Formed in 1965 in London, Pink Floyd was a rock band that became popular from London’s underground music scene in the late ‘60s. Since then, the group became one of the most influential and commercially successful bans in the music industry. The band was initially composed of Roger Waters on bass, Nick Mason on drums, Rock Wright on keyboards, and Syd Barrett on guitars and lead vocals. Througout their career, the band released a total of 15 studio albums and sold over 250 million of them all over the world. Their album, The Wall and The Dark Side of the Moon are two of the best-selling albums of all time. In this article, we’re going to find out more about Pink Floyd and their contributions to the music industry.
Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Rick Wright were all architecture students at the London Polytechnic. When formed a band, they decided to recruit Syd Barrett, who happens to be an art student from the same school and Roger Water’s childhood friend. Unlike any other British band, they started playing R&B and blues music purely. And because of their love for blues music, they decided to name their band Pink Floyd in honor of their blues idols Floyd Council and Pink Anderson.
After playing some gigs around London, the band quickly became a sensation of London’s underground rock scene. The band eventually signed a recording contract with EMI Records in 1967. It was that same year when they released their debut single entitled Arnold Layne which reached the 20th spot of the UK singles chart.
- The Piper at the Gates of Dawn – This was Pink Floyds debut studio album, and it was released in August 1967. It is the only Pink Floyd album that was released under founding member Syd Barrett. The name of the album was a chapter from Kenneth Grahame’s novel entitled The Wind in the Willows. The songs featured the hit singles Flaming, Astronomy Domine, and See Emily Play. The band embarked on a tour including a US tour to further promote this album.
- A Saucerful of Secrets – A Saucerful of Secrets was Pink Floyd’s second studio album that was released on June 1968. It was the first album that was recorded before and after Syd Barrett’s departure from the band because of his unpredictable behavior, and David Gilmour eventually replaced him. David Gilmour would later be known as one of The 10 Best Guitarists of the 1970s. A Saucerful of Secrets featured the hit singles Let There Be More Light, and Remember a Day. The album reachedthe ninth spot of the UK charts, but it failed to chart in the United States. It also received several positive reviews even if critics said that it deemed inferior to their previous album.
- More – More was Pink Floyd’s first soundtrack album and third studio album that was released on June 1969. The album also happens to be the soundtrack of the English drama film of the same title. This was also the first album of the band that doesn’t have any involvement from their previous vocalist, Syd Barrett. More spawned two hit singles namely, Main Theme and The Nile Song but compared to Pink Floyd’s two previous album, More received reviews from critics.
- Ummagumma – Released in November 1969, Ummagumma was Pink Floyd’s fourth studio album and their first double album which was released under Harvest Records. The first disc contains live recordings from their performance at Mothers Club in Birmingham while the second album contained songs that they recorded at Abbey Road Studios. Ummagumma featured the songs The Narrow Way, Sysyphus, and Astronomy Domine. It received several positive reviews during its release, and it reached the top five of the UK albums charts.
- Atom Heart Mother – Atom Heart Mother was Pink Floyd’s fifth studio album which was released in October 1970 under Harvest Records. Itwas Pink Floyd’s first album that reached the top spot in the UK charts and the 55th spot in the United States. The album featured the singles Summer ’68, Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast, If, and Fat Old Sun. The album became commercially successful and obtained a gold status in the United States.
- Meddle – Released in October 1971, Meddle was Pink Floyd’s sixth studio album, and it was released under Harvest Records. The album was recorded during the band’s touring commitments. Meddle featured the songs One of These Days, Fearless, Seamus, A Pillow of Winds, and Echoes. The album received several positive reviews upon its release, and it became commercially successful in the United Kingdom.
- Obscured by Clouds – Obscured by Clouds was Pink Floyd’s seventh studio album, and it was released in June 1972 under Harvest and Capitol Records. The album was also a soundtrack album for the French film La Vallee which was directed by Barbet Schroeder. Obscured by Clouds was produced by the band members and it was recorded in two sessions, one in France and one while they were in the middle of a tour. The album featured the songs Free Four, Wot’s… Uh the Deal?, Burning Bridges, and Childhood’s End. The album peaked at the sixth spot of the UK charts and the 46th spot in the United States.
- The Dark Side of the Moon – This album was Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album, and it was released in March 1973 under Harvest Records. The album was a concept album which explores different themes such as time, greed, conflict, greed, and even mental illness; the latter was somewhat inspired by the worsening health of their previous band member, Syd Barrett. The album featured the hit songs, Speak to Me, On the Run, Time, Breathe, Money, Brain Damage, Us and Them, and Any Colour You Like. The album was an instant hit in the United Kingdom and just after a month since its release, it earned a gold certification in the United States. The band embarked on a tour throughout 1973 to further promote their album. The album topped the Billboard Top LP’s and Tape charts and Billboard 200 charts that same year.
