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Pink Floyd

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Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd
A black and white photo of five men standing in front of a brick wall.
Pink Floyd in January 1968, from the only known photo-shoot of all five members. Clockwise from bottom: Gilmour, Mason, Barrett, Waters, Wright
Background information
Origin London, England
Years active
  • 1965 (1965)–1994 (1994)
  • 2012 (2012)–2014
    (one-off reunion: 2005)
Website .compinkfloyd
Past members

Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. Distinguished by their use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, extended compositions and elaborate live shows, they are one of the most commercially successful and musically influential groups in the history of popular music.

Pink Floyd were founded in 1965 by students Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright. They gained popularity performing in London's underground music scene during the late 1960s, and under Barrett's leadership released two charting singles and a successful debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967). David Gilmour joined as a fifth member in December 1967; Barrett left the band in April 1968 due to deteriorating mental health. Waters became the band's primary lyricist and, by the mid-1970s, their dominant songwriter, devising the concepts behind their critically and commercially successful albums The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), The Wall (1979) and The Final Cut (1983). The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall became two of the best-selling albums of all time.

Wright left Pink Floyd in 1979, followed by Waters in 1985. Gilmour and Mason continued as Pink Floyd; Wright rejoined them as a session musician and, later, a band member. The three produced two more albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994), and toured until 1994. After nearly two decades of acrimony, Pink Floyd reunited with Waters in 2005 for a performance at the global awareness event Live 8, but Gilmour and Waters have since stated they have no plans to reunite as a band again. Barrett died in 2006 and Wright in 2008. The final Pink Floyd studio album, The Endless River, recorded without Waters and based on material recorded in 1993–1994, was released in November 2014.

Pink Floyd were inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. By 2013, the band had sold more than 250 million records worldwide, including 75 million certified units in the United States.


  • 1963–67: early years 1
    • Formation 1.1
    • Signing with EMI 1.2
    • The Piper at the Gates of Dawn 1.3
  • 1968–77: transition and international success 2
    • Gilmour replaces Barrett 2.1
    • A Saucerful of Secrets 2.2
    • Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother, and Meddle 2.3
    • The Dark Side of the Moon 2.4
    • Wish You Were Here 2.5
    • Animals 2.6
  • 1978–85: Waters-led era 3
    • The Wall 3.1
    • The Final Cut 3.2
    • "A spent force" and Waters' departure 3.3
  • 1986–95: Gilmour-led era 4
    • A Momentary Lapse of Reason 4.1
    • The Division Bell 4.2
  • 2005–present: reunion, deaths and final album 5
    • Live 8 reunion 5.1
    • Deaths of Barrett and Wright 5.2
    • Further performances and re-releases 5.3
    • The Endless River 5.4
  • Musicianship 6
    • Genres 6.1
    • Gilmour's guitar work 6.2
    • Sonic experimentation 6.3
    • Film scores 6.4
    • Live performances 6.5
  • Lyrical themes 7
    • Disillusionment, absence, and non-being 7.1
    • Exploitation and oppression 7.2
    • Alienation, war, and insanity 7.3
  • Recognition and influence 8
  • Discography 9
  • Tours 10
  • See also 11
  • Notes 12
  • References 13
  • Sources 14
  • Further reading 15
  • External links 16

1963–67: early years


Roger Waters met drummer Nick Mason while they were both studying architecture at the London Polytechnic at Regent Street.[1] They first played music together in a group formed by Keith Noble and Clive Metcalfe with Noble's sister Sheilagh. Keyboardist Richard Wright, a fellow architecture student, joined later that year, and the group became a sextet named Sigma 6, the first band to include Waters, who was at this time playing lead guitar; Wright, who at first played rhythm guitar since there was rarely an available keyboard; and Mason on drums.[2][nb 1] The band started performing during private functions, while rehearsing in a tearoom in the basement of the Regent Street Polytechnic. They performed songs by The Searchers and material written by their manager and songwriter, fellow student Ken Chapman.[4]

In September 1963, Waters and Mason moved into a flat at 39 Stanhope Gardens, near Crouch End London, owned by Mike Leonard, a part-time tutor at the nearby Hornsey College of Art and the Regent Street Polytechnic.[5][nb 2] Mason moved out after the 1964 academic year, and guitarist Bob Klose moved in during September 1964, prompting Waters' switch to bass.[6][nb 3] Sigma 6 went through a number of other transitory names, including the Meggadeaths, the Abdabs and the Screaming Abdabs, Leonard's Lodgers, and the Spectrum Five before settling on the Tea Set.[7][nb 4] In 1964, as Metcalfe and Noble left to form their own band, guitarist Syd Barrett joined Klose and Waters at Stanhope Gardens.[11] Barrett, two years younger, had moved to London in 1962 to study at the Camberwell College of Arts.[12] Waters and Barrett were childhood friends; Waters had often visited Barrett and watched him play guitar at Barrett's mother's house.[13] Mason said about Barrett: "In a period when everyone was being cool in a very adolescent, self-conscious way, Syd was unfashionably outgoing; my enduring memory of our first encounter is the fact that he bothered to come up and introduce himself to me."[14]

Noble and Metcalfe left the Tea Set in late 1963, and Klose introduced the band to singer Chris Dennis, a technician with the Royal Air Force (RAF).[15] In December 1964, they managed to secure their first recording time, at a studio in West Hampstead, through one of Wright's friends, who let them use some down time for free. Wright, who was taking a break from his studies, did not participate in the session.[16][nb 5] When the RAF assigned Dennis a post in Bahrain in early 1965, Barrett became the band's frontman.[17][nb 6] Later that year, they became the resident band at the Countdown Club, near Kensington High Street in London, where from late night until early morning they played three sets of ninety minutes each. During this period, spurred by the group's need to extend their sets in order to minimise song repetition, came the band's "realisation that songs could be extended with lengthy solos", wrote Mason.[18] After pressure from his parents and advice from his college tutors, Klose quit the band in mid-1965 and Barrett took over on lead guitar.[19] The group first referred to themselves as the Pink Floyd Sound in late 1965. Barrett created the name on the spur of the moment when he discovered that another band, also called the Tea Set, were to perform at one of their gigs.[20] The name is derived from the given names of two blues musicians whose Piedmont blues records Barrett had in his collection, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.[21]

By 1966, the group's repertoire consisted mainly of rhythm and blues songs and they had begun to receive paid bookings, including one for a performance at the Marquee Club in March 1966, where Peter Jenner noticed them. A lecturer at the London School of Economics, Jenner was impressed by the sonic effects Barrett and Wright created, and with his business partner and friend Andrew King, he became their manager.[22] The pair had little experience in the music industry and used King's inherited money to set up Blackhill Enterprises, purchasing about £1,000 worth of new instruments and equipment for the band. It was around this time that Jenner suggested they drop the "Sound" part of their band name, thus becoming the Pink Floyd.[23][nb 7] Under Jenner and King's guidance, the group became part of London's underground music scene, playing at venues including All Saints Hall and the Marquee.[25] While performing at the Countdown Club, the band had experimented with long instrumental excursions, and they began to expand upon these with rudimentary but visually effective light shows, projected by coloured slides and domestic lights.[26] Jenner and King's social connections helped gain the band prominent coverage in the Financial Times and an article in The Sunday Times which stated: "At the launching of the new magazine IT the other night a pop group called the Pink Floyd played throbbing music while a series of bizarre coloured shapes flashed on a huge screen behind them ... apparently very psychedelic".[27]

In 1966, they strengthened their business relationship with Blackhill Enterprises, becoming equal partners with Jenner and King and the band members each holding a one-sixth share.[23] By late 1966, their set included fewer R&B standards and more Barrett originals, many of which would be included on their first album.[28] While they had significantly increased the frequency of their performances, the band were not widely accepted at the time. Following a performance at a Catholic youth club, the owner refused to pay them, claiming that their performance wasn't music.[29] When their management filed suit in a small claims court against the owner of the youth organisation, a local magistrate upheld the owner's decision. However, they were much better received at the UFO Club in London, where a small fan base began to build up around the band.[30] Barrett's performances were enthusiastic, "leaping around ... madness ... improvisation ... [inspired] to get past his limitations and into areas that were ... very interesting. Which none of the others could do", wrote biographer Nicholas Schaffner.[31]

Signing with EMI

In 1967, Pink Floyd began to attract the attention of the mainstream music industry.[32][nb 8] While in negotiations with record companies, IT co-founder and UFO club manager Joe Boyd and Pink Floyd's booking agent Bryan Morrison arranged for and funded the recording of some songs at Sound Techniques in West Hampstead. Included were the standout track "Arnold Layne" and "Candy and a Currant Bun" as its B-side, both of which they recorded on 29 January 1967.[34][nb 9] Three days later Pink Floyd signed with EMI, receiving a £5,000 advance. EMI released the band's first single, "Arnold Layne", on 10 March 1967, on its Columbia label.[36][nb 10] The song's references to cross-dressing led to a ban by several radio stations; however, some creative manipulation by the retailers who supplied sales figures to the music business meant that the single peaked in the UK at number 20.[37]

EMI-Columbia released Pink Floyd's second single, "See Emily Play", on 16 June 1967. It fared slightly better than "Arnold Layne", peaking at number 6 in the UK.[38] They performed on the BBC's Look of the Week, where Waters and Barrett, erudite and engaging, faced tough questioning from Hans Keller.[39] They appeared on the BBC's Top of the Pops, an immensely popular programme that controversially required artists to mime their singing and playing.[40] Though Pink Floyd returned for two more performances, by the third, Barrett had begun to unravel, and it was around this time that the band first noticed significant changes in his behaviour.[41] By early 1967, he was regularly using LSD, and Mason described him as "completely distanced from everything going on".[42]

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Morrison and EMI producer Norman Smith negotiated Pink Floyd's first recording contract, and as part of the deal, the band agreed to record their first album at EMI Studios in London.[43][nb 11] Mason recalled that the sessions were trouble-free. Smith disagreed, stating that Barrett was unresponsive to his suggestions and constructive criticism.[45] EMI-Columbia released The Piper at the Gates of Dawn in August 1967. The album peaked at number 6, spending 14 weeks on the UK charts.[46] Pink Floyd continued to draw large crowds at the UFO Club; however, Barrett's mental breakdown was by then causing serious concern. The group initially hoped that his erratic behaviour would be a passing phase, but some were less optimistic, including Jenner and his assistant, June Child, who commented: "I found [Barrett] in the dressing room and he was so ... gone. Roger Waters and I got him on his feet, [and] we got him out to the stage ... The band started to play and Syd just stood there. He had his guitar around his neck and his arms just hanging down".[47]

