So, you’ve just recorded three of the biggest hit albums of the 1970s. What’s next? Buy a solid gold jetski and sink it immediately? Grow your fingernails really long and become a reclusive eccentric who poops in a jar every day? Sure, that all sounds fun. Or, if you’re Roger Waters, singer/songwriter of Pink Floyd, you could end the decade with one of the bestselling albums of all time, The Wall.
Except it nearly didn’t happen. The band almost recorded a super weird concept album called The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking instead.
OK, band meeting. Manager Steve O’Rourke, what do you think about an album where every song follows the journey of a middle-aged man driving around California? Bit depressing? Right, how about if he picks up super-hot hitcher babes and has wild sex with them? Better? You the man, Steve.
Dave Gilmour, guitarist. Dave, baby, you’re gonna love this gig. The album will be a 42-minute fever dream with the same haunting guitar melody played throughout, plus a bit of blues riffing. What’s that Dave? I can’t hear you mate, turn it down a bit. You’re in? Sold!
Two votes did not make for a Floyd majority, and so the concept album was shelved in favour of something called Bricks in the Wall. The rest is musical history.
Except Waters eventually did record The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking as his first solo album in 1984, ditching Gilmour in favour of none other than Eric fucking Clapton.
It’s fair to say it’s a strange album, so they probably made the right call back in 78. It’s also an awesome ode to sexual freedom and features a cover that was enormously controversial at the time, one with a Penthouse connection.
"Right, how about if he picks up super-hot hitcher babes and has wild sex with them?"
Actress and model Linzi Drew appears naked on the album sleeve, wearing naught but a pair of red pumps and a backpack, thumb out as she looks to hitch a ride. Linzi was also, at one time, editor of British Penthouse. No word if current Australian Penthouse editor Sean Bruce intends posing like that for the next Hilltop Hoods album, but let’s hope not.
Linzi’s tush, the object of much teenage adulation, was of course censored by Columbia Records on later releases with an awkward black box slapped across the offending buttocks. Not on my copy, though! I was so glad when I brought it home from Tower Records. At last, I could prove to Mum that just because I wore red slip on loafers and a pink cardigan (they were fashionable at the time, I swear), I still liked girls.
She remained unconvinced, irrespective of my lady callers. Admittedly, buying Prince’s album Lovesexy a few years later, where he cavorts nude on the cover, did not help my cause. Undid all my good work, in fact. Thanks for nothing, Artist Formerly Known As.
Everyone understands that hitch hiking naked is a sure-fire way to get a ride, and also probably to get murdered, which is why no one does it. I have been fortunate enough to witness one young lass brave enough to emulate the venerable Miss Drew. A life model pal of mine came to a fancy-dress party in Melbourne once, clad in Linzi’s outfit. She parked her car near the Carlton cemetery, took her gear off, stuffed it in her backpack, slipped on a pair of heels, ran across the road and knocked the door of the house.
It was a popular costume. Certainly beat my Evel Knievel. Man, that was a good party.
Grab a copy of the latest issue of Penthouse here.