Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd were a rock band from England, active between 1965 and 2005. Stranger than The Beatles and more cerebral than The Stones, their distinctive music has proved enduringly popular with three generations of nerds, geeks, trogs and weirdoes.

The music of Pink Floyd tends to unite otherwise disparate groups.

1967: L-R Nick Mason, drums & vocals: Syd Barrett, guitar & vocals: David Gilmour, guitar & vocals: Roger Waters, bass & vocals, Richard Wright, keyboards & vocals. None of these people could actually sing.

Just The Facts

  1. Pink Floyd are the global megacorporate multiplatinum rock behemoths that it's okay to like.
  2. Pink Floyd are frequently credited with revolutionising the art of studio recording, pioneering the genres of post-rock, electronica and ambient music, and perfecting the Concept Album.
  3. Pink Floyd are the band who taught the world that rock music didn't always have to be about fucking.
  4. Pink Floyd contains some of the least sexy people ever to pick up a musical instrument.

The Early Years 1965-1967

Founded on the radical idea that rock n' roll music didn't always have to be about fucking, Pink Floyd start as they meant to go on, as a bunch of poshos from Cambridge playing 28-minute freeform versions of Louie Louie. The band's principal creative force at this point is their dashingly handsome frontman Syd Barrett; their sound like John Coltrane's reinterpretation of Mother Goose as played by The Shadows with their hair on fire. A radio programme of the period moans 'are the beguiling melodies of The Beatles to be replaced by the psychotic thrashings of The Pink Floyd?'

Sadly, no. After the release of their first album, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Syd's erratic bahaviour develops into full-blown mental collapse. He's sacked from the band and becomes a recluse.

On the cusp of major success, with their songwriter and all sense of direction gone, The Floyd focus their energies into writing a classic pop single that will put them on the map forever. Instead, they poop out It Would Be So Nice, accidentally inventing Spinal Tap in the process.

Pink Floyd wisely decide to go back to what they're good at: being all weird in a studio.

The Feet-Finding Period 1968-1972

While the second album, A Saucerful Of Secrets, lacks Barrett's mad poetic streak, it contains a focus and structure previously missing from the band's work. Buoyed by their success, the Floyd point their energies into writing a classic pop single that will put them on the map forever. Instead, they poop out Point Me At The Sky.

Embittered and horrified by the results of their attempts at pop music, Pink Floyd decide to continue trading on their reputation as bold musical experimentalists with no interest in songs about fucking. Much of the resulting cluster of albums can variously be considered ingenious attempts to expand the frontiers of popular music or the insane flailings of a rudderless coracle of chancers who haven't got a goddamn clue what they're doing. Regardless, most books about the history of rock music treat this as Pink Floyd's apprenticeship period as they tighten up their talents, getting ready to take on the world.

It's worth noting that, had Pink Floyd been signed nowadays, by this point in their career they would probably have been dumped by at least five record labels. In 1972 they embark on their most ambitious project yet, the record that was to be known as The Dark Side Of The Moon, the recording sessions for which were in absolutely no way conducted under the influence of marijuana.

The Classic Period 1973-1979

In a stunning double whammy, The Dark Side Of The Moon turns out to be not only a rock album that's not about fucking, but also a concept album that's not about wizards. Millions of kids have their minds completely blown and DSOTM becomes an astounding success, paving the way for another musical genre with little interest in fucking or wizards, Neo-Nazi Easy Listening.

I suppose you'd better kill yourself then, you daft cow.

Having succesfully removed fucking and wizards from the rock vocabulary, Pink Floyd's next trick was to try to eliminate any kind of musical instrument at all, with an album of percussive songs played entirely on empty Coke bottles, masking tape, and rubber bands stretched between chairs. Sadly, the project was aborted after the completion of only three entire tracks, presumably due to an EMI exec patiently explaining the quid pro quo of a seven-figure recording contract. Ever since, Floyd fans have dreamed longingly of the album that never was.

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It was about this point that Roger Waters decided he didn't want to be a rock star any more and sat down to write a letter to everybody in the whole world, telling them they were all retarded bags of evil shit. True to form, Roger's 'You're All Retarded Bags Of Evil Shit' letter was 26 songs long and accompanied by a blisteringly expensive series of shows and a major feature film. He presented this idea to the band, who were instantly swayed by his watertight argument that people all over the world were willing to pay millions and millions of pounds to be told they were retarded bags of evil shit.

Roger felt so protective about his concept that he went off and designed everything himself, from the stage directions to the album cover, before anyone else managed to get a word in. The album cover was the most important thing to get right, he figured. It would be simple, eye-catching, uncompromising, and it would feature - a Wall.

The We Hate Each Other Period 1982 - 2004

FINAL CUT

SOLO PROJECTS

MOMENTARY LAPSE

DIVISION BELL

The Grudging Reformation Period 2005

LIVE 8

EVERYBODY STARTS DYING