Forced to cancel Pink Floyd's appearance at the prestigious National Jazz and Blues Festival, as well as several other shows, King informed the music press that Barrett was suffering from nervous exhaustion.[48] Waters arranged a meeting with psychiatrist R. D. Laing, and though Waters personally drove Barrett to the appointment, Barrett refused to come out of the car.[49] A stay in Formentera with Sam Hutt, a doctor well established in the underground music scene, led to no visible improvement. The band followed a few concert dates in Europe during September with their first tour of the US in October.[50][nb 12] As the US tour went on, Barrett's condition grew steadily worse.[52] During appearances on the Dick Clark and Pat Boone shows in November, Barrett confounded his hosts by not responding to questions and staring off into space. He refused to move his lips when it came time to mime "See Emily Play" on Boone's show. After these embarrassing episodes, King ended their US visit and immediately sent them home to London.[53][nb 13] Soon after their return, they supported Jimi Hendrix during a tour of England; however, Barrett's depression worsened as the tour continued, reaching a crisis point in December, when the band responded by adding a new member to their lineup.[55][nb 14]

1968–77: transition and international success

Gilmour replaces Barrett

In December 1967, the group added guitarist David Gilmour as the fifth member of Pink Floyd.[58][nb 15] Gilmour already knew Barrett, having studied with him at Cambridge Tech in the early 1960s.[13] The two had performed at lunchtimes together with guitars and harmonicas, and later hitch-hiked and busked their way around the south of France.[60] In 1965, while a member of Joker's Wild, Gilmour had watched the Tea Set.[61] Morrison's assistant, Steve O'Rourke, set Gilmour up in a room at O'Rourke's house with a salary of £30 per week, and in January 1968, Blackhill Enterprises announced Gilmour as the band's newest member; the second guitarist and its fifth member, the band intending to continue with Barrett as a nonperforming songwriter.[62] Jenner commented: "The idea was that Dave would ... cover for [Barrett's] eccentricities and when that got to be not workable, Syd was just going to write. Just to try to keep him involved".[63][nb 16] In an expression of his frustration, Barrett, who was expected to write additional hit singles to follow up "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play", instead played the band's "Have You Got It Yet?", intentionally changing the structure on each performance so as to make the song impossible to follow and learn.[58] In a January 1968 photo-shoot of the five-man Pink Floyd, the photographs show Barrett looking detached from the others, staring into the distance.[65]

Working with Barrett eventually proved too difficult, and matters came to a head in January while en route to a performance in Southampton when a band member asked if they should collect Barrett. According to Gilmour, the answer was "Nah, let's not bother", signalling the end of Barrett's tenure with Pink Floyd.[66][nb 17] Waters later admitted, "He was our friend, but most of the time we now wanted to strangle him".[68] In early March 1968, Pink Floyd met with business partners Jenner and King to discuss the band's future; Barrett agreed to leave.[69]

Jenner and King believed Barrett to be the creative genius of the band, and decided to represent him and end their relationship with Pink Floyd.[70] Morrison then sold his business to NEMS Enterprises, and O'Rourke became the band's personal manager.[71] Blackhill announced Barrett's departure on 6 April 1968.[72][nb 18] After Barrett's departure, the burden of lyrical composition and creative direction fell mostly on Waters.[74] Initially, Gilmour mimed to Barrett's voice on the group's European TV appearances; however, while playing on the university circuit, they avoided Barrett songs in favour of Waters and Wright material such as "It Would Be So Nice" and "Careful with That Axe, Eugene".[75]

A Saucerful of Secrets

A psychedelic album cover with mostly greenish blues tones.
The psychedelic artwork for A Saucerful of Secrets was the first of many Pink Floyd covers designed by Hipgnosis.

In 1968, Pink Floyd returned to Abbey Road Studios to record their second album, A Saucerful of Secrets. The LP included Barrett's final contribution to their discography, "Jugband Blues". Waters began to develop his own songwriting, contributing "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", "Let There Be More Light" and "Corporal Clegg". Wright composed "See-Saw" and "Remember a Day". Smith encouraged them to self-produce their music, and they recorded demos of new material at their houses. With Smith's instruction at Abbey Road, they learned how to use the recording studio to realise their artistic vision. However, Smith remained unconvinced by their music, and when Mason struggled to perform his drum part on "Remember a Day", Smith stepped in as his replacement.[76] Wright recalled Smith's attitude about the sessions, "Norman gave up on the second album ... he was forever saying things like, 'You can't do twenty minutes of this ridiculous noise'".[77] As neither Waters nor Mason could read music, to illustrate the structure of the album's title track, they invented their own system of notation. Gilmour later described their method as looking "like an architectural diagram".[78]

Released in June 1968, the album featured a [78] John Peel described a live performance of the title track as "like a religious experience", while NME described the song as "long and boring ... [with] little to warrant its monotonous direction".[77][nb 19] On the day after the album's UK release, Pink Floyd performed at the first ever free concert in Hyde Park.[81] In July 1968, they returned to the US for a second visit. Accompanied by the Soft Machine and the Who, it marked Pink Floyd's first significant tour.[82] In December of that year, they released "Point Me at the Sky"; no more successful than the two singles they had released since "See Emily Play", it would be the band's last until their 1973 release, "Money".[83]

Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother, and Meddle

A monochrome image of Waters playing bass guitar. He has shoulder-length hair, black attire, and is standing in front of a microphone.
Waters performing with Pink Floyd at Leeds University in 1970

Ummagumma represented a departure from their previous work. Released as a double-LP on EMI's Harvest label, the first two sides contained live performances recorded at Manchester College of Commerce and Mothers, a club in Birmingham. The second LP contained a single experimental contribution from each band member.[84] Ummagumma received positive reviews upon its release, in November 1969.[85] The album peaked at number 5, spending 21 weeks on the UK chart.[46]

In October 1970, Pink Floyd released Atom Heart Mother.[86][nb 20] An early version premièred in France in January, but disagreements over the mix prompted the hiring of Ron Geesin to work out the sound issues. Geesin worked to improve the score, but with little creative input from the band, production was troublesome. Geesin eventually completed the project with the aid of John Alldis, who was the director of the choir hired to perform on the record. Smith earned an executive producer credit, and the album marked his final official contribution to the band's discography. Gilmour said it was "A neat way of saying that he didn't ... do anything".[88] Waters was critical of Atom Heart Mother, claiming that he would prefer if it were "thrown into the dustbin and never listened to by anyone ever again".[89] Gilmour was equally dismissive of the album and once described it as "a load of rubbish", stating: "I think we were scraping the barrel a bit at that period".[89] Pink Floyd's first number 1 album, Atom Heart Mother was hugely successful in Britain, spending 18 weeks on the UK chart.[46] It premièred at the Bath Festival on 27 June 1970.[90]

Pink Floyd toured extensively across America and Europe in 1970.[91][nb 21] In 1971, Pink Floyd took second place in a reader's poll, in Melody Maker, and for the first time were making a profit. Mason and Wright became fathers and bought homes in London while Gilmour, still single, moved to a 19th-century farm in Essex. Waters installed a home recording studio at his house in Islington in a converted toolshed at the back of his garden.[92]

Pink Floyd in 1971

In January 1971, upon their return from touring Atom Heart Mother, Pink Floyd began working on new material.[93] Lacking a central theme, they attempted several unproductive experiments; engineer John Leckie described the sessions as often beginning in the afternoon and ending early the next morning, "during which time nothing would get [accomplished]. There was no record company contact whatsoever, except when their label manager would show up now and again with a couple of bottles of wine and a couple of joints".[94] The band spent long periods working on basic sounds, or a guitar riff. They also spent several days at Air Studios, attempting to create music using a variety of household objects, a project which would be revisited between The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here.[95]

Released in October 1971, "Meddle not only confirms lead guitarist David Gilmour's emergence as a real shaping force with the group, it states forcefully and accurately that the group is well into the growth track again", wrote Jean-Charles Costa of Rolling Stone.[96][nb 22][nb 23] NME called Meddle "an exceptionally good album", singling out "Echoes" as the "Zenith which the Floyd have been striving for".[100] However, Melody Maker's Michael Watts found it underwhelming, calling the album "a soundtrack to a non-existent movie", and shrugging off Pink Floyd as "so much sound and fury, signifying nothing".[101] Meddle is a transitional album between the Barrett-influenced group of the late 1960s and the emerging Pink Floyd.[102] The LP peaked at number 3, spending 82 weeks on the UK chart.[46]

The Dark Side of the Moon

Original album artwork featuring an almost black cover with a triangular prism in the midddle. A ray of white light enters the prism from the left and is refracted into colours as it comes out the right side.
The iconic artwork for George Hardie.

Pink Floyd recorded The Dark Side of the Moon between May 1972 and January 1973, with EMI staff engineer

  • Pink Floyd's official website
  • Pink Floyd companies grouped at OpenCorporates

External links

  • Bench, Jeff; O'Brien, Daniel (2004). Pink Floyd's The Wall: In the Studio, On Stage and On Screen (First UK paperback ed.). Reynolds and Hearn.  
  • Hearn, Marcus (2012). Pink Floyd. Titan Books.  
  • Jones, Cliff (1996). Another Brick in the Wall: The Stories Behind Every Pink Floyd Song.  
  • Mabbett, Andy (2010). Pink Floyd – The Music and the Mystery. Omnibus Press.  
  • Mabbett, Andy; Miles (1988). Pink Floyd: 25th Anniversary Edition (Visual Documentary).  
  • Miles, Barry (2007). Pink Floyd. Omnibus Press.  
  • Palacios, Julian (2001). Lost in the Woods: Syd Barrett and the Pink Floyd.  
  • Povey, Glen; Russell, Ian (1997). Pink Floyd: in the flesh, the complete performance history (1st US paperback ed.). St. Martin's Press.  
  • Reising, Russell (2005). Speak to Me. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.  
  • Ruhlmann, William (2004). Breaking Records. Routledge.  
  • Ruhlmann, William (1993). Pink Floyd. Smithmark.  
  • Snider, Charles (2008). The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock. Strawberry Bricks.  
  • CreateSpace (2009). Pink Floyd: Meddle (Streaming video). Sexy Intellectual.  
  • John Edginton (Director) (2012). Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here (Colour, NTSC, DVD). Eagle Rock Entertainment.  
  • Matthew Longfellow (Director) (2003). Classic Albums: The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon (Colour, Dolby, NTSC, DVD). Eagle Rock Entertainment.  
  • Pink Floyd (2007). Pink Floyd – Then And Now (Colour, NTSC DVD). Pride.  
  • Pink Floyd (2010). Pink Floyd – Whatever Happened To Pink Floyd? (Colour, NTSC, DVD). Sexy Intellectual.  

