Pink Floyd's hallucinatory presentation of lights and music at London's Roundhouse in 1966 brought psychedelia to the U.K. scene. The group carried rock and roll into a dimension that was more cerebral and conceptual than what preceded it.
What George Orwell and Ray Bradbury were to literature, Floyd is to popular music, forging an unsettling but provocative combination of science fiction and social commentary. In their early years, with vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Syd Barrett at the helm, Pink Floyd were the psychedelic Pied Pipers of the “London underground” scene. In the Seventies, with bassist
providing more of the songwriting and direction, Pink Floyd became one of the most influential rock bands of all time.
Although releasing few singles their early album sales sold extraordinarily well with
the Dark Side of the Moon remaining on the charts for an unbelievable 741
weeks.--Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum--
Pink Floyd perform Corporal Clegg on Belgian TV on or about 1968. Were they really that young!!
The Band's live concerts were nothing short of spectacular combining laser
light extravaganzas with polished professionally produced stage shows. During
their early years they were truly one of the most innovative and creative
acts on the rock scene. Even today Planetariums and science center theaters
across the world feature laser light shows bouncing to the sounds of Pink
The name Pink Floyd was derived from combining the names of two Georgia blues
musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council
Most Floyd fans are familiar with the band from their spectacular 70's
work - Dark Side Of The Moon,Wish You Were Here and The Wall. However,
the group got its start in 1964, when Roger Waters (guitar), Clive Metcalfe
(bass) Richard Wright (keyboards), and Nick Mason (drums) formed a band
called Sigma 6.
The band changed its name many times, from The T-Sets, to three variations
of The Abdads, back to Sigma 6, to The Pink Floyd Sound, and finally dropping
the first and last words to just Pink Floyd. During this time they gained and
lost various members, finally settling down with Waters (now on bass), Wright
and Mason under the leadership of the gifted lead guitarist Syd Barrett who
would write and sing most of the band's early material.
Developing their style
In 1967 the band secured a recording contract with EMI. Even though they had
started out with an R&B sound similar to that of other British bands at the
time, they began to experiment with reverb, feedback, ghostly electronic
screeches and the freakiest sounds they could get out of their instruments.
Light shows and slides amounting to a total multimedia event were introduced
into their stage concerts. Their first recorded single and top 20 hit, the
strange "Arnold Layne," was a song about a transvestite. Their debut
album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn released in 1967 may have been the
greatest psychedelic album of that era.
"Piper" was also the only album like this that Pink Floyd produced; the songs
were all written by Barrett, and it became more and more apparent that his
mental instability and LSD habit were having too great of an effect on him
and the band. The rest of the band depended on his creativity, but he was
becoming impossible to work with, becoming catatonic even during concerts and
It was in 1968 that Pink Floyd recruited David Gilmour, a friend of the band
members. He was originally intended to fill in during concerts while Barrett
remained off-stage and wrote songs, but that proved unsuccessful, so
regretfully the rest of the members kicked Barret out of the group. Floyd's management team did not agree with this decision and continued to
manage Barrett as a solo act.
Taking a New Road
Loosing your lead guitarist, Lead vocalist and main song writer, in one Syd
Barrett, would have taken down 99% of the bands in this circumstance.
Amazingly, Pink Floyd survived this setback and became even more successful.
Waters and the rest of the members persevered. Although they were well-known
in England, they were still unknown in the States and had potential to do
well there. Waters took over songwriting duties, and "A Saucerful of
Secrets," one of the many songs built on Barrett's writing "template",
made the British Top Ten.
By the early 70's, Pink Floyd had polished their style greatly, incorporating
grand operatic elements with electronic effects and psychedelic influences.
While 1971's Meddle was popular, 1973's Dark Side Of The Moon floored
audiences, and rose to number one in America, an instant breakthrough. It was
their most popular album, spending over seven hundred weeks on Billboard
charts. They had become one of the best selling acts of all time.
Difficult Times Ahead
The band was never able to top this success, however. Their next two
albums, Wish You Were Here in 1975 and Animals in 1977, did do well, with
"Wish You Were Here" making Number One. It was 1979 that saw the band put out
the double album The Wall, an album that showed somewhat of a turn from the
heavy electronics to more of a pop feel. It and its single, "Another Brick in
the Wall," were internationally popular and the single made Number One. The
tour for "The Wall" was incredibly ambitious - some would even say too much
so - with its elaborate shows, which even featured the building and
demolition of an actual wall during the concert. This tour became a cult
phenomenon and a classic rock legend.
However, the band was starting to fall apart. Waters didn't think that Wright
was contributing enough and demanded that he give up full band
membership status. Wright did so, and ended up leaving altogether in 1982.
Pink Floyd broke up in 1983 to persue solo careers just after recording The
final Cut. David Gilmour re-formed Pink Floyd with Nick Mason and Rick
Wright in 1987 to release Momentary Lapse of Reason, which became a Top
Five album. Roger Waters sued to prevent the reincarnated Floyd from
performing but lost out in court.
Their recent albums......
The Division Bell 1994
Pulse (live) 1995
The Wall Live 1980-81 Is There Anybody Out There 2000
Echoes - The best of Pink Floyd 2001
The Dark Side Of The Moon 2003 SACD (Super Audio CD) 30th anniversary
are selling well thanks to their worldwide legions of loyal fans.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Pink Floyd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 16,
1996 at the eleventh annual induction dinner. Billy Corgan of Smashing
Pumpkins was their presenter.
Inductees: Syd Barrett (guitar, vocals; born January 6, 1946), David Gilmour
(guitar, vocals; born March 6, 1944), Nick Mason (drums; born January 27,
1945), Roger Waters (bass, synthesizer, vocals; born September 9, 1944), Rick
Wright (keyboards, synthesizers; born July 28, 1945).