1985–1994: Gilmour-led era
A Momentary Lapse of Reason
In 1986, Gilmour began recruiting musicians for what would become Pink Floyd's first album without Waters, A Momentary Lapse of Reason. There were legal obstacles to Wright's re-admittance to the band, but after a meeting in Hampstead, Pink Floyd invited Wright to participate in the coming sessions. Gilmour later stated that Wright's presence "would make us stronger legally and musically", and Pink Floyd employed him as a musician with weekly earnings of $11,000. Recording sessions for the album began on Gilmour's houseboat, the Astoria, moored along the River Thames. Gilmour worked with several songwriters, including Eric Stewart and Roger McGough, eventually choosing Anthony Moore to write the album's lyrics. Gilmour would later admit that the project was difficult without Waters' creative direction. Mason, concerned that he was too out-of-practice to perform on the album, made use of session musicians to complete many of the drum parts. He instead busied himself with the album's sound effects.
A Momentary Lapse of Reason was released in September 1987. Storm Thorgerson, whose creative input was absent from The Wall and The Final Cut, designed the album cover. To drive home the point that Waters had left the band, they included a group photograph on the inside cover, the first since Meddle. The album went straight to number three in the UK and the US. Waters commented: "I think it's facile, but a quite clever forgery ... The songs are poor in general ... [and] Gilmour's lyrics are third-rate." Although Gilmour initially viewed the album as a return to the band's top form, Wright disagreed, stating: "Roger's criticisms are fair. It's not a band album at all." Q Magazine described the album as essentially a Gilmour solo effort.
Waters attempted to subvert the Momentary Lapse of Reason tour by contacting promoters in the US and threatening to sue them if they used the Pink Floyd name. Gilmour and Mason funded the start-up costs with Mason using his Ferrari 250 GTO as collateral. Early rehearsals for the upcoming tour were chaotic, with Mason and Wright entirely out of practice. Realising he had taken on too much work, Gilmour asked Bob Ezrin to assist them. As Pink Floyd toured throughout North America, Waters' Radio K.A.O.S. tour was on occasion, close by, though in much smaller venues than those hosting his former band's performances. Waters issued a writ for copyright fees for the band's use of the flying pig. Pink Floyd responded by attaching a large set of male genitalia to its underside to distinguish it from Waters' design. The parties reached a legal agreement on 23 December; Mason and Gilmour retained the right to use the Pink Floyd name in perpetuity and Waters received exclusive rights to, among other things, The Wall.