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Pink Floyd 101

The history, the music, the artists


Pink Floyd
Capitol / EMI Archive

Between 1965, when they began performing together and 1967 when they released their debut album, the band then known as The Pink Floyd became a household name among devotees of London's underground music scene.

Unlike most popular bands of the day, who (at the insistence of their managers and labels) usually had a "front man" around whom the group's publicity and popularity usually centered, Pink Floyd did not. Most people, even if they were fans, would have been hard pressed to give you the names of any of the artists. They would be more likely to be asking, "Now, which one of them is Pink?"

The Pink Floyd story is part history, part discography, and part indefinable something that continues to fascinate nearly half a century since the story began.

Pink Floyd History

Pink Floyd's Music

Their music was (and continued to be throughout their career) the kind that didn't neatly fit an existing genre. Because most of it was pretty far "out there" compared to the mainstream music of the day, when they were categorized, it was usually as psychedelic or progressive. Given that, and their growing popularity, it makes sense that when EMI signed them to their first record deal, the label turned them loose to record whatever they wanted.

If ever there was a pure album-oriented classic rock band, it was Pink Floyd. If it had been up to the band, there probably would have been no Pink Floyd singles released. That's because each album (even those that weren't concept albums like The Wall and The Dark Side of the Moon) was considered -- particularly by chief composer, Roger Waters -- a body of work whose individual tracks were not intended to stand alone.

Pink Floyd Reunions

There has never been (nor is there likely to ever be) a Pink Floyd reunion tour or new studio recordings since The Division Bell in 1994. There have been, and continue to be occasional one-off performances.

Post-Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd's final tour ended in October 1994. The live album / concert video Pulse followed in 1995. Then the band formally called in quits. With one exception, band members pursued solo careers.

Syd Barrett (lead guitar, vocals, songwriter) recorded two solo albums after his departure in 1968, but in 1974 he retired to his boyhood home in Cambridge, England where he spent his days gardening and painting until his death in 2006 at age 60 due to complications from diabetes.

David Gilmour (lead guitar, vocals) has recorded four solo albums, each with moderate chart success, most notably On An Island in 2006, which debuted at #1 in the UK and Canada, and reached #6 in the US. He has performed with and/or produced albums for a long list of artists including Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, The Who, Eric Clapton, Levon Helm and Elton John.

Nick Mason (drummer) is the only original band member who remained with the band from beginning to end, appearing on every Pink Floyd album. Mason performed with Roger Waters during Waters' 2002 and 2006 tours. He has produced albums for and performed with other artists including The Damned, Gong, Robert Wyatt and Steve Hillage. In 2004, he published a memoir, Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd.

Roger Waters (bass, vocals, principal songwriter) has recorded eight solo albums, his most recent, 2005's Ça Ira being an opera he composed. He has taken The Dark Side Side of the Moon and The Wall on tour, performing in their entirety on world tours.

Richard "Rick" Wright (keyboards, vocals, songwriter) released two solo albums and performed and recorded at various times with his former Pink Floyd band mates. Wright died of cancer in 2008 at age 65 in London.

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