If you love Rock n’ Roll, then you must appreciate the work that the band Pink Floyd has done in the music industry since its inception in 1965. Pink Floyd is one of the all-time great Rock n’ Roll bands and they rank 7th in the list of all-time best-selling music artists, with over 250 million records sold over the years.
This amazing band was formed in London by four students namely Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright, although David Gilmour joined them in 1967 as the fifth member. Despite starting in the underground music scene, the band was well received the world over, mostly because of its psychedelic and progressive kind of music. Pink Floyd remained distinct from all other performers on any stage thanks to their sonic experimentation, their philosophical lyrics, their exciting live performances and their extended compositions.
Pink Floyd released a successful album under Syd Barrett’s leadership before he left the band in 1968 owing to deteriorating health, less than a year after David Gilmour joined. Richard Wright left the band in 1979 and then Roger Waters in 1985, but Wright later re-joined the band. In 2005, the three members of Pink Floyd, together with Roger Waters, performed at the global ‘Live 8’ event, although their reunion was just for that event.
The band is part of the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has been since 1996, as well as being in the UK Music Hall of Fame, which they were inducted into in 2005.
Here is a bit more information that you should know about Pink Floyd.
15. Pink Floyd was once called The Tea Set
Pink Floyd are one of the most popular and accomplished English rock bands of all time, and the mention of their name was enough to drive their fans crazy. However, this amazing band did not start playing under this great name; they actually picked up and dropped several names over the course of their existence.
Some of the interesting and rib-cracking names include The Tea Set, Meggadeaths, Sigma 6, The Screaming Abdabs, The Abdabs, Leonard’s Lodgers and even The Pink Floyd Sound. It is a good thing that the name they stuck with was the coolest name because it would have been really weird referring to them as The Tea Set.
14. Pink Floyd is a name derived from Barrett’s favourite bluesmen from North Carolina
In addition to creativity and thinking outside the box, coming up with the name of a rock band is highly dependent on the inspiration the leader gets when thinking about the band. Since Syd Barrett was the founder and principal songwriter, guitarist and lead singer for the group, he is the one who gave the band the name Pink Floyd.
Syd’s inspiration for the name came from the names of two of his favourite American blues singers; Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, both from South Carolina. Sadly, these two Americans died within a year of Pink Floyd releasing one of their most successful albums Wish You Were Here.
13. Pink Floyd’s first album was recorded directly adjacent to where The Beatles were recording
The Beatles are legends whose music will live on many decades after the remaining former members are dead and gone. The reason for having the Beatles on this list is because of an amazing coincidence that happened between them and Pink Floyd.
In 1967 when Pink Floyd was recording The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, which was their first album; the Beatles were at the same time recording Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band highlight “Lovely Rita” adjacent to them. This coincidence happened at Abbey Road, and if these two groups would have come up with a remarkable song if they would have recorded even one together.
12. Pink Floyd is the first rock band to use live surround sound at a concert
In the 1960s, surround sound was not as common at concerts as it is today, but the revolution began with Pink Floyd in 1967. The group achieved this aspect of live surround sound using the Azimuth Coordinator quadrophonic sound system – a major advancement to what there otherwise was at the time.
Using joysticks to send sound out through 270 degrees, Richard Wright ensured that the environment in which the band was playing sounded futuristic. Five years later, in 1972, Pink Floyd upgraded their systems to give out a 360-degree quality sound – a major upgrade to what they pioneered a few years back.
11. Pink Floyd was the first band to headline a free gig in Hyde Park
The very first Hyde Park free concert – held on June 29th of 1968 – was a wonderful gig where several amazing performers graced the event; Pink Floyd was among them. The above premier event was one of the most memorable of all time, owing to the fact that it was the beginning of great things to come.
Some other performers that day included Tyrannosaurus Rex, Jethro Tull and Roy Harper, among other artists. Nick Mason, Pink Floyd’s drummer, described the concert as a very important event that reminded them of their true roots in addition to having a relaxing picnic feel to it.
10. Nick Mason’s vocals hardly appear on any song in the band’s entire catalogue
Since Nick Mason was Pink Floyd’s longest running member and the band’s drummer, you would expect that his voice would have been in a good number of the songs, right? Well, such a thought would be misguided, because his vocals appear very few times in the band’s entire collection of songs on all of their albums.
Nick Mason speaks a single line in “One of These Days” from Corporal Clegg, and very short parts in “Learning to Fly” and “Signs of Life” from A Momentary Lapse of Reason. Mason must have only concentrated on his strength throughout his music career, although he did lead vocals on two tracks that were never released.
9. One in 12 people in the ENTIRE WORLD owns a copy of The Dark Side of the Moon
The Dark Side of the Moon is one of the albums that make Pink Floyd stand out from all other bands in the world, owing to its success in the market. This album is the all-time third best-selling album – it set the Guinness World Record for the longest stay in America’s Billboard chart, because it remained on the chart for 15 years, despite only topping the charts for just a week.
