Pink Floyd

Pink FloydFrom: London, England

Pink Floyd are considered to be one of the greatest and most important bands of all time. The music produced over the duration of the bands career is some of the best material ever written. To say that Pink Floyd experienced a lot of inter-band politics would be an understatement. The different line-ups that made up Pink Floyd over the years each had their own unique problems. Forming in the mid 1960’s, Pink Floyd were lead by the legendary Syd Barrett (guitar, vocals). Other founding members included Roger Waters (bass), Richard Wright (Keyboards) and Nick Mason (Drums). Pink Floyd were developing quite an underground following in 1966, at a time when the band was more conventional, playing rock and R&B music that was popular at the time. The name Pink Floyd was derived from two famous blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. After developing a steady fan base, Pink Floyd started to write their own material.  Syd Barrett was the primary song writer in the bands early stage, writing material that showcased his quirky personality.

In 1967, Pink Floyd landed a recording contract with EMI. The bands debut single, the brilliant “Arnold Layne” became a top 20 hit. “Arnold Layne” was a comic piece of music, talking about a transvestite. Following the success of their first single, Pink Floyd released “See Emily Play.” “See Emily Play” is a staple in the world of psychedelic music with the way Barrett orchestrates his voice and all the instruments come together to create a crazy mental journey. The song did even better than the first single, reaching the top 10 on the charts.

Later in 1967, Pink Floyd released the Barrett dominated album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Highly regarded as one of the greatest psychedelic albums ever made, Piper quickly became a hit with the underground scene. The variety of music on this record was like nothing ever heard before. The record went from cheerful and fun songs such as “Matilda Mother” and “Bike” to more alarming and aggressive songs like “Astronomy Domine” and “Interstellar Overdrive.” Along with SGT. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles and Their Satanic Majesty’s Request by The Rolling Stones, Piper at the Gates of Dawn tops the list of greatest psychedelic albums.

Unfortunately,  Syd Barrett‘s role with the band quickly began to diminish. Barrett‘s increasing drug problems were becoming too much for the band to handle, and they were beginning to wonder if it was time to go on without him. In 1968, Pink Floyd brought in guitarist David Gilmour, bringing the band up to five members. On their followup album, A Saucerful of Secrets, Pink Floyd saw a shift in their artistic direction. Saucerful was released with only one song written by Barrett, the fantastic “Jugband Blues.” While the influence of  Syd was felt throughout the rest of the record, notably the title track and “Let There Be More Light,” it was apparent that Pink Floyd was ready for a change. A Saucerful of Secrets would place in the top 10 on the charts.

1969 was an interesting year for Pink Floyd. Now with a new leader in Roger Waters, the band’s sound took on a much different tone. Pink Floyd released a soundtrack titled More. This record truly shows a band in the middle of a transition. Sounding nothing like the first two records, More is often seen as one of Pink Floyd’s weaker efforts. 1969 also saw the release of the double album, Ummagumma. The first album of Ummagumma is a live recording, showing Floyd’s ability to put on a great space-rock concert. The second album features several bizarre songs, such as the infamous “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict.” These humorous, yet slightly tedious, songs made Ummagumma another album that didn’t show the true wonders that were Pink Floyd. Despite this rough period of transition, Floyd continued recording, reaching their biggest success in the next decade.

After contributing to another soundtrack, Zabriskie Point, in 1970, Pink Floyd released Atom Heart Mother. This is the album that really starts to show who the band was becoming. Tracks like “If,” “Summer 68′,” and “Fat Old Sun” showed a more serious band again, with the ability of writing great music. Even though Atom Heart Mother was completely different than anything Pink Floyd had previously released, it displayed a band with confidence. The role of David Gilmour became more prominent on this record, possibly having something to do with the bands rise.

The next year saw the release of the brilliant album Meddle. Best known for it’s twenty-three minute opus “Echoes,” Meddle showed a real maturity in the band. Not only was it constructed beautifully, the songwriting of Roger Waters became significantly stronger. On this record, Waters went from a good songwriter to a great songwriter. With Atom Heart Mother kicking things off, and Meddle being such a strong followup, Pink Floyd were ready to become the best. Soundtracks never seemed to suite Pink Floyd well, and even though there are still some quality tracks from it, 1972’s Obscured By Clouds wasn’t as strong as Atom Heart Mother or Meddle. Still, Obscured had some fantastic pieces, most evidently “Wots…Uh The Deal” and “Childhood’s End.”