Further reading

  • Bronson, Fred (1992). Weiler, Fred, ed. The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard Books (3rd revised ed.).  
  • Brown, Jimmy (May 2006). "Sorcerer Full of Secrets". Guitar World 27 (5). 
  • di Perna, Alan (May 2006). "Shine On". Guitar World 27 (5). 
  • di Perna, Alan (2002). "Mysterious Ways". In Kitts, Jeff; Tolinski, Brad. Guitar World Presents: Pink Floyd. Hal Leonard.  
  • Croskery, Patrick (2007). "Pigs Training Dogs to Exploit Sheep: Animals as a Beast Fable Dystopia". In Reisch, George A. Pink Floyd and Philosophy: Careful with that Axiom, Eugene!. Open Court.  
  • Detmer, David (2007). "Dragged Down by the Stone: Pink Floyd, Alienation, and the Pressures of Life". In Reisch, George A. Pink Floyd and Philosophy: Careful with that Axiom, Eugene!. Open Court.  
  • Fitch, Vernon (2005). The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia (Third ed.). Collector's Guide Publishing.  
  • Fitch, Vernon (2001). Pink Floyd: The Press Reports 1966–1983. Collector's Guide Publishing Inc.  
  • Fitch, Vernon; Mahon, Richard (2006). Comfortably Numb-A History of "The Wall" – Pink Floyd 1978–1981 (1st ed.). PFA Publishing, Inc.  
  • George-Warren, Holly, ed. (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (2005 revised and updated ed.). Fireside.  
  • Harris, John (2005). The Dark Side of the Moon (First Hardcover ed.). Da Capo.  
  • Hibbert, Tom (1996) [1971]. "Who the hell does Roger Waters think he is?". In MacDonald, Bruno. Pink Floyd: Through the eyes of the band, its fans and foes. Da Capo.  
  • Kitts, Jeff; Tolinski, Brad, eds. (2002). Guitar World Presents: Pink Floyd. Hal Leonard.  
  • Mabbett, Andy (1995). The complete guide to the music of Pink Floyd (1st UK paperback ed.). Omnibus Press.  
  • Manning, Toby (2006). The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (First ed.). Rough Guides.  
  • Povey, Glenn (2008) [2007]. Echoes: The Complete History of Pink Floyd. Mind Head Publishing.  
  • Reisch, George A (2007). "The Worms and the Wall: Michael Foucault on Syd Barrett". In Reisch, George A. Pink Floyd and Philosophy: Careful with that Axiom, Eugene!. Open Court.  
  • Roberts, David, ed. (2005). British Hit Singles & Albums (18 ed.). Guinness World Records Limited.  
  • Rosen, Craig (1996). Lukas, Paul, ed. The Billboard Book of Number One Albums. Billboard.  
  • Schaffner, Nicholas (1991). Saucerful of Secrets (First ed.). Sidgwick & Jackson.  
  • Scarfe, Gerald (2010). The Making of Pink Floyd: The Wall (1st US paperback ed.). Da Capo Press.  
  • Simmons, Sylvie (December 1999). "Pink Floyd: The Making of The Wall". Mojo Magazine (Emap Metro) 73. 
  • O'Neill Surber, Jere (2007). "Wish You Were Here (But You Aren't): Pink Floyd and Non-Being". In Reisch, George A. Pink Floyd and Philosophy: Careful with that Axiom, Eugene!. Open Court.  
  • Watkinson, Mike; Anderson, Pete (2001). Crazy Diamond: Syd Barrett & the Dawn of Pink Floyd (First ed.). Omnibus Press.  
  • Watts, Michael (1996) [1971]. "Pink's muddled Meddle". In MacDonald, Bruno. Pink Floyd: through the eyes of ... the band, its fans, friends, and foes. Da Capo Press.  
  • Weinstein, Deena (2007). "Roger Waters: Artist of the Absurd". In Reisch, George A. Pink Floyd and Philosophy: Careful with that Axiom, Eugene!. Open Court.  


