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10 Facts and Fibs About Pink Floyd

Nic Swaner . . . Comments

Pink Floyd are one of, if not the most, well-known rock bands of the progressive rock genre, capturing the essence of lengthy instrumental passages and complementing them with memorable vibes and clear lyrics. Their concepts were compelling, from early psychedelic eccentricities to the formation of a concept album. They were shaped by Barrett’s inventiveness, Water’s writing skill and passion, Gilmour’s affection for chords and yet simplicity, Wright’s compositional knowledge, Nick Mason’s resourcefulness, and the numerous jazz influences they were inspired by and would frequently come back to. This list attempts to highlight some relatively unknown facts about Pink Floyd as well as addressing myths about the band. The list is in an order deemed relevant.


Nick Mason Signs On


Nick Mason is the longest running member of Pink Floyd, from the Barrett era to the times of the dehydrated Floyd (i.e. without Roger Waters). In his time with Pink Floyd he rarely ventured out of his comfort zone of percussive instruments, taking failed violin lessons and providing special effects and sounds. But how did the band acquire him as a drummer? According to Mark Blake, author of “Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd,” Nick Mason was looked well upon as a drummer because he could provide the funds and transport to buy instruments and get them to gigs. Despite this oversight by the band, Mason proved to be an effective drummer, and contributed to the composition of such songs as Time, Echoes, and Speak to Me (solely credited to him). His voice is also featured on the track One of These Days.


Any Colour You Like


Associated with two similar quotes, the song Any Colour You Like from Dark Side of the Moon seems to reference Henry Ford’s quote: “You can have it any color you like, as long as it’s black.” While the title’s concept does concern the lack of choice in the modern world, the origin of the title does not come from Henry Ford’s quote, it comes from an observation Roger Waters made while living in Cambridge. As the inspiration for this list this excerpt was and can be found in an essay titled “Which One’s Pink?” by musicologist Phil Rose.

“In Cambridge where I lived, people would come from London in a van – a truck – open the back and stand on the tailboard of the truck, and the truck’s full of stuff that they’re trying to sell. And they have a very quick and slick patter, and they’re selling things like crockery, china, sets of knives and forks. All kinds of different things, and they sell it very cheap with a patter. They tell you what it is, and they say ‘It’s ten plates, lady, and it’s this, that, and the other, and eight cups and saucers, and for the lot I’m asking NOT ten pounds, NOT five pounds, NOT three pounds . . . fifty bob to you!’, and they get rid of this stuff like this. If they had sets of china, and they were all the same color, they would say, ‘You can ‘ave ’em, ten bob to you, love. Any color you like, they’re all blue.’ And that was just part of that patter. So, metaphorically, ‘Any Colour You Like’ is interesting, in that sense, because it denotes offering a choice where there is none. And it’s also interesting that in the phrase, ‘Any color you like, they’re all blue,’ I don’t know why, but in my mind it’s always ‘they’re all blue,’ which, if you think about it, relates very much to the light and dark, sun and moon, good and evil. You make your choice but it’s always blue.”

In addition to the title of the song, the work in progress had various names, such as Scat or Scat Section, and has also been known as Breathe (2nd Reprise) due to its similar beat and chord sequence.


Hearing Voices

Staying on the topic of what is considered to be Pink Floyd’s magnum opus, Dark Side of the Moon makes use of voices throughout the album. These voices were generated by questions Roger Waters had written up on cue cards and were subsequently asked to roadies, doormen, members of the band Wings, and anyone available at Abbey Road. The approximately twenty questions ranged from “When was the last time you were violent and were you in the right?” to “What does the phrase ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ mean to you?” The laughter that can be heard on Speak to Me and Brain Damage is that of Peter Watts, a road manager for Pink Floyd. In addition to the voices, at the end of the album, faint music can be heard, which is presumed to be an instrumental version of Ticket to Ride by the Beatles in the background. It has been proposed that while recording doorman Jerry Driscoll’s response (“there is no dark side of the moon really, as a matter of fact it’s all dark”) that somewhere in Abbey Road, Ticket to Ride was playing and was picked up by the microphones.


Syd Barrett’s Self-Destruction

Posedbyhiswork India Ink

Pioneering the Pink Floyd’s sound, Barrett has widely been viewed as a musical genius for his contributions to the 1960s’ underground psychedelic scene. Little seems to focus on the man behind the music aside from his mental meltdown that ultimately led to the band abandoning him while on the way to a gig in 1968. Slowly, he reverted from Syd Barrett to his given name of Roger Barrett as he slipped into ever-increasing obscurity after departing the band. He would continue to release two solo albums with the help of David Gilmour, but eventually succumbed to a private life in Cambridge. Media outlets and fans sought him out in the later years of the Floyd, a concept that Barrett did not understand; he lived firmly in the present and did not take advantage of his past. Becoming more aware of the materialism that surrounded his artistic creations as he tried to live as privately as possible, he began to practice a form of self-destruction on his artwork.

