Pink Floyd, a musical state of consciousness since the late 1960's, derived their name from two blues greats, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Having survived many decades, challenges and changes, this group has withstood the test of time. Their total achievements include an impressive discography, a cult classic motion picture, "The Wall", legendary concert tours, and some of the most spectacular studio videos and live concert performances ever caught on film.

One of their most popular albums, "Dark Side of the Moon" stayed on Billboard magazine's Top 100 Album list for many years. Also interesting to note about "DSotM" is the correlation between the sound track and screen footage of MGM's "The Wizard of Oz" when properly synched.

Pink Floyd was a short-lived band of the 1960s composed of Syd Barrett and some relatively faceless sidemen. They released two albums, the landmark Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967) and A Saucerful of Secrets, and a few non-Lp singles.

Within a year or two, Syd Barrett lost the plot due to drugs and so forth, and the band dissolved. Barrett has been living in seclusion ever since.

Since the band broke up, the sidemen have periodically exploited the brand equity of the name by doing "reunion" tours as "Pink Floyd", and they've even gone so far as to release records of new "Pink Floyd" material, but be warned: It's a scam. Since the 1960s, Barrett has not been involved in any of it. This is like Mick Taylor billing himself as the Rolling Stones, or like Michael Clarke's "tribute to the Byrds" touring bands in the 1980's (the ones billed by unscrupulous promoters as "the Byrds", not otherwise specified).

None of the "reunion tour" output has been memorable or interesting. What I've heard has been sluggish, hilariously overblown "art-rock" parody. "Art-rock" is a fit target for satire, but songs satirizing genres are novelty songs, and novelty songs get old quick. I wouldn't waste my money on it. The records are almost as good as Spinal Tap, though the humor is less broad. Also like Spinal Tap, there is a movie. The problem is that they satirized the same thing over and over again for twenty-odd years. Spinal Tap took on a dozen or more targets in one movie, and the variety was great. Telling the same joke for two decades is just stupid, if you ask me.

If you haven't at least heard of Pink Floyd, I pity you and your poor, secluded soul. Pink Floyd is one of, if not the most famous rock band produced by Great Britain.

Background Information/History

Pink Floyd originally started in aninomity, as most bands do. They formed in 1966. The original band consisted of vocalist and guitarist Syd Barret, drummer Nick Mason, keyboardist Rick Wright, and most importantly, bassist Roger Waters. At first, the band created a slight stir with several small releases. It had its group of fans, but they did not make a formidable amount. Their first album was The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. It is an album consisting of whimsical, bizarre songs, and it fit the time period perfectly. While Sid Barret was vocalist, they made some psychedelic works such as Apples and Oranges. However, Syd Barret was quite fond of a drug known as acid, and he had to leave the band in early '68. He was an eccentric and was mentally unstable. After releasing two more solo albums, Syd Barret slowly went insane and died after living a long life as a recluse. Anyways, back to Floyd. David Gilmour then joined the band to replace Syd. In '68, Floyd made another interesting album called A Saucerful of Secrets. This album features the instrumental, "out-of-this-world", hypnotic and psychedelic piece called "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun". After that, Pink Floyd made several more albums mentioned in the wonderful discography above. The next album that was particularly noticeable in their history is Atom Heart Mother, which was their first one to hit No. 1 on the charts in 1970. The next album, Meddle, featured a song called Echoes (a personal favorite) which is a groundbreaking 21 minutes long. Echoes is a song which mixes mysterious and thought-provoking lyrics with an excellent musical accompaniment, with the sounds of "wind" occasionally thrown in (go figure, it's Pink Floyd we're talking about). After that, they performed in a series of concerts, and released a little-known album called Obscured by Clouds. Obscured by Clouds was basically the predecessor to Dark Side of the Moon. To be brutally and historically accurate, Obscured was more or less Floyd's last-ditch effort to stay together as a band. At that point, they were pseudo-succesfull as a band, and it is generally a well-known fact that they didn't have enough energy and money to keep going. Unless, that is, they got some kind of break.

This break came in the form of a very well-known album (this is a gross understatement) called The Dark Side of the Moon. Dark Side is an extremely famous album, and it was on the top for over 625 weeks. That's over 13 years, for those who are too lazy or inept to do the calculations. There are even some interesting stories (myths?) about this album, such as The Dark Side of the Rainbow. This album earned them a hell of a lot of money, proper recognition, and a very formidable fan base. After that, their history is fairly well-known, so I won't bother getting into too much detail. They made the album Animals, which is actually a parallel to George Orwell's book, Animal Farm. They also created The Wall, which along with Dark Side is their most famous album and was later made into The Wall DVD. Thanks to Roger Waters, The Wall was also made into a very succesfull live show, which Floyd performed countless times in many interesting places. Another noticeable release was Wish You Were Here, a popular favorite and ranking alongside with Animals and The Wall. By the end of the 70s, Pink Floyd was one of the most well-known and greatest bands in the world. Unfortunately everything went downhill from there. In the 80s and 90s their albums didn't meet with such success, and they eventually broke up. They did get together and create the Division Bell, but it's not nearly as remarkable as their early works.

The Sound

Their musical style is hard to describe, especially keeping in mind it's different variations over time. Therfore, I will provide a more chronological description. In the 60s, while they still had Sid Barret, the sound was very "psychedelic". Think Traffic, Or Jefferson Airplane. They had some very strange sound effects mixed in, and the vocals sounded somewhat detached and off in another world (or dimension). After that, they started creating a more practical sound, while retaining a unique quality. Dark Side was a turning point for Floyd, and out of all the albums it has easily the most diverse and unique sound. It features the saxophone, very impressive female vocals, and a great combination of keyboard, guitar, and bass. The albums after that have some kind of discernible pattern. This consists of a rhythm created with the guitar and drums (or bass, if regarding The Wall), topped with Roger Waters' vocals. However, it would be foolhardy and nearly impossible to generalize Pink Floyd's sound. As a general rule, it's obviously best to actually listen to music to really understand what is sounds like.

The Origin of the Band and the Name Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd saw its earliest beginnings in 1964 when Roger Waters started the band Sigma 6 while studying architecture at Cambridge. The rhythm and blues band was known variously as The Abdabs, The Architectural Abdabs, The Screaming Abdabs, and The Meggadeaths. The band had difficulty keeping members, and finally disbanded in 1965. Three members, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright, then formed a new band which was dubbed Tea Set. Bob Klose and Chris Dennis were brought in to replace lost members of Sigma 6.

Soon, Syd Barrett joined Tea Set, and the groundwork was laid for what would become Pink Floyd. Klose left the band shortly thereafter, as Barret lead them away from the jazz and blues sound to the psychedelia which defined their early years. Barrett created the name, originally called The Pink Floyd Sound, when Tea Set found themselves playing alongside another band with the same name. He took the name from blues artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, who were mentioned in the sleeve note for a 1962 Blind Boy Fuller collection. The insert read: "Curley Weaver and Fred McMullen, ...Pink Anderson or Floyd Council - these were a few amongst the many blues singers that were to be heard in the rolling hills of the Piedmont, or meandering with the streams through the wooded valleys." Just think of how close they came to calling themselves Curley Fred.

Although the band went back and forth for a while between Tea Set and The Pink Floyd Sound, Barrett's name eventually stuck. While the "Sound" was quickly dropped, the band was known as The Pink Floyd for several years (David Gilmour used this name as recently as 1984). The band's first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, was released in 1967 under than name Pink Floyd, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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