoyed working on Animals more than he had working on Wish You Were Here.
Loosely based on George Orwell's political fable Animal Farm, the album's lyrics describe various classes in society as different kinds of animals: the combative dogs, the despotic ruthless pigs, and the "mindless and unquestioning herd" of sheep. Whereas the novella focuses on Stalinism, the album is a critique of capitalism and differs again in that the sheep eventually rise up to overpower the dogs. The album was developed from a collection of unrelated songs into a concept which, in the words of author Glenn Povey, "described the apparent social and moral decay of society, likening the human condition to that of mere animals".
This is one of my favorites Pink Floyd albums, with genius Roger doing great compositions as always. Without a doubt Pink Floyd was the greatest band of the world with Roger Waters on it, and after departure wasn't the same. In this album we have some of the David Gilmour's finest work, but the heart is with Waters, the primal ideas are with Waters!