Listening to Pink Floyd’s three decade spanning, 14 song catalog, two things are clear; One: they were more than a tad bit pretentious at the beginning. With droning organ solos and album titles like A Saucerful of Secrets and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, you can almost imagine that scene from Spinal Tap with the little people dancing around the replica of Stonehenge actually came from the acid-soaked minds of these guys; and Two: damn did they evolve into a truly amazing band.
With Syd Barrett out of the band in 1968, and Roger Water and David Gilmore established as the group’s anchors it still took another few years and albums under their belts before the Pink Floyd’s sound made the move from odd ball hippie ramblings to tight, concentrated atmospheric rock that would go on to justifiably solidify the band’s rep as musical geniuses. You can really hear the change between 1969’s Ummagumma (I’m not making this stuff up folks) and 1970’s Atom Heart Mother. By 1973, with the release of Dark Side of the Moon, the band hit a major high point that lasted up until their last release, 1994’s The Division Bell.
It’s important to note that Waters bolted from the band in the mid 80’s and although he was arguably the most important contributor to the band’s best works (Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, The Wall and Animals), Pink Floyd, led exclusively by longtime guitarist Gilmour at this point, managed to turn in a few more truly great record before calling it a day and deflating the massive pig (Google it). The band had a one-off reunion at Live Aid 8 in 2005, but unlike the never-ending tours by The Who and Kiss, it’s a safe bet that these just released, re-mastered albums by Pink Floyd is the closest you’ll get to experiencing band’s brilliance from here on out.
As a society, we love to constantly cite bands for their undeniable influence and talent, only to sober up a few years later and realize that maybe the crown was placed on the wrong head (remember Jamiroquai?) But in the case of Pink Floyd, the band truly deserves the adulation they receive from all corners; from stoners to soccer moms, skinny-jeaned hipsters to the pleated Dockers crowd and everyone in between. Even former Sex Pistols front man John Lydon, who infamously sported a homemade “I Hate Pink Floyd” t-shirt, admitted a few years ago “I never hated Pink Floyd… How can you hate Pink Floyd? It’s like saying ‘Kill the fluffy bunnies.’ “