  1. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 37–38: Mason meeting Waters while studying architecture at the London Polytechnic; Fitch 2005, p. 335: Waters meeting Mason while studying architecture at the London Polytechnic.
  2. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 39–40: Wright was also an architecture student when he joined Sigma 6; Povey 2008, pp. 13–14: The formation of Sigma 6; Schaffner 1991, p. 27: Instrumental line-up of Sigma 6: Waters (lead guitar), Wright (rhythm guitar) and Mason (drums).
  3. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 39–40.
  4. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 38–39.
  5. ^ a b Mason 2005, pp. 24–26.
  6. ^ a b c Povey 2008, p. 14.
  7. ^ Povey 2008, pp. 13–18.
  8. ^ Blake 2008, p. 39: Megadeaths; Povey 2008, p. 13: Meggadeaths.
  9. ^ Povey 2008, pp. 14–15.
  10. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 43–44: The T-Set as an alternate spelling; Povey 2008, pp. 28–29: The Tea Set used throughout.
  11. ^ Blake 2008, p. 41.
  12. ^ Povey 2008, p. 13.
  13. ^ a b Schaffner 1991, pp. 22–23.
  14. ^ Mason 2005, p. 27.
  15. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 42–44.
  16. ^ a b Mason 2005, pp. 29–30.
  17. ^ Povey 2008, p. 19.
  18. ^ Mason 2005, p. 30.
  19. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 44–45: Klose quit the band in mid 1965 and Barrett took over on lead guitar (secondary source); Mason 2005, p. 32: Klose quit the band in mid 1965 (primary source).
  20. ^ Povey 2008, pp. 18–19.
  21. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 33–37: The origin of the band name Pink Floyd (primary source); Povey 2008, pp. 18–19: The origin of the band name Pink Floyd (secondary source).
  22. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 33–37: Jenner was impressed by Barrett and Wright; Schaffner 1991, p. 17: Jenner and King became Pink Floyd's business managers.
  23. ^ a b Schaffner 1991, pp. 32–33.
  24. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 32.
  25. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 50–51.
  26. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 46–49: (primary source); Schaffner 1991, p. 34: (secondary source).
  27. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 52–53: Jenner and King's connections helped gain the band important coverage; Schaffner 1991, p. 44: "apparently very psychedelic"
  28. ^ Mason 2005, p. 49.
  29. ^ Mason 2005, p. 54.
  30. ^ a b Mason 2005, pp. 54–58.
  31. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 49.
  32. ^ di Perna 2002, p. 29: Pink Floyd as a spack rock band; Povey 2008, p. 37: The music industry began to take notice of Pink Floyd.
  33. ^ Blake 2008, p. 79.
  34. ^ a b c Povey 2008, p. 37.
  35. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 59–63.
  36. ^ Povey 2008, p. 342: Release date for "Arnold Layne"; Schaffner 1991, pp. 54–55: Signing with EMI.
  37. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 84–85.
  38. ^ Povey 2008, p. 342.
  39. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 86–87.
  40. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 86–87.
  41. ^ Povey 2008, p. 43.
  42. ^ Mason 2005, p. 82: Barrett was "completely distanced from everything going on"; Schaffner 1991, p. 51: Barrett's increasing LSD use starting early 1967.
  43. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 87–88: Smith negotiated Pink Floyd's first record contract; Schaffner 1991, p. 55: Morrison negotiated Pink Floyd's first contract and in it they agreed to record their first album at EMI Studios.
  44. ^ Blake 2008, p. 85.
  45. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 92–93.
  46. ^ a b c d e f g Roberts 2005, p. 391.
  47. ^ Mason 2005, p. 95: "The band started to play and Syd just stood there"; Schaffner 1991, p. 36: June Child was Blackhill's assistant and secretary.
  48. ^ Povey 2008, p. 67.
  49. ^ Blake 2008, p. 123.
  50. ^ Povey 2008, pp. 67–71.
  51. ^ Povey 2008, p. 69.
  52. ^ Schaffner 1991, pp. 88–90.
  53. ^ Schaffner 1991, pp. 91–92.
  54. ^ Povey 2008, p. 72.
  55. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 95–105: Barrett's mental deterioration and Pink Floyd's first US tour (primary source); Schaffner 1991, pp. 91–94: Barrett's mental deterioration and Pink Floyd's first US tour (secondary source).
  56. ^ Fitch 2005, p. 224.
  57. ^ Blake 2008, p. 102.
  58. ^ a b Povey 2008, p. 47.
  59. ^ Blake 2008, p. 110.
  60. ^ Mason 2005, p. 28.
  61. ^ Mason 2005, p. 34.
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  63. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 107.
  64. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 104.
  65. ^ Palacios, Julian (2010). Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd: Dark Globe. Plexus. p. 317.  
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  68. ^ Blake 2008, p. 112.
  69. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 90–113: (secondary source); Mason 2005, pp. 78–105: (primary source).
  70. ^ Povey 2008, p. 78–80.
  71. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 112–114: On O'Rourke becoming the band's manager, 127–131: On O'Rourke becoming the band's manager.
  72. ^ Schaffner 1991, pp. 107–108.
  73. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 112–114.
  74. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 3, 9, 113, 156, 242, 279, 320, 398: After Barrett's departure, the burden of lyrical composition and creative direction fell mostly on Waters.
  75. ^ a b di Perna 2002, p. 13.
  76. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 116–117.
  77. ^ a b Blake 2008, p. 117.
  78. ^ a b Blake 2008, p. 118.
  79. ^ Roberts, James. "Hipgnotic Suggestion" (37).  
  80. ^ Fitch 2005, p. 311.
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  83. ^ Harris 2005, p. 168: (secondary source); Mason 2005, pp. 133–135: (primary source).
  84. ^ Povey 2008, pp. 87–89.
  85. ^ Povey 2008, pp. 135–136.
  86. ^ Povey 2008, p. 344.
  87. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 154.
  88. ^ Blake 2008, p. 148.
  89. ^ a b Schaffner 1991, p. 144.
  90. ^ Schaffner 1991, pp. 140–147.
  91. ^ Povey 2008, pp. 128–140.
  92. ^ Schaffner 1991, pp. 150–151.
  93. ^ Povey 2008, p. 122.
  94. ^ Harris 2005, p. 71: "a couple of bottles of wine and a couple of joints"; Mason 2005, p. 153: Lacking a central theme they experimented.
  95. ^ Harris 2005, p. 72.
  96. ^ For "Meddle not only confirms lead guitarist David Gilmour's emergence" see: Costa, Jean-Charles (6 January 1972). "Pink Floyd: Meddle". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2009. ; Povey 2008, p. 150: The release dates for Meddle.
  97. ^ Povey 2008, p. 150: A 5 November UK release date for Meddle; For a 13 November UK release date for Meddle see: "Pink Floyd – Echoes (click Echoes image link)". Retrieved 22 August 2009. 
  98. ^ Mason 2005, p. 157: (primary source); Povey 2008, pp. 142–144: (secondary source)
  99. ^ Povey 2008, pp. 155: Touring the US in November;174: Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii.
  100. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 155.
  101. ^ Watts 1996, p. 56–57.
  102. ^ "Review of Pink Floyd – Meddle". BBC Music. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  103. ^ Harris 2005, pp. 103–104: Recording schedule for Dark Side; Harris 2005, p. 104: Alan Parsons as an engineer on Dark Side; Schaffner 1991, p. 159: The Dark Side of the Moon as an allusion to lunacy, rather than astronomy.
  104. ^ Povey 2008, pp. 164–173.
  105. ^ Harris 2005, pp. 140–141: (secondary source); Mason 2005, p. 177: (primary source).
  106. ^ Harris 2005, p. 151.
  107. ^ a b c Weinstein 2007, p. 86.
  108. ^ Harris 2005, pp. 12–13, 88–89.
  109. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 166.
  110. ^ a b c Povey 2008, p. 160.
  111. ^ Hollingworth, Roy (1973). "Historical info – 1973 review, Melody Maker". Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  112. ^ Grossman, Lloyd (24 May 1973). "Dark Side of the Moon Review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 7 August 2009. 
  113. ^ Schaffner 1991, pp. 166–167.
  114. ^ For Billboard chart history see: Titus, Christa; Waddell, Ray (2005). "Floyd's 'Dark Side' Celebrates Chart Milestone". Billboard. Retrieved 12 August 2012. ; Povey 2008, p. 345: A US number 1.
  115. ^ a b Povey 2008, p. 345.
  116. ^ Harris 2005, pp. 172–173.
  117. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 173.
  118. ^ Povey 2008, p. 184.
  119. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 177: Parsons declined an offer to continue working with Pink Floyd, 200: Pink Floyd hired Humphries.
  120. ^ a b c Schaffner 1991, pp. 184–185.
  121. ^ Schaffner 1991, pp. 178–184.
  122. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 184: The motif reminded Waters of Barrett; Watkinson & Anderson 2001, p. 119: Gilmour composed the motif entirely by accident.
  123. ^ Schaffner 1991, pp. 185–186.
  124. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 184.
  125. ^ Watkinson & Anderson 2001, p. 120.
  126. ^ Blake 2008, p. 231.
  127. ^ Schaffner 1991, pp. 189–190.
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  129. ^ Blake 2008, p. 236.
  130. ^ Povey 2008, p. 200.
  131. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 241–242.
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  139. ^ a b Blake 2008, pp. 242–243.
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  141. ^ Blake 2008, p. 247.
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  149. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 260–261.
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  152. ^ Simmons 1999, pp. 76–95.
  153. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 219: That's why Wright "got the boot"; Simmons 1999, pp. 86–88: Wright, "hadn't contributed anything of any value".
  154. ^ Mason 2005, p. 246.
  155. ^ Simmons 1999, p. 88.
  156. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 269: Wright's name did not appear on the album, 285–286: Wright as a paid musician during the tour.
  157. ^ Mason 2005, p. 249.
  158. ^ Bronson 1992, p. 523: Peak US chart position for "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)"; Roberts 2005, p. 391: Peak UK chart position for "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)".
  159. ^ Roberts 2005, p. 391: Peak UK chart position for The Wall; Rosen 1996, p. 246: Peak US chart position for The Wall.
  160. ^ "RIAA's Top 100 Albums.". Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
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  162. ^ Scarfe 2010, pp. 91–115.
  163. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 285–286.
  164. ^ Blake 2008, p. 289.
  165. ^ a b c Blake 2008, pp. 288–292.
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  167. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 294–295.
  168. ^ a b Blake 2008, pp. 296–298.
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  170. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 295–298: (secondary source); Mason 2005, p. 268: (primary source)
  171. ^ a b Blake 2008, p. 299.
  172. ^ Blake 2008, p. 300: Peak US chart position for The Final Cut; Roberts 2005, p. 391: Peak UK chart position for The Final Cut.
  173. ^ Blake 2008, p. 294: (secondary source); Mason 2005, p. 265: (primary source).
  174. ^ a b Blake 2008, p. 295.
  175. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 294–300: (secondary source); Mason 2005, pp. 269–270: (primary source).
  176. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 243.
  177. ^ Blake 2008, p. 300.
  178. ^ Loder, Kurt (14 April 1983). "Pink Floyd—The Final Cut".  
  179. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 302–309.
  180. ^ a b Blake 2008, pp. 309–311.
  181. ^ a b Blake 2008, pp. 311–313.
  182. ^ Schaffner 1991, pp. 263–266.
  183. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 311–313: O'Rourke's involvement in the settlement; Povey 2008, p. 240: "a spent force".
  184. ^ Schaffner 1991, p. 271.
  185. ^ a b Schaffner 1991, pp. 264–268.
  186. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 316–317.
  187. ^ Manning 2006, p. 134: Pink Floyd employed Wright as a paid musician with weekly earnings of $11,000; Schaffner 1991, p. 269: "would make us stronger legally and musically".
  188. ^ Blake 2008, p. 318.
  189. ^ Fitch 2005, p. 158.
  190. ^ Mason 2005, pp. 284–285.
  191. ^ Blake 2008, p. 320.
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  197. ^ Blake 2008, p. 366.
  198. ^ Povey 2008, p. 349.
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  201. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 326–327.
  202. ^ Blake 2008, p. 322.
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  204. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 329–335.
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  206. ^ Blake 2008, p. 352.
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  208. ^ a b Blake 2008, p. 355.
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  215. ^ Mason 2005, p. 330: Momentary Lapse of Reason tour crew was almost identicle to the The Division Bell tour crew; Povey 2008, p. 270: Rehearsing for over two weeks at Norton Air Force Base before opening in Miami.
  216. ^ a b Blake 2008, pp. 363–367.
  217. ^ a b Blake 2008, p. 367.
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  288. ^ Povey 2008, p. 183.
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  291. ^ Blake 2008, pp. 284–285.
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  1. ^ Wright studied architecture until 1963, when he began studying music at London's Royal College of Music.[3]
  2. ^ Leonard designed light machines, which used electric motors to spin perforated discs, casting patterns of lights on the walls. These would be demonstrated in an early edition of Tomorrow's World. For a brief time, Leonard played keyboard with them using the front room of his flat for rehearsals.[5]
  3. ^ Wright also briefly lived at Leonard's.[6]
  4. ^ Povey spelled it Meggadeaths but Blake spelled it Megadeaths.[8] Architectural Abdabs is sometimes suggested as another variation; Povey dismisses it as a misreading of a headline about the Abdabs in the Polytechnic's student newspaper.[9] Povey used the Tea Set throughout whereas Blake's claim of the alternative spelling, the T-Set, remains unsubstantiated.[10]
  5. ^ The four-song session became the band's first demo and included the R&B classic "I'm a King Bee", and three Syd Barrett originals, "Butterfly", "Lucy Leave" and "Double O Bo", a song Mason described as "Bo Diddley meets the 007 theme".[16]
  6. ^ According to Povey, by 1964 the group began calling itself the Abdabs.[6]
  7. ^ Soon after, someone stole the equipment, and the group resorted to purchasing new gear on a payment plan.[24]
  8. ^ They dropped the definite article from the band's name at some point in early 1967.[33]
  9. ^ Previous to this session, on 11 and 12 January, they recorded a long take of "Interstellar Overdrive".[34] Sometime around the sessions on 29 January, they produced a short music film for "Arnold Layne" in Sussex.[35]
  10. ^ Shaffner described the £5,000 advance as generous; however, Povey suggested it was an inadequate agreement which required that the money be disbursed over five years.[34]
  11. ^ At EMI, Pink Floyd experimented with musique concrète and watched the Beatles record "Lovely Rita".[44]
  12. ^ Blackhill's late application for work permits forced Pink Floyd to cancel several of the US dates.[51]
  13. ^ Pink Floyd released the single "Apples and Oranges" in November 1967 in the UK.[54]
  14. ^ Barrett's absence on more than one occasion forced the band to book David O'List as his replacement.[56] Wynne-Willson left his position as lighting director and assisted the guitarist with his daily activities.[57]
  15. ^ In late 1967, Barrett suggested adding four new members; in the words of Waters: "two freaks he'd met somewhere. One of them played the banjo, the other the saxophone ... [and] a couple of chick singers".[59]
  16. ^ One of Gilmour's first tasks was to mime Barrett's guitar playing on an "Apples and Oranges" promotional film.[64]
  17. ^ Mason is unsure which member of Pink Floyd said "let's not bother".[67]
  18. ^ For a short period after, Barrett turned up at occasional performances, apparently confused about his standing with the band.[73]
  19. ^ Thorgerson had attended Cambridgeshire High School for Boys with Waters and Barrett.[80]
  20. ^ The band recorded their previous LPs using a four-track system; Atom Heart Mother was their first album recorded on an eight-track machine.[87]
  21. ^ A theft of the band's equipment, worth about $40,000, after a May 1970 show at the Warehouse in New Orleans, nearly crippled their finances. However, hours after the band notified the FBI they had recovered most of the stolen equipment.
  22. ^ Povey states that the UK release date was 5 November, but Pink Floyd's official website states 13 November. All sources agree on the US release date of 30 October.[97]
  23. ^ Meddle‍ '​s production consisted of sessions spread over several months; the band recorded in the first half of April, but in the latter half played at Doncaster and Norwich before returning to record at the end of the month. In May, they split their time between sessions at Abbey Road, rehearsals and concerts across Great Britain. They spent June and July performing at venues across Europe, and August in the far east and Australia, returning to Europe in September.[98] In October, they made the concert film Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, before touring the US in November.[99]
  24. ^ Immediately after the session, Barrett attended a pre-party held for Gilmour's upcoming first wedding, but eventually left without saying goodbye and none of the band members ever saw him again, apart from a run-in between Waters and Barrett a couple of years later.[127] The inspiration behind the cover image, designed by Thorgerson, is the idea that people tend to conceal their true feelings for fear of "getting burned", wrote Pink Floyd biographer Glen Povey. Therefore, it features two businessmen shown shaking hands; one of them is on fire.[128]
  25. ^ Brian Humphries engineered the album, which was completed in December 1976.[132]
  26. ^ The band commissioned a 30 feet (9.1 m) pig-shaped balloon and photography began on 2 December. Inclement weather delayed filming, and the balloon broke free of its moorings in strong winds. It eventually landed in Kent, where a local farmer recovered it, reportedly furious that it had frightened his cows.[134] The difficult shoot had resumed before they decided to superimpose the image of the pig onto the photograph of the power station.[135]
  27. ^ "Pigs on the Wing" contained references to Waters' romantic relationship with Carolyne Anne Christie. Christie and Rock Scully, manager of the Grateful Dead, were married at the time. Waters' marriage to Judy had produced no children, but he became a father with Christie in November 1976.[138]
  28. ^ Waters was not the only person depressed by playing in large venues, as Gilmour refused to perform the band's usual twelve-bar blues encore that night.[143]
  29. ^ In 1976, Pink Floyd had become involved with financial advisers Norton Warburg Group (NWG). NWG became the band's collecting agents and handled all financial planning, for an annual fee of about £300,000. NWG invested between £1.6 million and £3.3 million of the band's money in high-risk venture capital schemes, primarily to reduce their exposure to UK taxes. It soon became apparent that the band were still losing money. Not only did NWG invest in failing businesses, they also left the band liable for tax bills as high as 83 per cent of their income. The band eventually terminated their relationship with NWG and demanded the return of any funds not yet invested, which at that time amounted to £860,000; they received only £740,000.[147] Pink Floyd eventually sued NWG for £1M, accusing them of fraud and negligence. NWG collapsed in 1981: Andrew Warburg fled to Spain; Waterbrook purchased Norton Warburg Investments, and many of its holdings sold at a significant loss. Andrew Warburg began serving a three-year jail sentence upon his return to the UK in 1987.[147]
  30. ^ James Guthrie replaced engineer Brian Humphries, emotionally drained by his five years with the band, for the recording of the album.[150] In March 1979, the band's dire financial situation demanded that they leave the UK for a year, or more and recording moved to the Super Bear Studios near Nice.[151]
  31. ^ Although Wright's name did not appear anywhere on the finished album, Pink Floyd employed him as a paid musician on their subsequent The Wall tour.[156] Toward the end of The Wall sessions, Mason left the final mix to Waters, Gilmour, Ezrin and Guthrie, travelling to New York to record his debut solo album, Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports.[157]
  32. ^ Waters took a six-week leave during filming and returned to find that Parker had used his artistic license to modify parts of the film to his liking. Waters became incensed; the two fought, and Parker threatened to walk out. Gilmour urged Waters to reconsider his stance, reminding the bassist that he and the other band members were shareholders and directors and could outvote him on such decisions.[165]
  33. ^ Pink Floyd created a modified soundtrack for some of the film's songs.[165]
  34. ^ Recording took place in eight studios, including Gilmour's home studio at Hookend Manor and Waters' home studio at East Sheen.[169]
  35. ^ During the sessions, Waters lost his temper and began ranting at Kamen who, out of frustration during one recording session, had started repeatedly writing "I Must Not Fuck Sheep" on a notepad in the studio's control room.[168]
  36. ^ Waters commissioned his brother-in-law, Willie Christie, to take photographs for the album cover.[171]
  37. ^ Though Gilmour's name did not appear on the production credits, he retained his pay as musician and producer.[175]
  38. ^ Released as a single, "Not Now John", with its chorus of "Fuck all that" bowdlerised to "Stuff all that"; Melody Maker declared it "a milestone in the history of awfulness".[177]
  39. ^ Wright was also in the midst of a difficult divorce and later said that the album was, "made at a time in my life when I was lost."[180]
  40. ^ Waters went on to record the soundtrack for When the Wind Blows, as well as his second solo album, Radio K.A.O.S..[182]
  41. ^ Artists such as Jon Carin and Phil Manzanera worked on the album, joined by Bob Ezrin.[185]
  42. ^ Andy Jackson engineered the album.[189]
  43. ^ In a departure from previous Pink Floyd albums, they recorded A Momentary Lapse of Reason using a 32-channel Mitsubishi digital recorder using MIDI synchronisation with the aid of an Apple Macintosh computer.[193] Recording later moved to Mayfair Studios and then to Los Angeles.[194]
  44. ^ Wright's name appears only on the credit list.[197]
  45. ^ Gilmour divorced his wife Ginger and Mason married actress Annette Lynton.[206]
  46. ^ Thorgerson also provided six new pieces of film for the upcoming tour.[212]
  47. ^ Waters declined their invitation to join them as the tour reached Europe.[217]
  48. ^ In 1995, Pink Floyd released the live album, Pulse, and an accompanying concert video.[218]
  49. ^ In the week following their performance, there was a resurgence of commercial interest in Pink Floyd's music, when according to HMV, sales of Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd rose more than one thousand per cent, while reported a significant increase in sales of The Wall.[223] Gilmour subsequently declared that he would give his share of profits from this sales boost to charity, urging other associated artists and record companies to do the same.[223]
  50. ^ In 2006, Gilmour began a tour of small concert venues with contributions from Wright and other musicians from the post-Waters Pink Floyd tours. Gilmour, Wright, and Mason's encore performance of "Wish You Were Here" and "Comfortably Numb" marked the only appearance by Pink Floyd since Live 8 as of 2012.[228]
  51. ^ Barrett left more than £1.25M in his will, to be divided among his immediate family, who then auctioned some of his possessions and artwork.[231]
  52. ^ On 4 January 2011, Pink Floyd signed a five-year record deal with EMI, ending the legal dispute regarding the distribution of their catalogue. They successfully defended their vision to support their albums as cohesive units versus individual tracks.[237]
  53. ^ It was the first time since Live 8 that the three men shared a stage and the first time that the line-up from The Final Cut appeared in concert.[239]
  54. ^ In early 1965, Pink Floyd auditioned for ITV's Ready Steady Go!, which Mason described as "the definitive music show of the day".[257] Despite sounding what Mason considered "too radical for the general viewer", they earned a callback for a second audition, with the caveat that they play material more familiar to the judges; they did not earn an appearance on the show.[258] Also in 1965, they auditioned for the Melody Maker Beat Contest, losing to the eventual national winners.[258]
  55. ^ Road manager Peter Watts joined them before touring Europe in 1968.[286]
  56. ^ Thorgerson's design for Wish You Were Here‍‍ '​‍s cover included four sides, counting the inner jacket, which represented four absences related to the classical categories of substance: earth, air, fire and water. His Dark Side album cover features a beam of white light, representing unity, passing through a prism, which represents society. The resulting refracted beam of coloured light symbolizes unity diffracted, leaving an absence of unity.[107] Absence is a key element in the existentialism of Albert Camus, who defined absurdity as the absence of a response to the individual's need for unity.[107]
  57. ^ Philosophy originated from the Greek poet, Parmenides, who wrote a poem in which the protagonist takes a cosmic chariot ride guided by a goddess who shows him that there are only two paths in life, being, which leads to truth, and non-being, which leads to confusion and discontent. The goddess also told Parmenides: "thought and being are one".[262]
  58. ^ Marx considered insanity the ultimate form of self-alienation.[262]