Barrett himself had studied and practiced with paint, ink and pencil while in the band’s oldest incarnations. He would continue this throughout his time with Pink Floyd and after his era as front-man. With a strong disinterest in materialism and utter disbelief behind why people sought him out, he continued painting and creating works of art with a new-found method to deal with the clamor. He took on a ritual of photographing his completed works and then destroying the canvas, sometimes by burning his own work. As the metaphor that it unintentionally is for the development of the band, Barrett has managed to encapsulate the aspect of how he deals with the pressure of attention and demand in the industry (and earlier in time, the presence of drugs) with this damaging and brash act. [Source]


Album Art Anarchy

Warner Bros Studio Lot

Pink Floyd’s album art is as legendary as the band itself, addressing the themes in their music with visuals as impressive as the content itself. Gerald Scarfe and Storm Thurgeson, two artists often associated with Pink Floyd, are behind much of the 1970s era Floyd artwork. Scarfe drew content for The Wall album and Thurgeson designed the album artwork behind The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. On the DSOTM’s iconic sleeve is a prism that represents the band’s stage lighting, the record’s lyrical themes, and keyboardist Rick Wright’s request for a simple and bold design. Of the seven designs presented to the band, the prism was unanimously chosen. As the band could afford to be pickier however, things became more complicated.

Wish You Were Here’s cover image consists of two businessmen meeting in the street, greeting each other with an empty handshake, one man on fire. The image was inspired by the idea that people tend to conceal their true feelings, for fear of “getting burned.” This was a common phrase in the music industry, used often by artists denied royalty payments. In the image, two stuntmen were used, one dressed in a fire-retardant suit covered by a business suit. His head was protected by a hood, underneath a wig. The photograph was taken at the Warner Bros. studios in Los Angeles. Initially the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, and the flames were forced into the stuntman’s face, burning his mustache. This was easily remedied, however, with the two stuntmen changing positions. The photograph was later reversed.

For the Animals’ cover image, they were careful with how they planned to orchestrate a pig on the wing. After commissioning a German company Ballon Fabrik (who had previously constructed Zeppelin airships) and Australian artist to build a porcine balloon, known as Algie, the balloon was inflated with helium and maneuvered into position with a trained marksman ready to fire if it escaped. Unfortunately, inclement weather delayed work, and the band’s manager neglected to book the marksman for a second day. The balloon, obviously testing Murphy’s law, broke free of its moorings and disappeared from view. It landed in Kent and was recovered by a local farmer, who was furious that it had “scared his cows.” The balloon was recovered and filming continued for a third day, but as the early photographs of the power station were considered better, the image of the pig was later superimposed onto one of those.


Another Brick in the Wall II


This is a short summary of a greater and much more in-depth analysis of the album The Wall and its many moving parts, courtesy of Bret Urick. While the album itself is full of symbolism, literary devices, themes and other items of significance – hammers, bricks, walls, worms – the song Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 is full of oxymoronic and contradictory statements throughout despite its unifying stance against the way institutions stifle creativity in today’s classrooms. As Waters, Wright, and Gilmour sing a choir of restless schoolchildren to rebel against the harsh and cynical treatment of their teachers, there is a certain antithesis in the air that is apparent in the lyrics.

While fighting for individuality, the lyrics of Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 ironically are saturated with references to conformity. There is no ‘I’, or singular driven character as with the rest of the album, there is a ‘we.’ This plurality is identity-robbing, as evidenced by the kids’ actions while under the teacher’s rules and while ransacking the school in the film based on the album. The children in the second verse sing lyrics of personal revolution, yet it is accompanied with their symmetrical lockstep rhythm, both musically and physically. Notwithstanding their rebellious tendencies, they have become as comparable as when they were clones of one another. Moreover, one could delve into the effects of mass psychology and the pressure from amongst peers to contribute to the violence and chaos that is the literal tearing-down-of-the-school-walls. It is a momentary victory for Pink in his struggle against his figurative wall, which explains the expressive guitar solo amidst the rigid disco structure of the song.


Syd Barrett Sabotage

1970 029 Syd Barrett

Most agree or are of the opinion that Syd Barrett had a breakdown in early 1968 due to the increasing notoriety of the band and his drug use. Rob Chapman, author of “Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head,” however, argues that Syd’s madness was a misunderstanding of his artistic intent. He claims the motive behind the other band members abandoning Syd is that when the band was on the verge of becoming financially successful, Barrett wanted to turn to a different form of sonic experimentation. He attributes Barrett’s actions (such as playing one untuned string during a whole performance) as acts of defiance against the band members who disagreed with him.

Chapman takes it even further by analyzing Syd’s Pink Floyd songs and work from his solo years. He reasons that had Syd had a mental breakdown, that his writing would have suffered as much as he had. Like in his years with Pink Floyd, Chapman finds references and quotes spread throughout, from Huff the Talbot and our Cat Tib (Mother Goose rhyme), Thomas Nashe’s Summer’s Last Will and Testament (an Elizabethan masque play), Shakespeare’s King Henry VI Pt. 1, Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind In The Willows, poems from: Anonymous (Mr Nobody), John Clare (Fairy Things), Sir Henry Newbolt (Rilloby-Rill) and William Howitt (The Wind in a Frolic) – all in the song Octopus from the album The Madcap Laughs. How near or how far into this we delve, his music remains influential.


Live at Pompeii

Pink Floyd Live At Pompeii-0

In 1972, Pink Floyd released a live performance album recorded from the amphitheater of Pompeii and a studio in France. While the location of Pompeii’s amphitheater without an audience served as an excellent statement against the live recordings of the time in which bands were shown alongside their adoring fans, it most importantly was symbolic of the history of Pompeii.

The initial idea behind Live at Pompeii wasn’t Pompeii at all, but was, as conceptualized by the director, combining the Floyd’s music with contemporary art. In a meeting with David Gilmour and the band’s manager the band declined this idea, agreeing to talk about it at a later date. Adrien Maben, the director, went on holiday to Italy in early summer 1971. It was in Pompeii that Adrien Maben lost his passport, and retracing his steps, was surprisingly let back into the ancient city. There is no better way to sum up the spirit of the Live At Pompeii recordings than what Maben described seeing in the empty amphitheater:

“I returned alone, retracing my steps along the empty streets of Pompeii, back to the amphitheater of stone walls and seats.

