'It's scaring my cows': Remembering when Pink Floyd's giant inflatable pig broke free

music news 25/07/2022

In 1977, the transcendent band Pink Floyd released their 10th studio album ‘Animals’, with the album cover showing Britain’s Battersea Power Station and a pig, barely noticeable in the photo, flying above it. 

One day, a month before the album came out, that pig got set free and flew across the UK skies, disrupting aeroplanes and even leading to an arrest. 

The artist behind the photo, Aubrey Powell, talking to Time Out London and reported by Ultimate Classic Rock, recalled when the 40ft balloon broke free. 

“At 9:30 pm, a man rang up. He said, ‘Are you the guy looking for a pig? It’s scaring my cows to death in my field,” the now 75-year-old remembered. 

It was front-page news. Pink Floyd couldn’t have got better publicity if they tried.

Supposedly, once the balloon reached Heathrow Airport, planes had to land and Powell was subsequntly arrested. 

As the BBC reports, the pig, named Algie by the band’s bassist Roger Waters, did lead to an increase in record sales for Pink Floyd, with many of their older songs receiving newfound attention. 

The album itself was pretty successful. Though following the iconic albums ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, and ‘Wish You Were Here’ is a near impossible task, it reached number two and number three in the UK and the United States respectively.

It also reached number one here in New Zealand, as well as in four other countries. 

After the whole ordeal, the pig has become a kind of political sign for the band. In 2016, Waters’ band printed a slogan on the pig at an LA concert that read ‘Together we stand, divided we fall’ (pictured below).

At a 2007 concert Waters’ band printed ‘Impeach Bush’ on the balloon before sending it off into the sky.