See also


Studio albums


Pink Floyd were also admirers of the Monty Python comedy group, and helped finance their 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.[334]

The music of Pink Floyd influenced numerous artists; David Bowie called Barrett a significant inspiration, and The Edge of U2 bought his first delay pedal after hearing the opening guitar chords to "Dogs" from Animals.[331] Other bands who cite Pink Floyd as an influence include Queen, Tool, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Marillion, Queensrÿche, Nine Inch Nails, the Orb and the Smashing Pumpkins.[332] Pink Floyd were an influence on the neo-progressive rock subgenre which emerged in the 1980s.[333]

Pink Floyd have won several awards, including a "Best Engineered Non-Classical Album" Grammy in 1980 for The Wall, and a BAFTA award for "Best Original Song" in 1982 for "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" from The Wall film.[327] In 1995, they won a Grammy for best "Rock Instrumental Performance" for "Marooned".[328] In 2008, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented Pink Floyd with the Polar Music Prize for their contribution to modern music; Waters and Mason attended the ceremony and accepted the award.[329] They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2010.[330]

In 2004, MSNBC ranked Pink Floyd number 8 on their list of "The 10 Best Rock Bands Ever".[322] Rolling Stone ranked them number 51 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time".[323] Q named Pink Floyd as the biggest band of all time.[324] VH1 ranked them number 18 in the list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time".[325] Colin Larkin ranked Pink Floyd number 3 in his list of the 'Top 50 Artists of All Time', a ranking based on the cumulative votes for each artist's albums included in his All Time Top 1000 Albums.[326]

Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially successful and influential rock bands of all time.[319] They have sold more than 250 million records worldwide, including 75 million certified units in the United States, and 37.9 million albums sold in the US since 1993.[320] The Sunday Times Rich List, Music Millionaires 2013 (UK), ranked Waters at number 12 with an estimated fortune of £150 million, Gilmour at number 27 with £85 million and Mason at number 37 with £50 million.[321]

 A colour collage of Waters (playing bass), Gilmour (playing guitar), Wright (playing a keyboard) and Mason, who is standing on a stage. Waters and Gilmour are wearing black T-shirts, Wright is wearing a white shirt and Mason a blue one. All four men are in their mid 60s.
Clockwise (from top left): Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason

Recognition and influence

Waters' lyrics to The Dark Side of the Moon dealt with the pressures of modern life and how those pressures can sometimes cause insanity.[312] He viewed the album's explication of mental illness as illuminating a universal condition.[313] However, Waters also wanted the album to communicate positivity, calling it "an exhortation ... to embrace the positive and reject the negative."[314] Reisch described The Wall as "less about the experience of madness than the habits, institutions, and social structures that create or cause madness."[315] The Wall‍‍ '​‍s protagonist, Pink, is unable to deal with the circumstances of his life, and overcome by feelings of guilt, slowly closes himself off from the outside world inside a barrier of his own making. After he completes his estrangement from the world, Pink realises that he is "crazy, over the rainbow".[316] He then considers the possibility that his condition may be his own fault: "have I been guilty all this time?"[316] Realizing his greatest fear, Pink believes that he has let everyone down, his overbearing mother wisely choosing to smother him, the teachers rightly criticising his poetic aspirations, and his wife justified in leaving him. He then stands trial for "showing feelings of an almost human nature", further exacerbating his alienation of species being.[317] As with the writings of philosopher Michel Foucault, Waters' lyrics suggest Pink's insanity is a product of modern life, the elements of which, "custom, codependancies, and psychopathologies", contribute to his angst, according to Reisch.[318]

War, viewed as the most severe consequence of the manifestation of alienation from others, is also a core element of The Wall, and a recurring theme in the band's music.[262] Waters' father died in combat during the Second World War, and his lyrics often alluded to the cost of war, including those from "Corporal Clegg" (1968), "Free Four" (1972), "Us and Them" (1973), "When the Tigers Broke Free" and "The Fletcher Memorial Home" from The Final Cut (1983), an album dedicated to his late father and subtitled A Requiem for the Postwar Dream.[310] The themes and composition of The Wall express Waters' upbringing in an English society depleted of men after the Second World War, a condition that negatively affected his personal relationships with women.[311]

O'Neill Surber compared the lyrics of Dark Side‍‍ '​‍s "Brain Damage" with Karl Marx‍‍ '​‍s theory of self-alienation; "there's someone in my head, but it's not me."[262][nb 58] The lyrics to Wish You Were Here‍‍ '​‍s "Welcome to the Machine" suggest what Marx called the alienation of the thing; the song's protagonist preoccupied with material possessions to the point that he becomes estranged from himself and others.[262] Allusions to the alienation of man's species being can be found in Animals; the "Dog" reduced to living instinctively as a non-human.[262] The "Dogs" become alienated from themselves to the extent that they justify their lack of integrity as a "necessary and defensible" position in "a cutthroat world with no room for empathy or moral principle" wrote Detmer.[309] Alienation from others is a consistent theme in the lyrics of Pink Floyd, and it is a core element of The Wall.[262]

"When I say, 'I'll see you on the dark side of the moon'... what I mean [is] ... If you feel that you're the only one ... that you seem crazy [because] you think everything is crazy, you're not alone."[308]