“It was strange. A huge deserted amphitheater filled with echoing insect sounds, flying bats and the disappearing light which meant that I could hardly see the opposite side of this huge structure built more than two thousand years ago.

“I knew by instinct that this was the place for the film. It had to be here. It somehow all came together that evening in the ancient city. Film the empty amphitheater, resurrect the spirit of Pompeii with sound and color, imagine that ghosts of the past could somehow return.”

It is a complete myth that Italian authorities would only let Pink Floyd play in Pompeii as long as there wasn’t an audience; the Soprintendenza of Naples (the official board that controls the site of Pompeii) was skeptical of a rock group playing at a site of cultural value, but the idea that there would be no audience was not imposed by the Soprintendenza.


Publius Enigma

The Publius Enigma is a mystery surrounding the Division Bell album, and is suspected of being both an early example of a viral marketing campaign and a puzzle that was eventually abandoned by its creators. Whether or not the enigma is an officially solvable puzzle still remains unclear but has been confirmed by Mason in his book “Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd” as being a marketing ploy of EMI and that ‘Publius’ was not a fictitious spokesperson for the band, but rather, an actual person coordinating an orchestration of events geared to stir and stimulate Floyd fans for the Division Bell Tour.

Publius promised an unspecified reward for solving the riddle and further claimed that there was an enigma hidden within the artwork, music and lyrics of the album. Outcries from skeptics soon followed, only to be shushed when Publius affirmed his appearance at a live venue: “Monday, July 18, East Rutherford, New Jersey. Approximately 10:30pm. Flashing white lights. There is an enigma.” Sticking to his promise, the words ENIGMA and PUBLIUS appeared in bold white lights during the song Keep Talking. Further authenticating Publius’s existence during the televised and recorded concert at Earl’s Court, London, the word ENIGMA was projected onto the backdrop during the song Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2. On the P•U•L•S•E DVD of that concert, extra markings were also added with the clue L = mc², only to be quickly overlaid with E = mc².

Adding to the validity and perpetuation of the Publius Enigma are further clues from Pink Floyd paraphernalia: “Publius Enigma” can be heard spoken just before the song One of These Days on the 2003 DVD release of Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii. Page 13 of the The Division Bell’s CD booklet contains an anagram of the word “enigma,” hidden in the third column from the right of the lyrics to Wearing the Inside Out. The following are wild and often irrational associations to other significant events, but keep in mind this was EMI’s brainchild.

“The page numbers of The Division Bell’s CD booklet are written in various languages and printed on silhouettes of the head statues shown on the cover of the album. Page 11 shows two head silhouettes. Printed on either one is the German word for eleven, ‘elf,’ resulting in ‘elf elf,’ or, ‘eleven eleven.’ The trailer for the 2009 film 11:11 features the song High Hopes. High Hopes is the 11th track on The Division Bell. The release date of David Gilmour’s On An Island, March 6, 2006, is exactly eleven months and eleven years after the U.S. release date of The Division Bell, April 5, 1994.

On June 11, 1994, Publius made his first enigma post to the Pink Floyd newsgroup. Eleven years later, on June 11, 2005, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright agreed to reunite as Pink Floyd for Live 8. During the broadcast (and as seen on the Live 8 DVD), the band took the stage just shortly after 11:00 p.m., and by 11:11, Pink Floyd were playing together as a four-man lineup for the first time in twenty four years.”


Dark Side of the Rainbow

Dark Side of the Rainbow, or the Dark Side of Oz, is an alleged purposeful synchronization (though sometimes claimed as an unintentional collaboration of creative souls) of the album The Dark Side of the Moon with the film The Wizard of Oz. The rumors surfaced around 1994 that the album was a soundtrack for the movie, with connections being made between actions by the characters and lyrics on the album. For instance, Dorothy balances on a tight-rope fence during the line “balanced on the biggest wave” in the song Breathe and she begins to jog when the words “no one told you when to run” are sung during Time. Tracks also transition when scenes change, and songs such as The Great Gig in the Sky play for the entirety of Dorothy’s house caught in the Kansas twister. The culmination of the lion’s second roar concludes with a heartbeat, a tin man, and the previously mentioned faint music, making for quite a convincing argument for those who are compelled to believe that this is a stroke of Floyd genius. The members of the band deny the claims however and the producers recall no mention of the movie during recording of the album.

Another interesting synchronicity (a phenomenon in which coincidental events “seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality,” as explained by Carl Jung) is 2011: a Pink Floyd Odyssey. The final segment, Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite, is of a similar length of Pink Floyd’s song Echoes. Stanley Kubrick originally offered Pink Floyd a part producing the music behind the film, but Waters would decline as he was trying to distance the band from the space-rock genre. The theory from fans is that after seeing Kubrick’s masterpiece, they (or Waters individually) regretted missing out on the offer and set out to create a piece of music that would fit the movie. While there are parallels to Dark Side of the Rainbow, such as scenes changing with the music, it is ultimately a lesser journey in coincidence.



    • Squigg

      By Pepperidge Farm!

  • macroorcac

    Way way way way way way too far, Justin Bieber.

