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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Around Princeton — That Pink Floyd ConferenceThe Daily Princetonian (blog), April 22nd
This past weekend, Noah Fishman and Michael Zhang, two of our Intersections critics attended the Pink Floyd: Sound, Sight, and Structure conference, organized by Dave Molk and Gilad Cohen, two of Princeton's graduate music students. This event was the ...Read more
Pink Floyd provides soundtrack for Shoshoni man's brain surgeryCounty 10, April 22nd
When Shoshoni rocker Norm Moore heard his neurosurgeon was a rocker at heart, he knew which album he wanted played at his surgery: Pink Floyd's “Dark Side of the Moon.” It had a certain metaphorical ring to it. Moore, 56, has been a musician his whole ...Read more
This is what happens when you listen to Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon ...Oregon Daily Emerald, April 17th
Getting stoned and listening to Pink Floyd's 1973 opus Dark Side of the Moon is one of those classic rock clichés that is completely acceptable. It's basically a musical rite of passage. In high school, my friends and I did the ritual a handful of...Read more
CornerStreet Contemporary Ballet will perform to Pink FloydColorado Springs Gazette, April 17th
Not only will CornerStreet Contemporary Ballet company perform an experimental ballet, but the company will do it to the strains of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." The company performs "Cyclic," along with a choreography showcase, Friday and ...Read more
Roger Waters and Pink Floyd's Sound Engineer James Guthrie Revisit 'Amused ...Glide Magazine, April 11th
This year, Roger Waters and long term collaborator, Pink Floyd's sound engineer, James Guthrie, revisit Waters last solo album, Amused to Death. In pursuit of reimagining the music with brand new stereo and 5.1 mixes, James Guthrie captures Roger's ...Read more
Legendary architects to redevelop iconic Pink Floyd power stationThe Verge, April 8th
London's Battersea Power Station has appeared on the cover of a Pink Floyd album, stood in for a burned-out Gotham City warehouse in The Dark Knight, and at one point was considered as a new home for English Premier League soccer team Chelsea...Read more
Flaming Lips Release Companion Album to Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side'NBCNews.com, March 31st
For those who can't wait until Record Store Day for new Flaming Lips experiments, the band has an early surprise. Wayne Coyne and company just announced that they're putting out a companion piece to Pink Floyd's classic psych-rock album "Dark Side of ...Read more
20 Years Ago: Pink Floyd Releases 'The Division Bell'Ultimate Classic Rock, March 28th
'The Division Bell' wasn't just a return to Pink Floyd's earlier, more free-flowing psych-rock songcraft. Released 20 years ago on March 28, 1994, the project also marked Floyd's last truly collaborative moment, as remaining members David Gilmour, Nick ...Read more