Thursday, April 5, 2007

Pink Floyd

@ wiki
Pink Floyd are an English rock band that earned recognition for their psychedelic rock music, and, as they evolved, for their avant-garde progressive rock music. Pink Floyd are known for philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative cover art, and elaborate live shows which required the assistance of additional musicians. One of rock music's most successful and influential acts, the group has sold over 250 million albums worldwide, and an estimated 73.5 million albums in the United States alone.

Pink Floyd had moderate success in the late 1960s as a psychedelic band led by the late Syd Barrett, however, Barrett's erratic behaviour forced his colleagues to eventually replace him with guitarist and singer David Gilmour. After Barrett's departure, singer and bass player Roger Waters gradually became the band's leader and main songwriter. Under Waters, the band recorded several concept albums, achieving worldwide success with Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), and The Wall (1979). In 1985, Waters declared Pink Floyd defunct, but the remaining members, led by Gilmour, continued recording and touring under the name, enjoying commercial success and eventually reaching a settlement with Waters.

Waters performed with the band for the first time in 24 years, on July 2, 2005 at the London Live 8 concert, playing to Pink Floyd's biggest audience ever. In early February 2006, Gilmour gave an interview to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, indicating that the band would no longer tour or produce any new material, although various members still plan on producing solo or collaborative material. The possibility of an appearance similar to Live 8 has not been ruled out by either Mason, Gilmour, or Waters.

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@ Allmusic by Richie Unterberger
Pink Floyd is the premier space rock band. Since the mid-'60s, their music relentlessly tinkered with electronics and all manner of special effects to push pop formats to their outer limits. At the same time they wrestled with lyrical themes and concepts of such massive scale that their music has taken on almost classical, operatic quality, in both sound and words. Despite their astral image, the group was brought down to earth in the 1980s by decidedly mundane power struggles over leadership and, ultimately, ownership of the band's very name. After that time, they were little more than a dinosaur act, capable of filling stadiums and topping the charts, but offering little more than a spectacular recreation of their most successful formulas. Their latter-day staleness cannot disguise the fact that, for the first decade or so of their existence, they were one of the most innovative groups around, in concert and (especially) in the studio.

While Pink Floyd are mostly known for their grandiose concept albums of the 1970s, they started as a very different sort of psychedelic band. Soon after they first began playing together in the mid-'60s, they fell firmly under the leadership of lead guitarist Syd Barrett, the gifted genius who would write and sing most of their early material. The Cambridge native shared the stage with Roger Waters (bass), Rick Wright (keyboards), and Nick Mason (drums). The name Pink Floyd, seemingly so far-out, was actually derived from the first names of two ancient bluesmen (Pink Anderson and Floyd Council). And at first, Pink Floyd were much more conventional than the act into which they would evolve, concentrating on the rock and R&B material that were so common to the repertoires of mid-'60s British bands........

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@ Artist Direct
From a premier psychedelic act in the sixties to one of rock and roll's biggest groups in the seventies and eighties, Pink Floyd has enjoyed a phenomenally successful career. The band created one of the music industry's biggest-selling recordings of all time in 1973's Dark Side of the Moon (twenty-five million sold worldwide at last count, and it stayed a record 566 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 chart). Yet Dark Side was but one of several No. 1 records in the U.K. and U.S. for Pink Floyd, as the group successfully merged progressive, ambient, and blues influences into its own highly distinctive blend of futuristic rock.

Formed in 1964 at a London architectural school by bassist-songwriter Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason, and keyboardist Richard Wright, Pink Floyd didn't really develop a vision or a substantial reputation until guitarist Syd Barrett joined later that year and renamed the fledgling group the Pink Floyd Sound after two American bluesmen (Pink Anderson and Floyd Council). Barrett--a legendary pop persona and one of rock and roll's true iconoclasts--lasted only four years with the band, but he provided Pink Floyd with much of its early psychedelic material and unpredictable image.