  • Metalwrath

    Meh, I really don’t care much for Pink Floyd. I actually waited for a new list before going to bed. Disappointed :/ But I see why it may interest others, yet you’re taking risks by making such pop-culture specific subjects.

    • We only post such specific lists from time to time – I try very hard to get a broad range of subjects out with the ones most appealing to the masses being given priority :) This is the same reason you will see that sports lists are published far less often than other categories too.

      • Montezuma

        Hey Frater, whatever happened to lists that weren’t limited to ten? Last time I checked this isn’t Top Tenz, and it seems the only lists that are more anymore are factuals.

        • JamesD

          Top 10 Lists – Listverse

          Top 10 lists. Listverse is dedicated to top 10 lists of trivia from a variety of categories – the most popular of which are top ten lists of bizarre and human oddities.

          ^ .

  • TheCapitalLettter

    I think I’m going to take the phrase “you can have it any colour you want, as long as its black” and use it when necessary. Weird publicity in #2.

  • dizit

    Thank you for this.

    Pink Floyd is one of those rare bands which can appeal to a wide range of musical tastes. The beauty, authority, and power of the music, the often mystical and meaningful lyrics, and the absolute fun of the entire package makes PF’s significance in the music industry assured for a long time to come.

    • Ni99a

      Well, consider Justin Bieber taste out of your so call range of stupid musical tastes.


  • ed

    Interesting list man. I only listened to the dark side album, and it was nice to find out certain things about the band. What other albums do you recommend that are like the dark side?

    • Jiminut

      Wish You Were Here is the logical next step from Dark Side.

    • Will Trame

      I second the mention of “Wish You Were Here”. Legend has it jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli played a solo at the conclusion of the title song. Regardless, it was obscured by the howling winds that climaxed said piece and segued into the concluding “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”. Also the “Meddle” album is worth repeated spins. Many Floyd aficionados believe it to be the best set post-Syd Barrett and pre-“Dark Side”.

  • fallenangel

    This is a well put together list about one of my most favorite bands. You made my day. Thank you

  • Jiminut

    This is a great list for a rock fan like me. Is Syd’s solo work worth chechking out? I think “Piper” is a work of genius but I remember giving Madcap Laughs a listen years ago and wasn’t into it. Should I give it another try or leave it alone?

    An observation I like to make about the Pink Floyd is that Syd was truly original. The band floated around for years without much identity after he left. Then they finally built an identity by writing four full albums, about Syd. Finally, Roger Waters developed an identity of his own, and he got kicked out of the band. Then the theme of the following Pink Floys albums were mostly about Roger Waters.

    • Will Trame

      I was always under the impression that Roger Waters acrimoniously left Floyd shortly after “The Final Cut” was released. His vision of course dominated Pink Floyd’s sound following Barrett’s collapse and I believe that the first song relating to Syd was “Fearless” from “Meddle”. It’s common knowledge that Waters dominated Floyd (almost to a dictatorial degree) from the latter half of the 70s through his departure and he sued to prevent David Gilmour from continuing with the name. Then, of course, came the Gilmour Floyd albums which did indeed level some serious critical barbs at Waters.

  • Robin

    Loved it. Thank you

  • Will Trame

    Good list. I have always liked the Floyd’s music from the Syd Barrett era up to “The Division Bell”. There were some dud bits, of course, but that’s to be expected from a group that has had such a long history. A notable omission would be the aborted “Household Objects” set, which I believe was to be released following “Dark Side” in which the “music” was to be produced through the use of said materials.

    Floyd’s album artwork has been an integral part to their music, and Thorgerson’s “Images Of Pink Floyd” is a must own for those (like me) who love their art and have always looked forward to seeing what image would appear on a new Floyd album at the time of release. My personal favorites include “A Saucerful Of Secrets”, “Ummagumma” (both front and flip side), “Meddle” ( originally Thorgerson supposedly wanted a shot of a baboon’s a.nus) and “The Division Bell”.

  • Adam Bernier-Sontag

    JFrater, I’m an avid, unbiased sports writer. I’ve been involved my whole life as an athlete, writer, and then coach. I truly feel their are many sports topics to tackles in dozens of sports and I genuinely have a true passion for more sports and athletic competitions than I read about and hear about. Any way I could write articles in any sort of athletics? I’d love to give you a piece of my writing towards any given sports topic. There are plenty of people that understand sports….I highly doubt their are people that watch sports as objectively as I do with natural writing. I ask you to take a chance on me. I promise you’ll gain interest and credibility in the sports sections.

    • mom424

      Jamie publishes sports lists now and again – I’m sure yours’ will receive consideration if worthy. There is a submit a list button at the top of the page – please use it. Looking forward to it.

    • Pinky Promise

      Is that like a “cross my heart and hope to die” promise, Adam? I must warn you, we don’t take kindly to broken promises around these here parts. We WILL stick a needle in your eye if you make reckless promises that fail. ;) <—[evidence of last joker who, upon breaking promise, received needle to eye]

    • Natural Writing Writer

      Lol Adam, unless you quickly learn the appropriate usage difference between “there”, “their”, and “they’re”, I don’t think you should be making any promises pertaining to “credibility.” You have two misuses in that one paragraph alone. :D

    • Ni99a

      Yeah man, improve your writing. Even a ghetto dweller like me knows you are worthless to write a list.

      • Alex


    • True Story

      Individuals posting to Jamie…

      Adam (B.S) Bernier-Sontag: “I’d love to give you a piece of my writing…”

      Mom: “I’d love to give you a piece of my heart…”

      Segues: “I’d love to give you a piece of my mind…”

      Frank: “Look, everyone stop d*cking around and gimme a f*cking list, failtrolls!”