Owing to the success of this album, Pink Floyd became one of Britain’s most successful rock groups of all time. Furthermore, some sources claim that so many copies of the album were sold such that at least one in 12 people in the entire world have owned or own a copy.
8. Members of Pink Floyd would frequent clubs
As you would expect from any rock band, the members of Pink Floyd were frequent visitors in clubs, although what they were doing in the clubs is a bit different from what all other people go to clubs do. February of 1966 was the beginning of Pink Floyd’s Spontaneous Underground shows, and at the time, the band spent a lot of time performing at the Marquee club.
The band was also frequently at the UFO club in London and Roundhouse in Camden where the Pink Floyd sound was always evident. The UFO club was, in many respects, what the Cavern was to the Beatles, because at the club is where Pink Floyd developed its music and attracted their first audiences.
7. Members of Pink Floyd hadn’t even tried whiskey until 1967
Rock music has long been associated with drinking, violence, drug abuse, the occult and many other things that society perceives as evil, especially from a religious adult’s perspective. Therefore, it would not be surprising to come across rock bands and musicians that are addicts, or to be tempted to think that the members of Pink Floyd were into such habits as drinking and drugs.
However, it will surprise you to know that, apart from Syd Barrett’s occasional experimentation with acid, the other members of the band had not even tasted whiskey before 1967, when Janis Joplin passed them a few drinks when they were on tour that year.
6. Pink Floyd used actual kitchen recordings in one of their songs
Pink Floyd hardly went about creating their music and performing in a conventional way, which is one of the reasons they got so popular over the years. In their album, Atom Heart Mother, which Pink Floyd released in 1970, we see Alan Stiles preparing breakfast in Mason’s kitchen in the song “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast”.
The interesting thing here is that the audio for that recording is what is used in the final track. The track has interesting voices and sound effects since we can hear the actual sound of the stove, the milk pouring, the bacon frying, the munching of cereal, the sipping of tea, the washing of the utensils and water dripping from the faucet.
5. Pink Floyd once hired a person specifically to say no over and over again to interview requests
A rock band or any other artist out there who needs people to purchase his, her or their music will always want to be in the media, and these people will more often than not look for every opportunity to appear for an interview. Pink Floyd, on the other hand, did not want anything to do with interviews or the media, because they wanted to remain mysterious and private.
While on tour in the United States, the band hired someone to specifically say no to requests from talk shows and interview requests. However, the more they avoided the media and tried to lead secret lives, the more the media wanted to know about them and write their stories.
4. Pink Floyd concerts always incorporated film, projected onto a backdrop and onto the band
For every serious band or musician out there, every stage performance should be outstanding and memorable. Pink Floyd always invested a lot of time and money into their performances and concerts – an aspect that made them different from many other bands at the time. Pink Floyd concerts always incorporated film and projections onto the backdrops, they used oil and either slide light shows, used moving projected images, and incorporated ever improving theatrics on stage.
The band also used pyrotechnics and props that would increase with every other show, together with many other features. The whole performance on stage, at the background and around the stage would all sync together into an amazing performance.
3. A 1,200-seat stand collapsed as they took the stage in 1994. Miraculously, no one was seriously hurt
The worst thing that could happen at an event is not the sound failing or the audience getting bored, it is the audience getting hurt as a result of a preventable error. On October 12, 1994, Pink Floyd was performing at Earls Court in London when a temporary stand that was holding approximately 1,200 people collapsed injuring at least 90 people.
Safety inspectors said that the collapse was as a result of human error, but luckily no one was seriously injured. The members of Pink Floyd were very upset and angry over the incident, because fans had come out in huge numbers to see them, only to have to leave the concert to go to the hospital.
2. Pink Floyd named an album after a woman with a pacemaker
Pink Floyd was surely one of the most unique rock bands of all time, owing to how they did everything. A great example of their uniqueness is naming their album after Atom Heart Mother, which was a headline in a newspaper about a pregnant woman who had been the first ever recipient of an atomic pacemaker.
The band members spotted the headline as they were about to go on air at the John Peel radio show to debut their new album and then adopted the name immediately. Furthermore, the cover photo of the album was anything but conventional, since they snapped a photo of a cow they came across in Essex, England, and used it as the cover photo of the album without even writing the band’s name on it. Atom Heart Mother shot up to number one in Britain soon after its release.
1. David Gilmour put an end to Pink Floyd
Like many rock bands that rise to stardom and enjoy the fame and success that comes with it, a time comes for the band members to go their different ways and dissolve the group. Pink Floyd started developing problems in the early 1980s, leading to the departure of Rodger Waters in 1985, and seemingly began lacking in creativity, especially after the release of The Division Bell in 1994 and later on, a period of few outstanding performances from the group.
Richard Wright died in 2008, and this is what most people think led to the death of the group, but according to David Gilmour, the performance at ‘Live 8’ was the last reunion for the band and there were no more plans for another one.