When Pink Floyd fans talk about their favorite band, invariably the discussion descends into a recitation of the group's chronology. There's the original Syd Barrett version of the quartet in the 1960s; the early David Gilmour years (1968-1972); the commercial successes of the 1970s beginning with "Dark Side of the Moon" (1973) and ending with "The Wall" (1979); and the lawsuit decade of the 1980s, when estranged bassist Roger Waters unsuccessfully tried to prevent his former bandmates from touring or releasing records as Pink Floyd.
From the vantage point of the 21st century, the Syd Barrett era is easily most infamous. By all accounts, the late Barrett (he passed away in 2006) was a brilliant but troubled artist, consuming brain-melting quantities of psychedelic drugs that inspired him to artistic heights in the beginning but quickly took their toll. Collectors look for the Columbia (EMI) 45 rpm mono recordings of “Arnold Layne,” the Floyd’s first single, which began to climb the charts in 1967 until its transvestite content caught the ear of radio programmers, who removed it from their station’s playlists.
The band’s first LP, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” 1967, was also the last Pink Floyd album produced with Barrett as the band’s leader. It was recorded at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London at the same time as “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by the Beatles. Collectors prefer mono LPs over the stereo remasters, and look for copies on the Tower label, which were distributed in the United States. Memorable tracks from the album include the chant-like “Astronomy Dominé” and an instrumental called “Intersteller Overdrive,” which was a major part of live Pink Floyd shows for years.
“A Saucerful of Secrets” came next in 1968 and is notable for the presence in the studio of both Barrett and Gilmour. But the album is perhaps best known for a Waters track called “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” as well as its psychedelic album cover by Hipgnosis, which created numerous Pink Floyd covers, as well as ones for Led Zeppelin and prog-rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
After releasing the brilliant “Meddle” in 1971 (all 23 minutes and 27 seconds of side two are devoted to a song called “Echoes”) and a soundtrack for a Barbet Schroeder film in 1972 (the movie was called “La Vallée” but the album was called “Obscured By Clouds”), Pink Floyd produced its first certifiable classic in 1973, “Dark Side of the Moon.” The album included stickers and posters, so collectors today pay a small premium for copies with those bits of ephemera intact.
Subsequent Pink Floyd albums sold in such numbers that their supply has always been plentiful, making them relatively easy, and inexpensive, to collect. Exceptions to this general rule include Japanese issues of “Dark Side” and “The Wall,” as well as picture discs of “Rare Beauties” and “Wish You Were Here.”
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Pink Floyd's David Gilmour Samples Brand Jingle for New SingleWall Street Journal (blog), August 2nd
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Pink Floyd's David Gilmour Releases 'Rattle That Lock' Animated Music VideoMusic Times, July 31st
David Gilmour finally decided follow up his 2006 solo LP, On and Island, with Rattle That Lock, due out on Sept. 18. The Pink Floyd guitarist teamed up with Alasdair & Jock from Trunk Animation to design an animated music video for the title track of...Read more
Another brick in 'The Wall' as band reprises Pink Floyd performance at CASTWaco Tribune-Herald, July 29th
Pink Floyd, a British rock band active from the 1960s to '90s, created the 1979 concept album “The Wall” as a story of young man named Pink who, after his father's death, becomes increasingly alienated from his teachers, mother and wife and starts to...Read more
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Helm joined Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame at the Newport Folk Festival Friday, which was also the day on which her new CD, "Didn't It Rain," was released. Helm and Waters sang a duet on "Wide River to Cross," a song by Buddy Miller that Helm's father...Read more
Newport Folk's Pink Floyd MomentNPR, July 25th
The most puzzling musician on the lineup at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival was easily Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. For me, Pink Floyd represents the antithesis of folk music, with the band's psychedelic pulsating landscapes and big rock drums and guitars...Read more
Pink Floyd nearly released a hip-hop album in 1987Consequence of Sound (blog), July 24th
As the story goes, David Gilmour enlisted producer Bob Ezrin to produce Pink Floyd's 1987 comeback album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason. In turn, Ezrin encouraged Gilmour to incorporate elements of hip-hop. “I became fascinated with [rap] in the Afrika ...Read more
The Covers Inspired By Pink FloydNewsweek, July 20th
Pink Floyd has produced a long list of classics—and inspired multiple covers—in the 50 years since the band first got together. If imitation is truly the highest form of flattery, then the artists below have revealed themselves as true fans of the...Read more
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun: The Pink Floyd Origin StoryNewsweek, July 18th
With Barrett as the group's frontman and creative driving force, Pink Floyd's sound evolved through a hodgepodge of new music technology such as tape-loops, feedback and echo-delay. The implementation of this novel technology, encouraged by Barrett, ...Read more