      Maggot: “^^C-c-c-c-combo breaker!”

      • segues

        True Story – Segues: “I’d love to give you a piece of my mind…”


        I don’t have enough pieces to spare.

        • True Story

          Lol no no, Segues.. too literal. I was picturing it more in a ‘rolls up sleeves menacingly’ kind of fashion. ;)

          • segues




  • ..,,l,,..
  • mom424

    Great job – more Floyd facts than I ever imagined. I’d heard about the Wizard of Oz coincidence. And it’s a doozy. I wonder if it’s just our need to see patterns..? Likely.

    Another interesting Floyd fact – They just sued iTunes and won. The Wall is a concept album and as such it has never been licensed as a collection of singles. iTunes wanted to cash in and did so. The band objected in court. Yeah for not selling out!

    About Syd Barrett; always wonder what came first, the drugs or the mental illness. Did the mental illness cause him to over abuse the pharmacopeia or did the drugs cause the separation from reality? I sort of lean towards the illness being responsible – we have a friend with drug induced schizophrenia – normal folks, even when experimenting, don’t take 30 tabs of E. You just don’t. Not that the drugs didn’t have an effect; I’m sure it made everything 10X worse.

    Again, nice job Nic.

  • oouchan

    Total Pink Floyd fan! When I’m stressed, just one song of theirs has the effect of removing all stress all at once. Their music is truly one of the best.

    Great list.

  • buh-buh-buh-borrrrring too serious band & boring list… this list was just an exercise in hagiography

    • Ni99a

      Duuuude that’s not kool…

      The list cured my insomnia.

    • But look on the bright side – it gave you a chance to use the word “hagiography” in a meaningful and logical way :)

  • Null

    Pink Floyd are okay, albeit a tad overrated. The only albums I like by them are Wish You Were Here and Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

  • Tg

    Is that the same amphitheater from yesterday’s list?

    • Flippant

      Nah, Tg. Yesterday’s was an amphitheater in the town Fidenae.. today’s is Pompeii. Same country though.

  • Randall

    Pink Floyd? Really? Does anyone beyond a relatively small cadre of classic rock enthusiasts and Floyd fans really care about Pink Floyd anymore?

    Oh yes, no doubt the Floyd nuts, etc. will crawl out of the woodwork to vilify me for saying it… but here’s a band that made, admittedly, a couple pretty good albums that have apparently held up (but no, obviously I’m not a fan) and yet their heyday was was over and done with some 40 years ago.

    Of course, a list like this does, perhaps, appeal to some. So my point is really not a great one (which I also freely admit). But I grow very tired of all this genuflecting at the feet of these classic rock dinosaurs… which dominates music discussion all too much—and all of it due to a highly vocal minority (and yes–a *minority*—just a LOUD one) and a wheezy, fossilized radio establishment that won’t let it go because it’s safer than trying to find the new and inventive.

    Think about it a second. If someone, tomorrow, wrote a list based on, let’s say… The Clash… or REM… just two bands that are arguably at least as important and certainly AT LEAST as good an inventive as Pink Floyd… wouldn’t it seem a trifle incongruous and oddly out of place, seeing as this is 2012, and the age of that kind of Brit Punk and jangly college rock are long past? I love those bands, but I’d never write a list about either of them. Their music, yes, is still enjoyable, and even in some ways relevant… and some might say the same for Floyd. But the MUSIC is all that matters anymore, and the memory of those bands will live or die on their music. I no longer care as I once did about the other ephemera surrounding them, because it’s in the past and has no relevancy any longer. The whole Syd Barrett thing? Yawn. Let it go. Another tortured, messed-up genius, maybe. But the story is old and, frankly, has become a cliche. I don’t care about Syd Barrett. Just whether the music still works. And it’s by the same token that I no longer give a shit what argument John Lennon and Paul McCartney were having over the course of the life of the Beatles. It no longer matters. Sure, if you want your history, fine… but there’s this tendency to freeze on a particular time period too much (i.e., the period of so-called “classic rock”) as thought it still maintains some level of relevancy and import beyond any other period. And it’s simply not true.

    • Hellion

      No thanks. We are already bombarded by silly sports lists too much as is.

    • classicrockrules

      “But the MUSIC is all that matters anymore, and the memory of those bands will live or die on their music.”

      This is the only sentence that ” maintains some level of relevancy” in your rant.

    • Maggot

      Oh yes, no doubt the Floyd nuts, etc. will crawl out of the woodwork to vilify me for saying it… but here’s a band that made, admittedly, a couple pretty good albums that have apparently held up (but no, obviously I’m not a fan) and yet their heyday was was over and done with some 40 years ago.

      [clutches groove-worn and dog-eared Piper at the Gates of Dawn album tightly to chest]

      Shut up! Blasphemer!! I am NOT a dinosaur! You’re hurting my ears! You’re mean! STOP LIVING IN THE PRESENT!!!1!

    • Tim

      Unfortunately, the majority of current music is so bad it hurts your ears. How can one move on when there is nothing to move on to?

      • Randall

        You’re missing the point Tim. You THINK there’s nothing else to move on to, because you don’t LOOK. And the reason you don’t is because the radio doesn’t allow you to. The radio is dominated by Top 40 and classic rock, mainly. You have to seek out alternatives—underground, Indie music… whatever you want to call it. If you look for it, you find it exists, and HAS existed for 20 – 30 years now. The dominant, mainstream radio, however, doesn’t allow it to be heard. That was a large part of my point.