- Wish You Were Here – Wish You Were Here was the band’s ninth studio album of Pink Floyd. It was released on September 1975 under Harvest Records and Columbia Records. The album was recorded over several sessions in 1975 in Abbey Road Studios in London. The album dealt with several themes such as alienation, criticism of the music industry, and as well as a tribute album to Syd Barrett. Just like its predecessor, The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd also used several studio effects and synthesizers on this album. it also featured guest singers such as Roy Harper and Venetta Fields. Wish You Were Here featured the songs Have a Cigar, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and Welcome to the Machine. During its releas, the album received mixed reviews from the critics because they found the music to be uninspiring and mediocre compared to their album, The Dark Side of the Mood. However, the album still received critical acclaim and named as one of the greatest albums of all time. Wish You Were Here sold over 13 million copies worldwide since its release.
- Animals – Animals was Pink Floyd’s tenth studio album which was released in January 1977 under Columbia Records and Harvest Records. The album was recorded at Pink Floyd’s Britannia Row Studios in London. Animals was another concept album that focuses on the social-political conditions of Britain in the late 1970s. During the recording of this album, tensions between the band members began when Richard Wright decided to leave them. Animals featured the songs Dogs, Pigs on the Wing, and Sheep, however, Pink Floyd did not release any singles from this album but promoted it on their In The Flesh tour.
- The Wall – Released in November 1979 under Harvest Records and Columbia Records, The Wall was Pink Floyd’s eleventh studio album. The album is a rock opera record that gained commercial success and topped the US charts for fifteen weeks straight and peaked at the third spot on the UK charts. Even if the album received mixed reviews from critics, the album is hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time. The album is also a concept album which was later adapted into a feature film of the same name in 1982. The Wall featured the songs Hey You, The Thin Ice, In The Flesh?, Empty Spaces, Goodbye Blue Sky, Mother, Run Like Hell, and Comfortably Numb. It sold over 24 million copies since its release and was hailed as one of Pink Floyd’s best-selling album off all time.
- The Final Cut – The Final Cut was released on March 1983, and it was Pink Floyd’s twelfth studio album. it featured unused materials from their previous album, The Wall, as well as new songs that the band recorded in 1982. This was the last Pink Floyd album that featured Roger Waters because he left the band in 1985. The Final Cut is also the album that did not feature Richard Wright because he was removed from the band during the recording of The Wall. The Final Cut featured the songs Not Now John, The Hero’s Return, Paranoid Eyes, The Gunner’s Dream, and Your Possible Pasts. The Final Cut recieved mixed reviews but it still became a commercial success because it reached the top spot of the UK charts and peaked at the sixth spot in the United States.
- A Momentary Lapse of Reason – Released in September 1987 under EMI Records and Columbia Records, A Momentary Lapse of Reason was Pink Floyd’s thirteenth studio album. This was not a concept album, and it featured songs from other songwriters such as Signs of Life, One Slip, Yet Another Movie, and Learning to Fly. Critics admired its instrumentation and production, but they did not like Gilmour’s writing. However, it still outsold the band’s previous album, The Final Cut.
- The Division Bell – The album was Pink Floyd’s fourteenth studio album that was released in March 1994 under EMI Records and Columbia Records. David Gilmour and Richard Wright mostly wrote the album. It featured the songs Poles Apart, Marooned, Cluster One, A Great Day for Freedom, High Hopes, and Take it Back. The Division Bell was recorded in Pink Floyd’s Britannia Row Studios and Gilmour’s houseboat. Just like Pink Floyd’s other albums, the album also received mixed reviews, but it still managed to reach the top spot in over ten countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States. And after a year since its release, The Division Bell became certified double platinum album in the United States.
- The Endless River – Released in November 2014 under Parlophone Records and Columbia Records, The Endless River is Pink Floyd’s fifteenth and last studio album. It is the band’s third album under the leadership of David Gilmour. The album featured ambient and instrumental music that is based on the songs that were recorded on the band’s previous album. The Endless River featured the songs Louder Than Words, Things Left Unsaid, Skins, Surfacing, and It’s What We Do. The Endless River debuted at the number one spot in several countries and became the most pre-ordered album on Amazon UK. The vinyl edition of the album also became the fastest-selling Vinyl record since 1997.
Legacy and Awards
Pink Floyd is often hailed as one of the most influential and commercially successful artists of all time. They were also included in the Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The band also won several awards such as a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Non-Classical Album, Best Rock Instrumental Performance for their song Marooned.
Pink Floyd was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Several artists such as Radiohead, Queen, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, and The Smashing Pumpkins named Pink Floyd as one of their musical influences.
Are you itching to know more about other 70’s artists? Click here to satisfy your need to know. If you want to learn more about the classic bands of the 1970s, you may read our Top British Bands of the 70s.