—Waters, quoted in Harris, 2005

Alienation, war, and insanity

The album's characters include the "Dogs", representing fervent capitalists, the "Pigs", symbolizing political corruption, and the "Sheep", who represent the exploited.[302] Croskery described the "Sheep" as being in a "state of delusion created by a misleading cultural identity", a false consciousness.[303] The "Dog", in his tireless pursuit of self-interest and success, ends up depressed and alone with no one to trust, utterly lacking emotional satisfaction after a life of exploitation.[304] Waters used Mary Whitehouse as an example of a "Pig"; being someone who in his estimation, used the power of the government to impose her values on society.[305] At the album's conclusion, Waters returns to empathy with the lyrical statement: "You know that I care what happens to you. And I know that you care for me too."[306] However, he also acknowledges that the "Pigs" are a continuing threat and reveals that he is a "Dog" who requires shelter, suggesting the need for a balance between state, commerce and community, versus an ongoing battle between them.[307]

Author Patrick Croskery described Animals as a unique blend of the "powerful sounds and suggestive themes" of Dark Side with The Wall‍‍ '​‍s portrayal of artistic alienation.[300] He drew a parallel between the album's political themes and that of Orwell's Animal Farm.[300] Animals begins with a thought experiment, which asks: "If you didn't care what happened to me. And I didn't care for you", then develops a beast fable based on anthropomorphized characters using music to reflect the individual states of mind of each. The lyrics ultimately paint a picture of dystopia, the inevitable result of a world devoid of empathy and compassion, answering the question posed in the opening lines.[301]

Exploitation and oppression

O'Neill Surber explored the lyrics of Pink Floyd and declared the issue of non-being a common theme in their music.[262][nb 57] Waters invoked non-being or non-existence in The Wall, with the lyrics to "Comfortably Numb": "I caught a fleeting glimpse, out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look, but it was gone, I cannot put my finger on it now, the child is grown, the dream is gone."[262] Barrett referred to non-being in his final contribution to the band's catalogue, "Jugband Blues": "I'm most obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here."[262]

Absence as a lyrical theme is common in the music of Pink Floyd. Examples include the absence of Barrett after 1968, and that of Waters' father, who died during the [298][nb 56] Waters commented: "it's about none of us really being there ... [it] should have been called Wish We Were Here".[299]

Waters' lyrics to Wish You Were Here‍‍ '​‍s "Have a Cigar" deal with a perceived lack of sincerity on the part of music industry representatives.[295] The song illustrates a dysfunctional dynamic between the band and a record label executive who congratulates the group on their current sales success, implying that they are on the same team while revealing that he erroneously believes "Pink" is the name of one of the band members.[296] According to author David Detmer, the album's lyrics deal with the "dehumanizing aspects of the world of commerce", a situation the artist must endure in order to reach their audience.[297]

Disillusionment, absence, and non-being

Marked by Waters' philosophical lyrics, Rolling Stone described Pink Floyd as "purveyors of a distinctively dark vision".[260] Author Jere O'Neill Surber wrote: "their interests are truth and illusion, life and death, time and space, causality and chance, compassion and indifference."[262] Waters identified sympathy, and collaboration with others."[293] Despite having been labeled "the gloomiest man in rock", author Deena Weinstein described Waters as an existentialist, dismissing the unfavourable moniker as the result of misinterpretation by music critics.[294]

Lyrical themes

During the Division Bell Tour, an unknown person using the name Publius posted a message on an internet newsgroup inviting fans to solve a riddle supposedly concealed in the new album. White lights in front of the stage at the Pink Floyd concert in East Rutherford spelled out the words Enigma Publius. During a televised concert at Earls Court on 20 October 1994, someone projected the word "enigma" in large letters on to the backdrop of the stage. Mason later acknowledged that their record company had instigated the Publius Enigma mystery, rather than the band.[216]

In November 1974, they employed for the first time the large circular screen that would become a staple of their live shows.[288] In 1977, they employed the use of a large inflatable floating pig named "Algie". Filled with helium and propane, Algie, while floating above the audience, would explode with a loud noise during the In the Flesh Tour.[289] The behaviour of the audience during the tour, as well as the large size of the venues, proved a strong influence on their concept album The Wall. The subsequent The Wall Tour featured a 40 feet (12 m) high wall, built from cardboard bricks, constructed between the band and the audience. They projected animations onto the wall, while gaps allowed the audience to view various scenes from the story. They commissioned the creation of several giant inflatables to represent characters from the story.[290] One striking feature of the tour was the performance of "Comfortably Numb". While Waters sang his opening verse, in darkness, Gilmour waited for his cue on top of the wall. When it came, bright blue and white lights would suddenly reveal him. Gilmour stood on a flightcase on castors, an insecure setup supported from behind by a technician. A large hydraulic platform supported both Gilmour and the tech.[291]

To celebrate the launch of the London Free School's magazine International Times in 1966, they performed in front of 2,000 people at the opening of the Roundhouse, attended by celebrities including Paul McCartney and Marianne Faithfull.[282] In mid-1966, road manager Peter Wynne-Willson joined their road crew, and updated the band's lighting rig with some innovative ideas including the use of polarisers, mirrors and stretched condoms.[283] After their record deal with EMI, Pink Floyd purchased a Ford Transit van, then considered extravagant band transportation.[284] On 29 April 1967, they headlined an all-night event called The 14 Hour Technicolour Dream at the Alexandra Palace, London. Pink Floyd arrived at the festival at around three o'clock in the morning after a long journey by van and ferry from the Netherlands, taking the stage just as the sun was beginning to rise.[285][nb 55] In July 1969, precipitated by their space-related music and lyrics, they took part in the live BBC television coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing, performing an instrumental piece which they called "Moonhead".[287]

Regarded as pioneers of [259]

A monochrome image of members of the band. The photograph is taken from a distance, and is bisected horizontally by the forward edge of the stage. Each band member and his equipment is illuminated from above by bright spotlights, also visible. A long-haired man holds a guitar and sings into a microphone on the left of the image. Central, another man is seated behind a large drumkit. Two men on the right of the image hold a saxophone or a bass guitar and appear to be looking in each other's general direction. In the foreground, silhouetted, are the heads of the audience.
A live performance of The Dark Side of the Moon at Earls Court, shortly after its release in 1973: (l-r) Gilmour, Mason, Dick Parry, Waters

Live performances

Pink Floyd also composed several film scores, starting in 1968, with The Committee.[277] In 1969, they recorded the score for Barbet Schroeder's film More. The soundtrack proved beneficial; not only did it pay well but, along with A Saucerful of Secrets, the material they created became part of their live shows for some time thereafter.[278] While composing the soundtrack for director Michelangelo Antonioni's film Zabriskie Point, the band stayed at a luxury hotel in Rome for almost a month. Waters claimed that, without Antonioni's constant changes to the music, they would have completed the work in less than a week. Eventually he used only three of their recordings. One of the pieces turned down by Antonioni, called "The Violent Sequence", later became "Us and Them", included on 1973's The Dark Side of the Moon.[279] In 1971, the band again worked with Schroeder on the film La Vallée, for which they released a soundtrack album called Obscured by Clouds. They composed the material in about a week at the Château d'Hérouville near Paris, and upon its release, it became Pink Floyd's first album to break into the top 50 on the US Billboard chart.[280]

Film scores

Pink Floyd used innovative sound effects and state of the art audio recording technology during the recording of The Final Cut. Mason's contributions to the album were almost entirely limited to work with the experimental Holophonic system, an audio processing technique used to simulate a three-dimensional effect. The system used a conventional stereo tape to produce an effect that seemed to move the sound around the listener's head when they were wearing headphones. The process enabled an engineer to simulate moving the sound to behind, above or beside the listener's ears.[276]

Waters experimented with the EMS Synthi A and VCS 3 synthesisers on Pink Floyd pieces such as "On the Run", "Welcome to the Machine", and "In the Flesh?".[274] He used a Binson Echorec 2 echo effect on his bass-guitar track for "One of These Days".[275]

Throughout their career, Pink Floyd experimented with their sound. Their second single, "See Emily Play" premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, on 12 May 1967. During the performance, the group first used an early quadraphonic device called an Azimuth Co-ordinator.[271] The device enabled the controller, usually Wright, to manipulate the band's amplified sound, combined with recorded tapes, projecting the sounds 270 degrees around a venue, achieving a sonic swirling effect.[272] In 1972, they purchased a custom-built PA which featured an upgraded four-channel, 360-degree system.[273]

Sonic experimentation

In 2006, Guitar World writer Jimmy Brown described Gilmour's guitar style as "characterised by simple, huge-sounding riffs; gutsy, well-paced solos; and rich, ambient chordal textures."[269] According to Brown, Gilmour's solos on "Money", "Time" and "Comfortably Numb" "cut through the mix like a laser beam through fog."[269] Brown described the "Time" solo as "a masterpiece of phrasing and motivic development ... Gilmour paces himself throughout and builds upon his initial idea by leaping into the upper register with gut-wrenching one-and-one-half-step 'over bends', soulful triplet arpeggios and a typically impeccable bar vibrato."[270] Brown described Gilmour's sense of phrasing as intuitive, singling it out as perhaps his best asset as a lead guitarist. Gilmour explained how he achieved his signature tone: "I usually use a fuzz box, a delay and a bright EQ setting ... [to get] singing sustain ... you need to play loud — at or near the feedback threshold. It's just so much more fun to play ... when bent notes slice right through you like a razor blade."[269]

Critic Alan di Perna praised Gilmour's guitar work as an integral element of Pink Floyd's sound.[266] Rolling Stone ranked Gilmour number 14 in their "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list and di Perna described him as the most important guitarist of the 1970s, calling him "the missing link between Hendrix and Van Halen."[267] In 2006, Gilmour commented on his playing technique: "[My] fingers make a distinctive sound ... [they] aren't very fast, but I think I am instantly recognisable ... The way I play melodies is connected to things like Hank Marvin and the Shadows".[268] Gilmour's ability to use fewer notes than most to express himself without sacrificing strength or beauty drew a favourable comparison to jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.[269]

"While Waters was Floyd's lyricist and conceptualist, Gilmour was the band's voice and its main instrumental focus."[266]

—Alan di Perna, in Guitar World, May 2006

Gilmour's guitar work

In 1968, Wright commented on Pink Floyd's sonic reputation: "It's hard to see why we were cast as the first British psychedelic group. We never saw ourselves that way ... we realised that we were, after all, only playing for fun ... tied to no particular form of music, we could do whatever we wanted ... the emphasis ... [is] firmly on spontaneity and improvisation."[263] Waters gave a less enthusiastic assessment of the band's early sound: "There wasn't anything 'grand' about it. We were laughable. We were useless. We couldn't play at all so we had to do something stupid and 'experimental'... Syd was a genius, but I wouldn't want to go back to playing "[265]

Rarely will you find Floyd dishing up catchy hooks, tunes short enough for air-play, or predictable three-chord blues progressions; and never will you find them spending much time on the usual pop pablum of romance, partying, or self-hype. Their sonic universe is expansive, intense, and challenging ... Where most other bands neatly fit the songs to the music, the two forming a sort of autonomous and seamless whole complete with memorable hooks, Pink Floyd tends to set lyrics within a broader soundscape that often seems to have a life of its own ... Pink Floyd employs extended, stand-alone instrumentals which are never mere vehicles for showing off virtuoso but are planned and integral parts of the performance.[262]