        • Tim

          Believe me Randall, I have looked. I try to give these new groups or individuals the benefit of the doubt or whatever, but maybe we were spoiled by the likes of Hendrix, Zep, Beatles, Young etc. Nothing today or recently or probably never will achieve the beauty and greatness of these legends. I hope time will prove me wrong.

          • Randall

            Well excuse me, but no… you can’t be looking very hard then. You again gave a list of “classic rock” legends that will never be equaled. Well, that’s debatable… but leave that aside—what about all the great bands that existed in the 80s? The Smiths? The Cure? The original Punk bands… Talking Heads, Ramones, Blondie, Sex Pistols, The Clash, etc. etc.? What about the great bands of the 90s? Nirvana, yes, but there were many others… Apples in Stereo, Superchunk, Portishead, The Stone Roses, Blur… And today… there are all kinds of new acts trying to get heard, if you look for them. The bands of the 80s, 90s, and today didn’t achieve much–if any–mainstream success–and thus don’t get talked about as “legendary”—not because they weren’t as good as the ones in the past—but because the radio refuses to PLAY them.

        • segues

          From that 80s era I always liked (still like) Devo, They Might Be Giants, The Cars, and Talking Heads among others.

          Glad to see you back, Randall :)

    • gav

      What- did Peter Frampton drop you on your head as a small child? Sheesh! I think this era of music has as much musical and social relevance as the Doo-Wop 50’s, Motown 60’s , The 2nd British invasion of the 80’s and so on.

      But more than anything, the “classic rock” era (and up to about 1984) was the last time I remember when rock music was FUN. Now it all just seems so snotty, angry, angsty without any allowance for simple enjoyment of a happy tune. And when it IS a happy tune the song is badgered, ridiculed and beaten down.

      And though I am generally bored by the classic rock era (heard it all for too many years) on a personal level, it still has plenty of life and influence for years to come- far more than anything that’s been plugged and played since.

      • Randall

        I was a teen back when Peter Frampton was around. Plus, Frampton wasn’t allowed near me. Restraining order.

        What music era has relevance in relation to other music eras is of course to some degree a matter of taste… but I’d argue some have more of a lasting relevance than others.

        I would submit, however, that there was a LOT of music that was “fun” in the 80s, 90s, and today… but as I said earlier—people aren’t HEARING it because it’s not played on mainstream radio. That was my point. Radio is dominated by Top 40 and Classic Rock.

        I agree with some of your sentiment, but I also find that you’ve made my point for me. What you’re being presented with, in the mainstream, is bad and unlikeable. It wasn’t always so, but it’s been that way for thirty plus years now. And in a sense, that’s why Classic Rock is part of the problem—a big part—and should not be the one place that people run to.

        • Tim

          Well at least we’ve got Radiohead and The Foo Fighters.Sadly no more R.E.M.

        • mom424

          And this from a guy who loves The Smiths…..loses all credibility with me Randall. But you know this already.

          PS: It’s really great to see you in top form – whether I agree or no. Please make it more of routine and less of a novelty.

          xxxooo etc.

        • bucslim

          I didn’t really care too much for the article myself, but Frampton being dropped on Randall’s head . . . well that explains a lot. Personally, the Ohio Players weren’t dropped on my head, but that didn’t stop them from blowing my mind!

          In terms of the whole classic rock argument, admittedly I get stuck in that stuff from time to time. I have to rely on my children to keep me hip and up-to-date on what’s out there. I think Jack White can give these geezers a run for their money, I like the Killers and the Strokes.

          But right now, this moment, I’m going to put on some Floyd, Who and Doors, JUST TO PISS RANDALL OFF!

      • Eliel

        It’s called Tapping. Essentially, you are hiinttg the string down including your finger, which causes it to resonate on that annotation, it also makes a second sound of the open annotation when the finger is lifted off a certain way. Tapping allows for very quick shredding as well as wonderful pieces like this. T-cophony is one of the bests when it comes to tapping.

    • I would probably consider publishing a list about the Clash :)

      • Jimmy

        Look man, for these folks who don’t get Floyd- [email protected]# em’ You mentioned the hundreds of millions of albums sold. It obviously appealks to someone and it was a good list. I don’t click on a list if I know I’m not a fan of the subject.
        Randall should stay on his meds.

    • Tim

      Awesome to see you back Randall!

  • Alex

    Shine on you crazy diamond, started at the right time, coincides perfectly with the last fight and remaining events of the movie Snatch. Discovered that by chance about 8 years ago.

  • joe.

    i agree with Randall. theyre tired and over-exposed has-beens. there is so much undiscovered talent out there,struggling to get a break as the media is still regurgitating tripe about these and other dinosaurs. interestingly though, when i was a 1st year at high school (1990) our drama teacher put on a full length drama production of the wall. it was literally awesome. the whole school was involved at some level. all us 1st years made blank masks for our faces and took up the 1st few rows. then,on cue,we turned around to join the chorus of ‘we dont need no education’. it went down a storm. my dad was inspired to buy the album which i played to death. thats my link to the band. give others the oxygen of exposure i say.

  • D

    The Syd entries are the most interesting here to me (of which a whole list alone on him would be great), but as to all the other entries, they seem more for those that actually care 2cents about Pink Floyd… and it would be nice to know who originally came up with the dark side of the rainbow coincidence.

