Pink Floyd

The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think. Oh by the way, which one’s Pink? In the mid 60s Syd Barrett formed a psychedelic band, with fellow Englishmen Roger Waters, Rick Wright, and Nick Mason. Barrett on lead guitar, Waters on bass, Wright on keyboards, and Mason on drums. The name came from two of Barretts favorite American blues-men, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. They began experimenting with intense instrumentals of feedback, electronic screeches, and unusual, eerie sounds created by loud amplification, reverb, and such tricks as sliding ball bearings up and down guitar strings.

By 1966, heavily under the influence LSD and Barrett, the group began to incorporate light shows to add to the psychedelic effect of their live performances. In 1967 they signed with EMI records and released The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. It is considered to be one of the best British psychedelic albums, second only to The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band album. Sadly they would never even have a chance to recreate a similar masterpiece, solely because Barretts involvement in the band was in its final stages. Barrett was becoming heavily involved in mind-altering drugs like LSD and was showing alarming signs of mental instability.

They tried to work out an arrangement where newly hired guitarist and close friend David Gilmour would perform live with the band while Barrett would make his contributions in the studio. This didnt work. Syd Barrett left the group to pursue a solo career. The band decided to continue on without Barrett and Waters stepped in as the dominant composer and writer. Using Barretts vision as an obvious blueprint, but adding a more formal, somber, and quasi-classical tone, their 1968 follow-up A Saucerful of Secrets, made the British Top Ten and proved the band was to continue on.

For the next four years they would work on their sound, keeping it within the range of psychedlia, but reaching out to the uses experimental rock, and using such instruments as organs and horns. They continued on in their journey of rock history with such classics as Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother, but never reaching that same plateau as they did with their debut. They later released Meddle in 1971which further showcased their development of albums as whole masterpieces instead of just individual songs.

Nothing, however, prepared Pink Floyd or their audience for the massive mainstream success of their 1973 album, Dark Side of the Moon, which made their brand of cosmic rock even more approachable with state-of-the-art production, more focused songwriting, an army of well-timed stereophonic sound effects, and touches of saxophone and soulful female backup vocals. Dark Side of the Moon rose to #1 in the U. S. and made them one of the biggest-selling acts of all time. It has now spent an astonishing 1093 weeks on the Billboard charts, marking its 25th year and making it the longest running album to be on the charts.

Wish You Were Here followed in 1975, and was a sort of tribute to their long-departed founder Syd Barrett. With Waters still being the predominant creative force they released Animals in 1977. Waters had been working on the next project for many years. It was to be a concept album like none before it. The Wall, released in 1979, was the story of a rock star named Pink Floyd and his battle for sanity as he builds an emotional and material wall around himself to distance himself from everyone and everything.

It was based off of Waters own life and experiences as well as the bands experiences with Barret. The Wall was a huge success, this being a result of the band losing heavy-duty electronic textures in favor of more approachable pop elements. The band rarely released singles since the late 60s, but Another Brick in the Wall went to straight to #1, and The Wall would soon become the best selling double album of all time. The live performance was no less disappointing. The elaborate stage shows of early and mid 70s was surpassed by The Walls production.

The band had an actual wall constructed during their performances and by the second act, with the wall already built, the band placed itself in random open spaces within the wall, and played from there. It was truly a work of art. Roger Waters later wrote a screenplay based off the album and a movie was released to the under the same title. In the 1980s, the group began to unravel. Waters demanded full control of the bands musical and lyrical identity, which wouldn’t have been such a problem, had 1983 The Final Cut been such an unimpressive effort.

In 1986, Waters sued Gilmour and Mason to dissolve the group’s partnership and put an end to the bands name (Wright had lost full membership status by this point). Waters lost the suit, and continued on with his own solo career. Its a bit strange how history repeats itself. Wright later rejoined Mason and Gilmour, but the sparkle wasnt there. 1987s Momentary Lapse of Reason barely rose to the Top Five, and the same went for Waters ambitious solo effort. Pink Floyd still have a huge fan base, but they have done little that has been noteworthy since Waters departure from the group.

The release of The Division Bell in 1994 topped charts and brought some life back into Pink Floyd, but didnt make any deep impact in the music scene, like they once did. The band released their Greatest Hits album Echoes in October, which climaxed at the #2 spot. Roger Waters will be going on tour in February of 2002, to support his last release In the Flesh, a live album showcasing his greatest musical achievements. Following the lack-luster results of Syd Barretts solo works; he left the spotlight of the entertainment world completely. He has been living in seclusion in England since.

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