Considered one of the UK's first [260] By the late 1960s, the press had begun to label their music progressive rock.[261] O'Neill Surber comments on the music of Pink Floyd:



Gilmour stated that The Endless River is Pink Floyd's last album, saying: "I think we have successfully commandeered the best of what there is ... It's a shame, but this is the end."[252] There was no tour to support the album, as Gilmour said it was "kind of impossible" without Wright.[253][254] In August 2015, Gilmour reiterated that Pink Floyd were "done" and that to reunite without Wright "would just be wrong".[255]

Samson announced The Endless River in July 2014 on Twitter.[244] Details were announced on Pink Floyd's website on 7 July, describing it as "mainly ambient" and instrumental music.[245] It was released 7 November 2014; it is the second Pink Floyd album distributed by Parlophone following the release of the 20th anniversary editions of The Division Bell earlier in 2014.[246] It became the most pre-ordered album of all time on Amazon UK,[247] and debuted at number one in several countries.[248][248][249] The vinyl edition was the fastest-selling UK vinyl release of 2014 and the fastest-selling since 1997.[250] The album received mixed reviews.[251]

In 2012, Gilmour and Mason decided to revisit recordings made with Wright, mainly during the Division Bell sessions, to create a new Pink Floyd album. They recruited session musicians to help record new parts and "generally harness studio technology".[241] Mason described the album as a tribute to Wright: "I think this record is a good way of recognising a lot of what he does and how his playing was at the heart of the Pink Floyd sound. Listening back to the sessions, it really brought home to me what a special player he was."[242] Waters was not involved.[243]

Advertising for The Endless River in Southbank, London

The Endless River

On 26 September 2011, Pink Floyd and EMI launched an exhaustive re-release campaign under the title Why Pink Floyd...?, reissuing the band's back catalogue in newly remastered versions, including "Experience" and "Immersion" multi-disc multi-format editions. James Guthrie, co-producer of The Wall, remastered the albums.[240]

On 10 July 2010, Waters and Gilmour performed together at a charity event for the Hoping Foundation. The event, which raised money for Palestinian children, took place at Kiddington Hall in Oxfordshire, England, where they played to an audience of approximately 200.[235] In return for Waters' appearance at the event, Gilmour agreed to perform "Comfortably Numb" at one of Waters' upcoming performances of The Wall.[236][nb 52] On 12 May 2011, at The O2 Arena in London, Gilmour honoured his commitment to Waters. Gilmour sang the first and second chorus and played the two guitar solos. Near the end of the show, after the wall had fallen down, Waters said to the crowd: "So now we know tonight was the night when David did me the enormous honour of coming to play 'Comfortably Numb'. So, please welcome David Gilmour! ... By a strange and extraordinary, happy coincidence, there is another remnant of our old band here tonight. Please welcome Mr. Nick Mason to the stage!"[238] Gilmour and Mason, with respectively a mandolin and a tambourine, joined Waters and the rest of his band for "Outside the Wall".[238][nb 53]

Further performances and re-releases

Wright died of an undisclosed form of cancer on 15 September 2008, aged 65.[233] His surviving former bandmates praised him for his influence on the sound of Pink Floyd.[234]

Barrett died on 7 July 2006, at his home in Cambridge, aged 60.[229] His family interred him at Cambridge Crematorium on 18 July 2006; no Pink Floyd members attended. After Barrett's death, Wright commented: "The band are very naturally upset and sad to hear of Syd Barrett's death. Syd was the guiding light of the early band line-up and leaves a legacy which continues to inspire."[229] Although Barrett had faded into obscurity over the previous 35 years, the national press praised him for his contributions to music.[230][nb 51] On 10 May 2007, Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason performed during a Barrett tribute concert at the Barbican Centre in London. Gilmour, Wright and Mason performed the Barrett compositions, "Bike" and "Arnold Layne", and Waters performed a solo version of his song "Flickering Flame".[232]

Deaths of Barrett and Wright

Though Pink Floyd turned down a contract worth £136 million for a final tour, Waters did not rule out more performances, suggesting it ought to be for a charity event only.[222] However, Gilmour told the Associated Press that a reunion would not happen, stating: "The [Live 8] rehearsals convinced me [that] it wasn't something I wanted to be doing a lot of ... There have been all sorts of farewell moments in people's lives and careers which they have then rescinded, but I think I can fairly categorically say that there won't be a tour or an album again that I take part in. It isn't to do with animosity or anything like that. It's just ... I've been there, I've done it."[225] In February 2006, Gilmour was interviewed by Gino Castaldo from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica; the resulting article declared: "Patience for fans in mourning. The news is official. Pink Floyd the brand is dissolved, finished, definitely deceased."[226] Asked about the future of Pink Floyd, Gilmour responded: "It's over ... I've had enough. I'm 60 years old is much more comfortable to work on my own."[226] Gilmour and Waters repeatedly said that they had no plans to reunite with the surviving former members.[227][nb 50]

They planned their setlist at the Connaught Hotel in London, followed by three days of rehearsals at Black Island Studios.[110] The sessions were problematic, with minor disagreements over the style and pace of the songs they were practising; the running order decided on the eve of the event.[220] At the beginning of their performance, Waters told the audience: "[It is] quite emotional, standing up here with these three guys after all these years, standing to be counted with the rest of you ... we're doing this for everyone who's not here, and particularly of course for Syd."[221] At the end, Gilmour thanked the audience and started to walk off the stage. Waters then called him back, and the band shared a group hug. Images of that hug were a favourite among Sunday newspapers after Live 8.[222][nb 49] Waters commented on their almost twenty years of animosity: "I don't think any of us came out of the years from 1985 with any credit ... It was a bad, negative time, and I regret my part in that negativity."[224]

[110] On 2 July 2005, Waters, Gilmour, Mason and Wright performed together as Pink Floyd for the first time in more than 24 years, at the

A concert stage lit by purple lighting. Four men are performing on the stage as a crowd stands in front of it. Behind the men are video screens displaying images of vinyl records.
Waters (right) rejoined his former bandmates at Live 8

Live 8 reunion

2005–present: reunion, deaths and final album

Pink Floyd spent more than two weeks rehearsing in a hangar at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, California, before opening on 29 March 1994, in Miami, with an almost identical road crew to that used for their Momentary Lapse of Reason tour.[215] They played a variety of Pink Floyd favourites, and later changed their setlist to include The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.[216][nb 47] The tour ended on 29 October 1994, with the final performance of the last Pink Floyd tour so far.[217][nb 48]

Contractually, Wright was not a member of the band; he commented: "It came close to a point where I wasn't going to do the album".[208] However, he earned five co-writing credits on the album, his first on a Pink Floyd album since 1975's Wish You Were Here.[208] Another songwriter credited on the album was Gilmour's future wife, Moai monoliths of Easter Island; two opposing faces forming an implied third face about which he commented: "the absent face—the ghost of Pink Floyd's past, Syd and Roger".[213] Eager to avoid competing against other album releases, as had happened with A Momentary Lapse, Pink Floyd set a deadline of April 1994, at which point they would resume touring.[214] The album reached number 1 in both the UK and the US.[115] It spent 51 weeks on the UK chart.[46]

For several years Pink Floyd had busied themselves with personal pursuits, such as filming and competing in the La Carrera Panamericana and recording a soundtrack for a film based on the event.[205][nb 45] In January 1993, they began working on a new album, returning to Britannia Row Studios, where for several days, Gilmour, Mason and Wright worked collaboratively, ad-libbing material. After about two weeks, the band had enough ideas to begin creating songs. Ezrin returned to co-produce the album and production moved to the Astoria, where from February to May 1993, they worked on about twenty-five ideas.[207]

A colour photograph of two large silver-grey iron sculptures of opposing silhouetted faces. The sculptures are standing in a brown wheat field with a blue sky behind them.
The album artwork for Storm Thorgerson, was intended to represent the absence of Barrett and Waters from the band.

The Division Bell

Waters attempted to subvert the Momentary Lack 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.[202] 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.[203] 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.[204]

The album was released in September 1987. Storm Thorgerson, whose creative input was absent from The Wall and The Final Cut, designed the album cover.[195] In order to drive home the point that Waters had left the band, they included a group photograph on the inside cover, the first since Meddle.[196][nb 44] The album went straight to number three in the UK and the US.[198] 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."[199] 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."[200] Q Magazine described the album as essentially a Gilmour solo effort.[201]

In 1987, Gilmour began recruiting musicians for what would become Pink Floyd's first album without Waters, A Momentary Lapse of Reason.[185][nb 41] There were legal obstacles to Wright's readmittance to the band; however, after a meeting in Hampstead Pink Floyd invited Wright to participate in the coming sessions.[186] Gilmour later stated that Wright's presence, "would make us stronger legally and musically"; Pink Floyd employed him as a paid musician with weekly earnings of $11,000.[187] Recording sessions for the album began on Gilmour's houseboat, the Astoria, moored along the River Thames.[188][nb 42] Gilmour worked with several songwriters, including Eric Stewart and Roger McGough, eventually choosing Anthony Moore to write the album's lyrics.[190] Gilmour would later admit that the project was difficult without Waters' creative direction.[191] 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.[192][nb 43]

A colour image Gilmour's houseboat and studio the Astoria, anchored in a river. The background is green forest and it is a bright sunny day.
The Astoria recording studio

A Momentary Lapse of Reason

1986–95: Gilmour-led era

Following the release of The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Waters publicly insisted that Pink Floyd would not reunite. He contacted O'Rourke to discuss settling future royalty payments. O'Rourke felt obliged to inform Mason and Gilmour, and this angered Waters, who wanted to dismiss him as the band's manager. Waters terminated his management contract with O'Rourke and employed Peter Rudge to manage his affairs.[181][nb 40] Waters wrote to EMI and Columbia announcing he had left the band, and asked them to release him from his contractual obligations. Gilmour believed that Waters left to hasten the demise of Pink Floyd. Waters later stated that, by not making new albums, Pink Floyd would be in breach of contract—which would suggest that royalty payments would be suspended—and that the other band members had forced him from the group by threatening to sue him. Waters then went to the High Court in an effort to dissolve the band and prevent the use of the Pink Floyd name, declaring Pink Floyd "a spent force creatively."[183] When his lawyers discovered that the partnership had never been formally confirmed, Waters returned to the High Court in an attempt to obtain a veto over further use of the band's name. Gilmour responded by issuing a carefully worded press release affirming that Pink Floyd would continue to exist. He later told The Sunday Times: "Roger is a dog in the manger and I'm going to fight him".[184]

Gilmour had recorded his second solo album, About Face, in 1984, and he used it to express his feelings about a variety of topics; from the murder of John Lennon to his relationship with Waters. He later stated that he used the album to distance himself from Pink Floyd. Soon afterwards, Waters began touring his first solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking.[179] Wright formed Zee with Dave Harris and recorded Identity, which went almost unnoticed upon its release.[180][nb 39] Mason released his second solo album, Profiles, in August 1985.[181]