Early Barrett-penned singles like "See Emily Play" and "Arnold Layne" were short, intriguing slices of archetypal psychedelia, while longer, more whimsical pieces like the classic "Interstellar Overdrive" became the norm as the band's career progressed, and drugs captured Barrett's imagination. Barrett departed Pink Floyd in 1968 with drug problems after writing most of their noteworthy debut, Piper at the Gates of Dawn. He was replaced by guitarist David Gilmour, who would grow to become a formidable stylist in his own right. Sadly, following a 1974 solo album, Barrett fell almost completely out of sight, and was reported to be institutionalized.

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@ Progarchives
Pink Floyd can be considered as one of the leading bands in progressive rock from the seventies, together with Yes and Genesis. Their first line-up consisted of guitarist Syd Barrett, bassist-singer Roger Waters (who left the band in 1983), drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Rick Wright. Their early material was mostly written and sung by Barrett, at that time the central figure of the group. The first album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" of 1967 contains come catchy pop songs, together with more experimental and longer instrumental pieces. They even reached the Top-20 in England with the song "Arnold Layne". In the beginning of 1968, guitarist David Gilmour joined the band to replace Barrett in live performances. But Barrett had to leave the group because of mental instability.

Pink Floyd became even more successful, whilst playing psychedelic progressive rock with a touch of classical music. 1971 saw the release of "Meddle" (a clever mix of short mellow jazzy tunes and lengthy experimentaltracks) and the soundtrack for the film "La Vallée" ("Obscured By Clouds") was released in 1972. But their most successful album was definitely "Dark Side Of The Moon" (1973), cosmic rock produced by an excellent sound engineer Alan Parsons. This album is a milestone in progressive rock, great songwriting with lots of special effects and including saxophone and great female vocals. The successor "Wish You Were Here" included the well-known epic song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". "Animals" is a dark and underrated gem, featuring scathing lyrical accounts on humanity.

End 70's, Roger Waters influenced both musical and lyrical the albums of the band. In 1979, they released "The Wall", a double album rock opera. After the release of "The Final Cut" in 1983 the band split up for a while. Pink Floyd released a few albums afterwards without Roger Waters, but they never reached their previous status. "Echoes", The Best of Pink Floyd, was released in 2001. To celebrate this 30th anniversary a new version of "Dark Side Of The Moon" has been released.

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@ Rolling Stone
One of the most popular and successful rock bands of all time, Pink Floyd is actually a brand name linking three different eras. The '60s Floyd, led by singer/songwriter Syd Barrett, was a pioneering psychedelic band from Cambridge, England, recording a handful of hits before Barrett succumbed to massive acid damage. The '70s Floyd, led by bassist Roger Waters and guitarist David Gilmour, recorded the high-tech art-rock classics Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall, memorized in their entirety by generations of stoners, who used the original LP covers as spliff-rolling tray tables. Since Waters split bitterly in the early '80s, Pink Floyd has carried on as an oldies act, occasionally releasing new albums that nobody listens to.

Much to Pink Floyd's chagrin, and occasionally its indignation, the group has never escaped the shadow of Syd Barrett, the original "lunatic on the grass." He founded the band as a conspicuously blues-free U.K. echo of San Francisco psychedelia, as in the guitar/organ jams "Astronomy Domine" and "Interstellar Overdrive"; his Floyd recorded a couple of hits ("See Emily Play," "Arnold Layne") and one classic album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Syd had a taste for whimsy, leaning to lyrics about cats and gnomes, but his daft wit and eerie melodies made the album a rock version of the Mad Hatter's tea party. In "Flaming," "Matilda Mother," "Lucifer Sam," and "Bike," his voice and guitar teeter between euphoria and mental collapse. "Astronomy Domine" is a thunderstorm of stargazing guitars and scary keyboards, full of druggy optimism but exploring the "icy waters underground" of the psyche.

