Pink Floyd Biography (BBC)
Pink Floyd were formed in London in 1965 by two Cambridge school friends - Syd Barrett and Roger Waters. They drafted in drummer Nick Mason and keyboard player Rick Wright, took their name from bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council and set about finding gigs.
Having gathered attention by playing trance-like music at psychedelic clubs like UFO in 1967, they entered a phase of being pop stars, with Barrett’s beatific and whimsical observations forming the basis of their singles Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, and the album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. But Barrett, who was beginning to show signs of mental illness, left the group shortly after the album was released. His replacement was another Cambridge friend, David Gilmour. Subsequent album releases - A Saucerful of Secrets, Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother, Meddle - saw the band’s music change again, incorporating sonorous, spacey instrumentals with sharp lyrics by Roger Waters, much beloved of listeners to John Peel’s Radio 1 show.
This approach led to the creation of Dark Side of the Moon album in 1973. The songs are sardonic and sharp, cut through with sonic experimentation, and it sold millions. It has gone on to achieve classic status, been the subject of BBC documentaries on TV and radio, and even a BBC Radio 2 play, Darkside, written by Sir Tom Stoppard.
The follow-ups, Wish You Were Here (containing Shine On You Crazy Diamond, their tribute to Syd Barrett) and Animals, consolidated their success and prompted Roger Waters to write 1978’s bleak masterpiece about fame, The Wall. The album tells the story of a jaded rock star, with an elaborate stage set including a huge wall across the stage. The album prompted a feature film starring Bob Geldof.
There was one further album, The Final Cut, before Waters left in 1983, announcing that the band was finished. Gilmour, Mason and Wright didn’t agree, and put out A Momentary Lapse of Reason four years later. The album did well, and was followed by The Division Bell in 1994, after which there was a long pause, before the reunion of Waters with the rest of the group for 2005’s Live 8 concert. It was the last time all four would appear on a stage together. Rick Wright died in 2008, but his keyboard work could be heard on a final (non-Waters) Pink Floyd album, 2014’s The Endless River.
Pink Floyd Biography (Wikipedia)
Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London in 1965. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. Distinguished by their use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, extended compositions, and elaborate live shows, they are one of the most commercially successful and influential groups in popular music history.
Pink Floyd were founded by students Syd Barrett on guitar and lead vocals, Nick Mason on drums, Roger Waters on bass and vocals, and Richard Wright on keyboards and vocals. They gained popularity performing in London's underground music scene during the late 1960s, and under Barrett's leadership released two charting singles and a successful debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967). Guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour joined in December 1967; Barrett left in April 1968 due to deteriorating mental health. Waters became the band's primary lyricist and conceptual leader, devising the concepts behind their albums The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), The Wall (1979) and The Final Cut (1983). The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall became two of the best-selling albums of all time.
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Johnnie Walker visits the Pink Floyd exhibition at The V&A
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