  • Guppy

    Interesting snippet from a father of a friend (names have been changed to protect the guilty). Told to me as truth:

    Back in the day when Floyd were seriously huge my friends father – let’s call him Martin – ingested quite a substantial amount of LSD prior to attending one of their concerts.

    As Martin was beginning to approach the peak of his illegal undertakings Pink Floyd took to the stage in a flurry of noise and pyrotechnical majesty. Martin, being high as a kite, thought that Pink Floyd had exploded on stage and ran out of the venue screaming and telling anyone and everyone in the streets about the Floyd’s untimely demise.

    Naturally, Martin was inconsolable about seeing his heros perish on stage and spent the next 3 days locked in his flat listening to their last, as he saw it, albums.

    It was only after leaving his flat days later, meeting some friends in a pub and recounting his tale of horror that a friend of his – let’s call him Steve – informed Martin that he too had attended the concert. Only Steve wasn’t tripping balls at the time and so had stayed in attendance beyond the initial bursts of flame, proceeding to enjoy the remainder of the, by Steve’s account, excellent concert.

    Martin never got the chance to see Floyd again after that (I’m not sure why) and has regretted his night of lunacy ever since.

    Unfortunately, I am no longer in contact with the friend, nor his father, to get any more details about the where’s and why’s of this tale. Having known the family as I did, I can attest to the tale’s probable truth.

  • psychosurfer

    Welcome back LV

  • Mink Lloyd

    Great list! Thank you for writing and posting.
    Such an excellent group of artists. Here’s to hoping this list spawns new fans!

  • Bernard Marx

    I agree with Johnny Rotten

  • Rick

    Absolutely fantastic list, very well done

  • Corwin

    I always wondered about the origins of the little faint dialogue pieces on DSOTM.
    “I don’t know, I was pretty drunk at the time.” Must have been a response to: “When was the last time you were violent and were you in the right?

    • Jiminut

      LOok for the Classic Albums making of video of DSOTM… There are video archives of the interviews.

  • Honestly? To say that you either like or dislike Pink Floyd is tantamount to saying you like or dislike gravity.

    Like such bands as the Beatles, the Doors, The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and Cream, Pink Floyd, like gravity, simply IS.

    That said, an analysis of what is good and bad about any of these bands is still possible, without sounding like the kind of odious troll who criticizes everything that is generally recognized as being liked, or even worse, mindlessly loathes anything that is , “too commercial”

    Music, o dwellers under the bridge, is a business, and as odious as the success of some of it’s groups and forms might be, you cannot negate success, especially the kind that has manifested itself in cold hard cash.

    To the devoted Floyd fans, i was not suggesting that Floyd, or any of the above-named bands were odious. I will not suggest what I consider to be musically odious, as that would only attract more trolls.

    That said, I believe the best work Barrett was with the group because they were weird, quirky, bizarre, goofy and strange. When he left, and subsequent albums became moody, depressing, derivative of each other and increasingly dependent on Roger Waters’ myriad traumatic experiences, there was less left to celebrate. Even Waters realised this; he left the band. No one in the band was a particularly top-shelf singer or musician, nor was anyone awful, charmingly or otherwise.

    The thing that makes post-Syd Floyd so compelling to so many fans, I think, isn’t so much the lyrics, which smack of the musings of a depressed perpetual adolescent. That can’t, in and of itself be an insult as all rock music has at least the glimmer of perpetual adolescence, whether it’s depressive, horny, rebellious or just bizarre. I think it’s the lavish arrangements of their songs and the equally lavish production of their albums which had made Floyd the phenomenon it is.

    Ginger Baker once said , and I paraphrase, that if you have a shit band with a great drummer, they come off sounding like a pretty good band. Music, after all, is about sound, and whether or not you like Floyd’s lyrical themes, the band is very-well recorded and produced and as a consequence, they sound very good.

    I think this is the secret to their success.

  • Ironman

    What is a Pink Floyd?

    • Pink Floydian Slip

      A Pink Floyd similar to a Pink Flamingo.. just different. Not to be confused with a Pink Floydingo.. that’s different too.

      • Ironman

        Lol.. :D Thanks for the clarification. Although I’m not a fan of the band I’ve always wondered why they’re so famous. I guess I’d have to listen to them because, no offense, but I’ve always thought of them as an overrated band…for instance, The Beatles…

  • jhenninger

    As a huge Floyd fan, I always thought that the Wizard of Oz synch was complete bs. It is just coincidental and makes no sense. The things that seemingly synch are a big stretch to see and leave the rest of the music with no connection at all.

    I do however, think that there is something to the 2001: A Space Odyssey synch. The last act of the movie and the song “Echoes” (off the Meddle album) are nearly identical in length (a few seconds off at most). This is a part of the movie that there is no dialogue for the music to drown-out (as it does in the Wizard of Oz). In addition, the subject matter of the movie and the style of music compliment each other well (they don’t fit at all for Wizard of Oz). Furthermore, these pieces of art were both released within a couple of years of one another (unlike Meddle and Wizard with are more than 30 years apart).

    When I watched 2001 with Echoes i noticed that the shift in colors and images on the screen coincide nearly perfectly with the shift in chords, tones and even tempo in the song.

    All in all, the 2001-Echoes synch just makes more sense and is more convincing as being intentional. I don’t see why Floyd would try to make any connection to the Wizard of Oz. Nothing in their music is anything like that movie.