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@ Classicbands
Pink Floyd rose from the ashes of an otherwise forgotten London band, Sigma 6, in 1965. Syd Barrett, Rick Wright, Roger Waters, and Nick Mason toyed with various names, including "The Meggadeaths", "the T-Set" and "the Screaming Abdabs", before settling on "The Pink Floyd Sound", inspired by American blues artists, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Within weeks, the quartet had booked studio time at the "Thompson Private Recording Company", sited in the basement of a house. Here they recorded two songs, 'Lucy Leave', a Barrett original, blending pop and R&B, and a version of Slim Harpo's 'I'm A King Bee'. Although rudimentary, both tracks indicate a defined sense of purpose. Ditching the now-superfluous 'Sound' suffix, Pink Floyd attracted notoriety as part of the counter-culture centered in London.

Evolving quickly, Pink Floyd blossomed under Barrett's inspired leadership into a pre-eminent psychedelic pop band. Indeed, fuelled by Barrett's frequent adventures with LSD, the music soared into entirely uncharted sonic territory, combining the new pallet of distortion guitar with classically influenced organ and driving percussion. Lyrically, the songs painted a bemused and whimsical landscape of interstellar travel and childhood daydreams, a terrain perfectly suited as a soundtrack for countless thousands of neophyte acid trippers.

On June 16th, 1967, the band released a Syd Barrett composed single called "See Emily Play", which found moderate chart success in the U.K. The song became the center of some dissatisfaction among fans however, when Pink Floyd refused to perform it in concert.

Barrett's fading sanity, eroded by his passion for LSD, soon began to take its toll. His indulgence in hallucinogenic drugs exacerbated his problems and he often proved near-comatose on-stage and incoherent with interviewers. A third single, 'Apples And Oranges', enthralled but jarred in equal measures, while further recordings, 'Vegetable Man' and 'Scream Thy Last Scream', were deemed unsuitable for release. His colleagues, fearful for their friend and sensing a possible end to the band, brought Dave Gilmour into the line-up in February 1968. Plans for Barrett to maintain a backroom role, writing for the group but not touring, came to naught and his departure was announced the following April. He subsequently followed with a short-lived, solo career.

Now without their principle songwriter, the re-aligned Pink Floyd completed their second album, "Saucerful Of Secrets". It featured one Barrett original, the harrowing 'Jugband Blues', as well as two songs destined to become an integral part of their live concerts, the title track itself and 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun'. Although the album sold well, both singles flopped.

Each successive album, supported by regular concert tours built Pink Floyd's stature and broadened their epic ambition. The release of "Dark Side of the Moon" in 1973 was a thunderclap across all of pop music. A tour-de-force of production, arrangement, song-writing and timing, Dark Side rose to #1 on the Billboard chart and stayed there for the next 12 years, carving Pink Floyd a legend that remains untouched to date and will likely remain indefinitely.

But what do you do after you conquer the world? The albums "Wish You Were Here" and "Animals", sold millions of records and were supported by record-breaking, over-the-top tours. But it wasn't until "The Wall", Roger Waters dismal vision of modern life and alienation, that Pink Floyd would again break new ground. Waters' influence, though darker and more earth-bound, also yielded material better suited to the singles format; "Another Brick In The Wall" became a #1 hit single in both the US and UK. The touring production for The Wall involved the construction of a huge wall between the band and the audience during the show and remains to this day one of the most ambitious road shows ever toured.

Such success did nothing to ease Pink Floyd's internal hostility. Long-standing feuds between Waters and Wright - the latter almost left the group with Barrett - resulted in the bass player demanding Wright's departure. He left in 1979. By the early 80s, relations within the band had not improved. Friction over financial matters and composing credits tore at the heart of the band. 'Because we haven't finished with each other yet,' was Mason's caustic reply to a question as to why Pink Floyd were still together and, to the surprise of many, another album did appear in 1983. "The Final Cut" was a stark, humourless set which Waters totally dominated. It comprised songs written for The Wall, but rejected by the group. Mason's contributions were negligible, Gilmour showed little interest - eventually asking that his production credit be removed - and Pink Floyd's fragmentation was evident to all. One single, 'Not Now John', did reach the UK Top 30, but by the end of the year, knives were drawn and an acrimonious parting ensued.