"A spent force" and Waters' departure

Though Mason's musical contributions were minimal, he stayed busy recording sound effects for an experimental Holophonic system to be used on the album. With marital problems of his own, he remained a distant figure. Pink Floyd did not use Thorgerson for the cover design, Waters choosing to design the cover himself.[171][nb 36] Released in March 1983, The Final Cut went straight to number one in the UK and number six in the US.[172] Waters wrote all the lyrics, as well as all the music on the album.[173] Gilmour did not have any material ready for the album and asked Waters to delay the recording until he could write some songs, but Waters refused.[174] Gilmour later commented, "I'm certainly guilty at times of being lazy ... but he wasn't right about wanting to put some duff tracks on The Final Cut."[174][nb 37] Rolling Stone magazine gave the album five stars, with Kurt Loder calling it "a superlative achievement ... art rock's crowning masterpiece".[176][nb 38] Loder viewed The Final Cut as "essentially a Roger Waters solo album".[178]

In 1982, Waters suggested a new musical project for the band, with the working title Spare Bricks, originally conceived as the soundtrack album for Pink Floyd – The Wall; however, with the onset of the Falklands War, Waters changed artistic direction and began writing new material. Waters saw Margaret Thatcher's response to the invasion of the Falklands as jingoistic and unnecessary, and he dedicated the new album to his late father. Immediately there were arguments between Waters and Gilmour, who felt that the album should include all new material, rather than recycling a number of songs passed over for The Wall. Waters felt that Gilmour had contributed little to the band's lyrical repertoire.[167] Michael Kamen, a contributor to the orchestral arrangements of The Wall, mediated between the two, also performing the role traditionally occupied by the then absent Wright.[168][nb 34] The tension within the band grew. Waters and Gilmour worked independently; however, Gilmour began to feel the strain, sometimes barely maintaining his composure. After a final confrontation, Gilmour's name disappeared from the credit list, reflecting what Waters felt was his lack of songwriting contributions.[170][nb 35]

The Final Cut

The Wall concept also spawned a film, the original idea for which was to be a combination of live concert footage and animated scenes. However, the concert footage proved impractical to film. Alan Parker agreed to direct and took a different approach. The animated sequences would remain, but scenes would be acted by professional actors with no dialogue. Waters was screen-tested, but quickly discarded and they asked Bob Geldof to accept the role of Pink. Geldof was initially dismissive, condemning The Wall‍ '​s storyline as "bollocks".[164] Eventually won over by the prospect of participation in a significant film and receiving a large payment for his work, Geldof agreed.[165][nb 32] Screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1982, Pink Floyd – The Wall premièred in the UK in July 1982.[166][nb 33]

Gerald Scarfe produced a series of animations for the subsequent live shows, The Wall Tour. He also commissioned the construction of large inflatable puppets representing characters from the storyline including the "Mother", the "Ex-wife" and the "Schoolmaster". Pink Floyd used the puppets during their performances of the album.[162] Relationships within the band were at an all-time low; their four Winnebagos parked in a circle, the doors facing away from the centre. Waters used his own vehicle to arrive at the venue and stayed in different hotels from the rest of the band. Wright returned as a paid musician and was the only one of the four to profit from the venture, which lost about $600,000.[163]

Although Pink Floyd had not released a single since 1973's "Money", "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)" supported the album, topping the charts in the US and the UK.[158] Released on 30 November 1979, The Wall topped the Billboard chart in the US for fifteen weeks, reaching number three in the UK.[159] The Wall ranks number three on the RIAA's list of the all-time Top 100 albums, with 23 million certified units sold in the US.[160] The cover is one of their most minimalist designs, with a stark white brick wall, and no trademark or band name. It was also their first album cover since The Piper at the Gates of Dawn not designed by Hipgnosis.[161]

During the recording of The Wall, Waters, Gilmour and Mason became increasingly dissatisfied with Wright's lack of contribution to the album.[152] Gilmour said that Wright "hadn't contributed anything of any value whatsoever to the album—he did very, very little" and that is why he "got the boot".[153] According to Mason, "Rick's contribution was to turn up and sit in on the sessions without doing anything, just 'being a producer'."[154] Waters commented: "[Wright] was not prepared to cooperate in making the record ... [and] it was agreed by everybody ... either [he] can have a long battle or [he] can agree to ... finish making the album, keep [his] full share ... but at the end of it [he would] leave quietly. Rick agreed."[155][nb 31]

In July 1978, amid a financial turmoil caused by negligent investments, Waters presented the group with two original ideas for their next album. The first was a 90-minute demo with the working title Bricks in the Wall, and the other would later become Waters' first solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking. Although both Mason and Gilmour were initially cautious, they chose the former to be their next album.[146][nb 29] Bob Ezrin co-produced, and he wrote a forty-page script for the new album.[148] Ezrin based the story on the central figure of Pink—a gestalt character inspired by Waters' childhood experiences, the most notable of which was the death of his father in World War II. This first metaphorical brick led to more problems; Pink would become drug-addled and depressed by the music industry, eventually transforming into a megalomaniac, a development inspired partly by the decline of Syd Barrett. At the end of the album, the increasingly fascist audience would watch as Pink tore down the wall, once again becoming a regular and caring person.[149][nb 30]

The Wall

1978–85: Waters-led era

They performed much of the album's material during their "In the Flesh" tour, Pink Floyd's first experience playing large stadiums, the size of which caused unease in the band.[142] Waters began arriving at each venue alone, departing immediately after the performance. On one occasion, Wright flew back to England, threatening to leave the band.[143] At the Montreal Olympic Stadium, a group of noisy and enthusiastic fans in the front row of the audience irritated Waters so much that he spat at one of them.[144][nb 28] The end of the tour marked a low point for Gilmour, who felt that the band achieved the success they had sought, with nothing left for them to accomplish.[145]

Released in January 1977, the album peaked on the UK chart at number two, and the US chart at number three.[140] NME described the album as "one of the most extreme, relentless, harrowing and downright iconoclastic hunks of music", and Melody Maker‍ '​s Karl Dallas called it "[an] uncomfortable taste of reality in a medium that has become in recent years, increasingly soporific".[141]

The division of royalties was a source of conflict between band members, who earned royalties on a per-song basis. Although Gilmour was largely responsible for "Dogs", which took up almost the entire first side of the album, he received less than Waters, who contributed the much shorter two-part "Pigs on the Wing".[136] Wright commented: "It was partly my fault because I didn't push my material ... but Dave did have something to offer, and only managed to get a couple of things on there."[137] Mason recalled: "Roger was in full flow with the ideas, but he was really keeping Dave down, and frustrating him deliberately."[137][nb 27] Gilmour, distracted by the birth of his first child, contributed little else toward the album. Similarly, neither Mason nor Wright contributed much toward Animals; Wright had marital problems, and his relationship with Waters was also suffering.[139] Animals is the first Pink Floyd album that does not include a writing credit for Wright, who commented: "Animals... wasn't a fun record to make ... this was when Roger really started to believe that he was the sole writer for the band ... that it was only because of him that [we] were still going ... when he started to develop his ego trips, the person he would have his conflicts with would be me."[139]

In 1975, Pink Floyd bought a three-storey group of church halls at Animal Farm. The album's lyrics described different classes of society as dogs, pigs, and sheep.[131][nb 25] Hipgnosis received credit for the packaging of Animals; however, Waters designed the final concept, choosing an image of the ageing Battersea Power Station, over which they superimposed an image of a pig.[133][nb 26]

Colour picture of a power station factory with four tall white chimneys. The image was taken on a sunny day. The sky is blue and the building is brown.
Battersea Power Station features in the cover image for Animals


While Pink Floyd were working on the album, Barrett made an impromptu visit to the studio, during which Thorgerson recalled that he "sat round and talked for a bit, but he wasn't really there."[125] He had changed significantly in appearance, so much so that the band did not initially recognise him. Waters was reportedly deeply upset by the experience.[126][nb 24] Most of Wish You Were Here premiered on 5 July 1975, at an open-air music festival at Knebworth. Released in September, it reached number one in both the UK and the US.[128]

Despite the lack of creative direction, Waters began to visualise a new concept after several weeks.[120] During 1974, Pink Floyd had sketched out three original compositions and had performed them at a series of concerts in Europe.[121] These compositions became the starting point for a new album whose opening four-note guitar phrase, composed purely by chance by Gilmour, reminded Waters of Barrett.[122] The songs provided a fitting summary of the rise and fall of their former bandmate.[123] Waters commented: "Because I wanted to get as close as possible to what I felt ... [that] indefinable, inevitable melancholy about the disappearance of Syd."[124]

After a tour of the UK performing Dark Side, Pink Floyd returned to the studio in January 1975 and began work on their ninth studio album, Wish You Were Here.[118] Parsons declined an offer to continue working with them, becoming successful in his own right with the Alan Parsons Project, and so the band turned to Brian Humphries.[119] Initially, they found it difficult to compose new material; the success of The Dark Side of the Moon had left Pink Floyd physically and emotionally drained. Wright later described these early sessions as "falling within a difficult period" and Waters found them "torturous".[120] Gilmour was more interested in improving the band's existing material. Mason's failing marriage left him in a general malaise and with a sense of apathy, both of which interfered with his drumming.[120]

Barrett visiting Abbey Road Studios on 5 June 1975 during recording of the album.

Wish You Were Here

Throughout March 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon featured as part of Pink Floyd's US tour.[113] The album is one of the most commercially successful rock albums of all time; a US number 1, it remained on the Billboard chart for more than fourteen years, selling more than 40 million copies worldwide.[114] In Britain, the album peaked at number 2, spending 364 weeks on the UK chart.[46] Dark Side is the world's second best-selling album, and the twenty-first best-selling album of all time in the US.[115] The success of the album brought enormous wealth to the members of Pink Floyd. Waters and Wright bought large country houses while Mason became a collector of expensive cars.[116] Disenchanted with their US record company, Capitol Records, Pink Floyd and O'Rourke negotiated a new contract with Columbia Records, who gave them a reported advance of $1,000,000, which is worth approximately $5,000,000 today. In Europe, they continued to be represented by Harvest Records.[117]

Pink Floyd in 1973

Released in March 1973, the LP became an instant chart success in the UK and throughout Western Europe, earning an enthusiastic response from critics.[109] Each member of Pink Floyd except Wright boycotted the press release of The Dark Side of the Moon because a quadraphonic mix had not yet been completed, and they felt presenting the album through a poor-quality stereo PA system was insufficient.[110] Melody Maker‍ '​s Roy Hollingworth described side one as "utterly confused ... [and] difficult to follow", but praised side two, writing: "The songs, the sounds ... [and] the rhythms were solid ... [the] saxophone hit the air, the band rocked and rolled".[111] Rolling Stone‍ '​s Loyd Grossman described it as "a fine album with a textural and conceptual richness that not only invites, but demands involvement."[112]

[108] Waters is the sole author of the album's lyrics.[107]

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