Nobody was ready for what was to happen next, the band included. In 1973, Pink Floyd released the masterpiece known as Dark Side of the Moon. This absolutely genius record dominated commercially, staying on the charts for an astounding 741 weeks. The success of Dark Side of The Moon was not something Pink Floyd thought would happen. The album took them from being stars to superstars, creating something that they would always be pressured to live up to. The success of songs such as “Money,” a song that uses the rare 7/4 time signature in its intro, took Pink Floyd to the top of the industry.

Despite not knowing how they would ever follow up the success of Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd managed to produce an excellent next record. 1975’s Wish You Were Here was the perfect album to follow Dark Side of the Moon. Equally strong in it’s own right, Wish You Were Here shows off the instrumental abilities of the band, especially on the ingenious “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” David Gilmour was becoming recognized as one of the best guitarists, and Wish You Were Here allowed for that to show.

As time wore on, the politics between the band members were escalating. Roger Waters wanted too much control of the band, and started to take on more of the vocals. On Pink Floyd’s next album, 1977’s Animals, Waters dominates by singing all five of the songs on the record. While the music is still absolutely flawless, the power struggle began to show through, hindering the relationship between members.

Again in 1979, Pink Floyd would soar to the top with the release of the dramatic album, The Wall. Reaching new lows, Roger Waters fired founding member Richard Wright in the middle of The Wall sessions. Waters insisted on his own material getting recorded, barely allowing Gilmour the chance to add his material. The Wall featured some of Pink Floyd’s most famous material, including “Another Brick in the Wall –  Part 2,” “Hey You,” and “Comfortably Numb,” but the ego of Waters was becoming too much, resulting in much turmoil within the band. Things would get even worse for Pink Floyd. 1983 came along and Waters wanted to put out another album. Not confident in the idea, Gilmour and Mason were forced into recording The Final Cut, an album that shows a band struggling to maintain their level of success. The Final Cut was named as such, because it was supposed to be the bands last album. Pink Floyd disbanded shortly after.

Years later, David Gilmour and Nick Mason called Richard Wright, seeing if he was interested in rejoining the band. With Waters gone, Wright agreed to come back. In 1986, Waters was suing Gilmour and Mason to have Pink Floyd dissolved. Losing the case, Waters was forced to deal with the continuation of Pink Floyd. In 1987, A Momentary Lapse of Reason was released as the bands first Waters-free album. Again, the sound that was Pink Floyd transitioned, but unlike it was almost twenty years prior, the transition was smooth. A Momentary Lapse of Reason and 1994’s The Division Bell did exceptionally well. The issues between Waters and Gilmour have, for the most part, been resolved. Tragically, both Syd Barrett and Richard Wright, respectively, have passed away. Both were because of cancer. Barrett passed away in 2006, and Wright in 2008. Still, the legacy that will always be Pink Floyd lives on.

Artist sources include: Richie Unterberger of Allmusic.com

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From 1967 album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Piper at the Gates of Dawn, The

  • Astronomy Domine
  • Bike
  • Chapter 24
  • Flaming
  • Interstellar Overdrive
  • Lucifer Sam
  • Matilda Mother
  • Pow R. Toc H.
  • Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk
  • The Gnome
  • The Scarecrow

From 1968 album A Saucerful of Secrets
A Saucerful of Secrets

  • Corporal Clegg
  • Jugband Blues
  • Let There Be More Light
  • Remember A Day
  • Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
  • See-Saw

From 1969 album More
More

  • Cirrus Minor
  • Cymbaline
  • Dramatic Theme
  • Ibiza Bar
  • Main Theme
  • The Nile Song

From 1969 album Ummagumma
Ummagumma

  • Astronomy Domine [Live]
  • Careful With That Axe, Eugene
  • Grantchester Meadows
  • Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun [Live]
  • The Narrow Way

From 1970 album Atom Heart Mother
Atom Heart Mother

  • Fat Old Sun
  • If
  • Summer ’68

From the 1970 soundtrack Zabriskie Point

  • Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up
  • Crumbling Land
  • Heart Beat Pig Meat

From the 1971 album Meddle

  • Echoes
  • Fearless
  • A Pillow Of Winds

From 1967 compilation First Three Singles
First Three Singles

  • Apples And Oranges
  • Arnold Layne
  • Candy And A Currant Bun
  • See Emily Play

From 1971 compilation Relics
Relics

  • Biding My Time
  • Julia Dream
  • Paintbox

From 1967 single “Scream Thy Last Scream”
Scream Thy Last Scream

  • Scream Thy Last Scream
  • Vegetable Man

From 1992 compilation A Saucerful of Outtakes
A Saucerful of Outtakes

  • Lucy Leave

From the 2016 compilation Cre/ation – The Early Years 1967-1972

  • In The Beechwoods
  • Point Me At The Sky

Promos

  • Relics’ LP Promo