In 1987, Mason and Gilmour decided to resume work together under the Pink Floyd banner; Rick Wright also returned, albeit as a salaried member. Waters instigated an injunction, which was over-ruled, allowing temporary use of the 'Pink Floyd' name.

The cryptically titled "A Momentary Lapse Of Reason", although tentative in places, sounded more like a Pink Floyd album than its sombre predecessor. The band relied heavily on session musicians, including Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music. A massive world tour began in September that year, culminating 12 months and 200 concerts later. A live set, "Delicate Sound Of Thunder", followed in its wake but, more importantly, the rigours of touring rekindled Wright and Mason's confidence.

Meanwhile, Waters led a new band in an extravagant adaptation of "The Wall", performed live on the remains of the Berlin Wall in 1990. Despite international television coverage, the show failed to re-ignite his fortunes.

In 1994, his former colleagues released "The Division Bell", an accomplished set which may yet enter the Pink Floyd lexicon as one of their finest achievements. 'It sounds more like a genuine Pink Floyd album than anything since Wish You Were Here', Gilmour later stated, much to the relief of fans, critics and the group themselves. With Wright a full-time member again and Mason on sparkling form, the group embarked on another lengthy tour, judiciously balancing old and new material. The group also showcased their most spectacular lightshow to date during these performances.

Critical praise was effusive, confirming the group had survived the loss of yet another nominally 'crucial' member. The album, "Pulse" cashed in on the success of the tours and was a perfectly recorded live album. The packaging featured a flashing LED, which was supposed to last (in flashing mode) for 6 months. The legacy of those 'faceless' record sleeves is irrefutable; Pink Floyd's music is somehow greater than the individuals creating it.

Into the new century, Pink Floyd, although not officially disbanded, had not been heard from in quite a while. Los Angeles-based radio station KLOS reported in January of 2000, that "rumour has it that David Gilmour is working on assembling the players for a Pink Floyd tour", but it never happened.

It wasn't until June, 2005, that word finally came that Pink Floyd would again take to the stage. They were slated to perform with Elton John, Madonna, Paul McCartney and others at an anti-poverty concert in London, England on July 2.

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Syd Barrett (1946-2006)
Founding frontman and songwriter for Pink Floyd dead at 60

Andy Greene @ Rolling Stone

Get our 1971 interview with Syd Barrett, by Mick Rock, and hear a playlist of Barrett's best tracks, selected by David Fricke.

Syd Barrett, the original frontman of Pink Floyd who wrote much of their early material, died July 7th in Cambridge, England, from complications related to diabetes. He was sixty.

Born Roger Keith Barrett in Cambridge, the son of a renowned pathologist, Barrett changed his name to Syd at age fifteen in honor of local drummer Sid Barrett. In 1965 he joined up with bassist Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Richard Wright in a new band Barrett dubbed Pink Floyd -- in honor of blues artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Barrett quickly became the group's primary songwriter and guitarist, composing their breakthrough singles "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play."

In 1967, the band released its first LP, the psychedelic masterpiece The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Ten out of the eleven songs were written by Barrett.

Pink Floyd Lands the Cover! @ Rolling Stone

The Magic and Majesty of Pink Floyd
The ugly truths and bitter rivalries behind rock's most visionary band

By Mikal Gilmore @ Rolling Stone
>> You've heard the legend: Cue up "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wizard of Oz," and trippiness ensues. Now we've set it up so you can judge for yourself. Watch the four creepiest sync-ups right now!

>> This is an excerpt from the new issue of "Rolling Stone," on newsstands until April 5th, 2007.

