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 Roger Waters
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 Floyd compositions.
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 interviews.
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 re-release.
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).