In 1977, Pink Floyd were under tremendous pressure to ensure that Animals — their long-awaited 10th album — was a commercial success. The answer was simple: They commissioned a gigantic helium-filled pig and strapped it to London’s Battersea Power Station, because nothing drums up publicity for a progressive rock record like a giant inflatable pig.
However, in a turn of events that would provide yet another footnote to the adage “props are a musician’s worst enemy,” the 40-foot-long pig — nicknamed “Algie” — broke free from its moorings and escaped to sow (pun intended) a rampage of confusion and mild public endangerment. After it floated above London’s Heathrow Airport, authorities were forced to ground every single flight to avoid any sudden collisions with an enormous pig-shaped balloon. At this point, the Royal Air Force had to be deployed to try to bring down the errant porcine.
The balloon eventually crashed in a field in Kent, where it scared the shit out of some cows. Oddly enough, Pink Floyd had anticipated that Algie might break free of his moorings and had actually hired a sharpshooter to watch over the giant pig and take it out in case it escaped. Fortunately for history, the sharpshooter didn’t show up, leading to the incident that we’re amazed nobody called “The Great Pig In The Sky.”
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