There was no reason these men should ever stand together again. Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright -- the four musicians who carried Pink Floyd forward after Syd Barrett fell from reason in 1968 -- had not appeared on a stage together since June 1981, and it hardly seemed possible they ever would again. Waters and Gilmour had famously shown contempt for each other for a quarter-century -- each felt the other had tried to dishonor his life's work and hinder his future. After Waters started a solo career in 1984, he went on to disparage his former bandmates. Guitarist and singer Gilmour, he said, "doesn't have any ideas," and drummer Mason "can't play" (Waters had long before thrown keyboardist Wright out of the band). Gilmour gave as good as he got. When he took his version of the band on tour, he appropriated Waters' most famous prop, a gigantic pig balloon, and attached testicles to it, which some read as a commentary on how he viewed the band's former bassist. ("So they put balls on my pig," Waters said. "Fuck them.")

@ The 9th National Jazz and Blues Festival.

8th August 1969.
Plumpton Race Track.
Streat. East Sussex.

Great sounding tape again, the same taper as the King Crimson show of the 9th perhaps ? The Set The Controls of the Heart of the Sun is up tempo and certainly gets to the heart of the matter in double quick time . Much gong smashing at the beginning and nice Wright keyboard stuff.

Cymbaline is up and down , quiet interludes and then big bass bombs from Waters and power chords from Gilmore , which are contrasted by the pastoral sections with dreamy little fills from Wright, and limpid bass drops from Waters, which seem to drift around for ever, before once again getting into high times with Cymbaline for the songs chorus. A track to trip off into the galaxy and have fun with and which deserves better applause then it gets.

Waters then introduces The Journey, which he says they have been playing around the country on tour and which will be their last song for the night. The track announces itself to the sounds of seagulls and goes along predictably until it suddenly metamorphoses into Careful with that Axe Eugene , which is slightly distorted on my tape for about a minute until the sound level drops. At the same time the song itself also changes to its quieter portion , complete with wind effects . Overall this is a pretty short version. Without stopping the band then moves into The Narrow Way and the tape volume drops again to compensate for the increase in volume.

Nice guitar from Gilmour on this number. My tape cuts there as I have it back to back with Crimson and there wasn't enough room to fit them both on a C90.

The madcap who named Pink Floyd
@ Rolling Stone, Dec 1971, Mick Rock

London: If you tend to believe what you hear, rather than what is, Syd Barrett is either dead, behind bars, or a vegetable. He is in fact alive and as confusing as ever, in the town where he was born, Cambridge.

In 1966-67, Barrett was playing lead guitar with Pink Floyd. He'd named the band and was writing most of their music, including the only two hit singles they ever had. His eerie electronic guitar style and gnome-like stage presence made him an authentic cult figure for the nascent London underground, then just beginning to gather at the UFO club and the Roundhouse. The Floyd were a house band and the music went on into the wee hours. Cambridge is an hour's train ride from London. Syd doesn't see many people these days. Visiting him is like intruding into a very private world. 'I'm disappearing', he says, 'avoiding most things.' He seems very tense, ill at ease. Hollow-cheeked and pale, his eyes reflect a permanent state of shock. He has a ghostly beauty which one normally associates with poets of old. His hair is short now, uncombed, the wavy locks gone. The velvet pants and new green snake skin boots show some attachment to the way it used to be. 'I'm treading the backward path,' he smiles. 'Mostly, I just waste my time.' He walks a lot. 'Eight miles a day,' he says. 'It's bound to show. But I don't know how.'

'I'm sorry I can't speak very coherently,' he says, 'It's rather difficult to think of anybody being really interested in me. But you know, man, I am totally together. I even think I should be.' Occasionally, Syd responds directly to a question. Mostly his answers are fragmented, a stream of consciousness (the words of James Joyce's poem 'Golden Hair' are in one of his songs). 'I'm full of dust and guitars,' he says. 'The only work I've done the last two years is interviews. I'm very good at it.' In fact, Syd has made three albums in that time, produced by the Floyd. 'The Madcap Laughs', his second, he says, was pretty good: 'Like a painting as big as the cellar.' Before the Floyd got off the ground, Barrett attended art school. He still paints. Sometimes crazy jungles of thick blobs. Sometimes simple linear pieces. His favourite is a white semi-circle on a white canvas.

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