  • Lifeschool

    I liked the list today; although I have to admite on seeing the title I wondered what else an author could write about a band which already has much written about it. I’m not a huge ‘fanatic’ of Pink Floyd or its music, but I really do appreciate the philosophy, sociology and cultural science studies these songs often afford. It is still very rare to come across lyrics that are not only thought provoking but also very deep on an emotional level beyond the surface riffs and chords. To me, this theme has hardly been surpassed – even today – and I find myself going back to Rush and Floyd and the heady days of the 1970’s so rediscover a time when bands and artists were more sincere about their music. Ok, so Floyd did go commercial a little bit, but they never appeared to ‘sell out’. I’m not saying Floyd was the best group in the world, but for what they tried to do – and for their time – they were (are still are) highly regarded.

    Comping Floyd to The Clash, Muse, Primal Scream or the Stone Roses is to compare apples to oranges to bananas. They are all different items which appeal to many different tastes. Yet to compare them to 911, A1, 5ive, Busted, and N*Sync is to compare a pomegranate to clinical bacterial waste – one is an odd aquired taste – the other is pure poison. Take your pick.

    I thought the list was well researched by someone who clearly knows the subject inside-out and has all the memorabilia to prove it. A bit too wordy in places and a bit dry (I was hoping for more ‘fibs’ than ‘facts’) but as I say I thought this was a good effort and worth the read. Horses for courses perhaps. Cheers.

    @ Randall – Welcome back you old grouch! :) Are you still green, fury and living in a trashcan? :lol:

  • peter8172

    Just to give you an idea as to how opulate and incredibly Large their stage show is, I used to work as a stagehand and toured the Northeast part of the U.S. One show that I worked at (along with about 100 others) was KISS. Knowing they had a large stage show, I just kept focus on my work and completed after 10 hours. KISS had 22 tractor trailers for their stage show. A guy that I worked with and a much longer tenure then I had told me, “you should have seen the show for Pink Floyd, which was held at the football venue where the New England Patriots play football. He told me it was 125 tractor trailers !!!!, over 500 workers and each we’re working around the clock at 8 hour intervals. AMAZING !! One other thing that I read in Rolling Stone magazine in regards to No.1 on the list (Dark Side / Wizard Of Oz), Nick Mason was being interviewed and was asked about the coincidential occurence. He replied that he has NEVER seen the movie at all. If you ask me ? I find that hard to believe, but who knows except for Nick.

  • Annoyed

    It’s Pink Floyd IS. It’s only one band, and you’re referring to them as a unit, so you would use the singular verb “is.” That was just bugging the crap out of me. I’m sorry.

    • Maggot

      Close, but the “rule”, if you could call it that, isn’t as narrow as you say when talking about collective nouns such as band names or sports team names. Typically the convention is – if the name is a plural word ending in a “S” sound, use “are”, as in “The Beatles ARE a great band”, or “The Rolling Stones ARE a great band”. But if it’s a singular word ending in “S” sound, then use “is”, as in “Anthrax IS a great band” or “The Clash IS a great band”, or “Kiss IS (not) a great band”. If it ends in a hard consonant, use “is” (which supports your comment), as in “Pink Floyd IS a great band”. This applies to a singular yet collective noun as well, as in “The Herd IS a great band”, or “The Band IS a great band”.

      Now, what do you do when it ends in a vowel sound? “The Who IS a great band”, or “The Who ARE a great band”? Seems like it could go either way? Maybe not…I think “is” applies: “Nirvana IS a great band”, “AC/DC IS a great band”, “U2 IS a great band”, etc. etc…

      Are there any exceptions to the above? I know the very second I push the “submit” button, I’ll probably think of one…

  • brian

    Some grammatical errors, but still the best list I’ve seen here in a long time.

  • Mindy McIndy

    Greatest band there ever was. I am going to see Roger Waters perform The Wall for the second time in June, and I cannot wait. I will be so close I get to see the sweat on his brow.

    • Ash

      Me TOO

  • Love Syd’s image on point 7

  • well that certainly cleared a few things up.

  • Shae

    I’m disappointed that (a few people may have mentioned this) the fact that a few of Pink Floyds albums (The Wall for one) are about Syd Barret…Yeah, they actually wrote a few albums worth of material just focusing on him.

  • peter8172

    WARNING : Do not listen to most any Pink Floyd album under the influence of a mind altering substance. Especially “Dark Side Of The Moon”, “Wish You Were Here, and especially “Animals” !!……..Just saying

    • Meep

      Why not?

  • petet2112

    @ Meep. You’re reply is dead on and I 100% agree. Here we’re my 3 when I was in my youth just out of high school and getting wasted. 1). Pink Floyd’s, “Dogs”, 2). The Beatles, “Revolution 9” from their “White Album” and 3). Frank Zappa’s live album, “Just Another Band From L.A.” with the song “Billy The Mountain”

    • Meep

      You still didn’t answer why not though. So…why not?

  • petet2112

    @ Meep. I’m a recovering drug and alcohol addict since November 20, 2006 after being diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2. I have not touched the stuff or anything for that matter in 5 years and 4 months. The result of my living like every night was Saturday night brought it on, along with about 7-8 other chronic disorders. Sorry that I cant come up with an answer right now because I am clean and feel great. I am on 11 different medications and see a doctor every 3 months for check ups. What’s best of all is I don’t miss it one bit anymore. Pink Floyd would certainly be my choice for getting wasted on Lysergic Dythalimide # 25 or some “Owsley” Acid. But no more. I know that I have shortened my life with my Jim Morrison type living for almost 30 years. So please, sympathize with me. I am improving upon myself.