January 12, 2012

Pink Floyd Timeline


Roger WatersNick MasonRick WrightSyd BarrettDavid Gilmour
9 Sep., 194327 Jan., 194528 July, 19456 Jan., 19466 March, 1946
Bass, vocalsDrumsKeyboardsGuitar, vocalsGuitar, vocals

The band Pink Floyd is as most bands a result of several years of changes, both in crew and musical styles. In order to understand what has really happened over the years ever since their psychedellic era in the London music underground in the late 60's it's important to see the band through a historical perspective.
The ones to form the band were all born at the end of and nearly after the second World War, which in many ways should influence their music in the late 70's and early 80's. Most band members came from working class families, except Nick Mason, who were the one to later finance the recordings of Wish You Were Here. One might also tend to call the Pink Floyd a Cambridge band, as most of it's members abandoned this city for the swinging city of London. 

The year of birth of Pink Floyd was 1965. Nick Mason and Rick Wright, who both had gone to Frensham Heights and Haberdashers, met Roger Waters in an architectural course at Regent Street Polytechnic in London. They all got together and formed a band with the other musicians Clive Metcalf, Keith Noble and Juliette Gale (who later married Rick). 
The group was initially named Sigma-6, then T-Set and Abdabs (including Screaming Abdabs and Architectural Abdas). Allthough they had a fairly interesting repertoir consisting of romantic lyrics accompanied by music pieces from Tchaikovsky the group did not break through. When the Abdabs finally broke up Waters, Mason and Wright kept together. Bob Close and Syd Barrett later joined as first and second guitar, and with Waters on bass guitar, Mason on drums and Wright on keyboard the group was named the Pink Floyd Sound. The name was taken from one of Barret's recordings with blues players Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. 

The groups repertoir consisted mostly of rythm & blues, with songs like "Louie Louie" and "Roadrunner". Jazz player Bob Close finally left the group as Syd Barrett was driven more towards mystique and pop. Syd later started writing his own songs replacing their usual cover repertoir. The songs were all odd and new to the public, with somehow childish lyrics and a new sound, which attracted a small crowd every time the group held a school concert, but the small popularity around the group was not enough the members felt. 
In the spring of -66 the group was thinking of breaking up, and everybody were planning on spending their summer vacation in different locations. At what would be one of their last concerts in june -66 the group was luckily discovered by a music agent called Jenner, who felt that the group had a huge commercial potential. Jenner was very much into the music styles of the London underground and he also absorbed much of the vibrations coming from loudspeakers at hippie-gatherings all across the USA. Forming Blackhill Enterprices with Peter Jenner introduced them to a whole new set of lights and sounds. Sounds were adapted from other groups playing the London underground, and light technichians came from the U.S. and replaced their color slide light shows with oil slides projected on the stage during concert. 

The name was changed back and forth from "the Pink Floyd Sound" to "Pink Floyd" and finally ended as the last name which is still in use. The band's popularity was increasing radically with the increasing numbers of concerts, and in early spring -67 the band played as many as 20 conserts a month. The band was signed on with a record label named EMI which held their first press launch on the 1. April 1967. The group landed a recording contract with EMI in early 1967 and made the Top 20 with a brilliant debut single, "Arnold Layne," a sympathetic, comic vignette about a transvestite. The follow-up, the kaleidoscopic "See Emily Play," made the Top Ten. The debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, also released in 1967, may have been the greatest British psychedelic album other than Sgt. Pepper's. Dominated almost wholly by Barrett's songs, the album was a charming funhouse of driving, mysterious rockers ("Lucifer Sam"), odd character sketches ("The Gnome"), childhood flashbacks ("Bike," "Matilda Mother"), and freakier pieces with lengthy instrumental passages ("Astronomy Domine," "Interstellar Overdrive," "Pow R Toch") that mapped out their fascination with space travel. The record was not only like no other at the time; it was like no other that Pink Floyd would make, colored as it was by a vision that was far more humorous, pop-friendly, and light-hearted than those of their subsequent epics.

The reason Pink Floyd never made a similar album was that Piper was the only one to be recorded under Barrett's leadership. Around mid-1967, the prodigy began showing increasingly alarm signs of mental instability. Syd would go catatonic onstage, playing music that had little to do with the material, or not playing at all. An American tour had to be cut short when he was barely able to function at all, let alone play the pop star game. Dependent upon Barrett for most of their vision and material, the rest of the group were nevertheless finding him impossible to work with, live or in the studio.

Around the beginning of 1968, guitarist Dave Gilmour, a friend of the band who was also from Cambridge, was brought in as a fifth member. The idea was that Gilmour would enable the Floyd to continue as a live outfit; Barrett would still be able to write and contribute to the records. That couldn't work either, and within a few months Barrett was out of the group. Pink Floyd's management, looking at the wreckage of a band that was now without its lead guitarist, lead singer, and primary songwriter, decided to abandon the group and manage Syd as a solo act.
Such calamities would have proven insurmountable for 99 out of 100 bands in similar predicaments. Incredibly, Pink Floyd would regroup and not only maintain their popularity, but eventually become even more successful. It was early in the game yet, after all; the first album had made the British Top Ten, but the group were still virtually unknown in America, where the loss of Syd Barrett meant nothing to the media. Gilmour was an excellent guitarist, and the band proved capable of writing enough original material to generate further ambitious albums, Waters eventually emerging as the dominant composer. The 1968 follow-up to Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of Secrets, made the British Top Ten, using Barrett's vision as an obvious blueprint, but taking a more formal, somber, and quasi-classical tone, especially in the long instrumental parts. Barrett, for his part, would go on to make a couple of interesting solo records before his mental problems instigated a retreat into oblivion (see separate entry on Syd Barrett for more details).

Over the next four years, Pink Floyd would continue to polish their brand of experimenta
l rock, which married psychedelia with ever-grander arrangements on a [Wagnerian operatic scale. Hidden underneath the pulsing, reverberant organs and guitars and insistently restated themes were subtle blues and pop influences that kept the material accessible to a wide audience. Abandoning the singles market, they concentrated on album-length works, and built a huge following in the progressive rock underground with constant touring in both Europe and North America. 

While LPs like Ummagumma (divided into live recordings and experimental outings by each member of the band), Atom Heart Mother (a collaboration with composer Ron Geesin), and More...(a film soundtrack) were erratic, each contained some extremely effective music.
By the early '70s Syd Barrett was a fading or nonexistent memory for most of Pink Floyd's fans, although the group, one could argue, never did match the brilliance of that somewhat anamolous 1967 debut.

Meddle (1971) sharpened the band's 
sprawling epics into something more accessible, and polished the science-fiction ambience that the group had been exploring ever since 1968. Nothing, however, prepared Pink Floyd or their audience for the massive mainstream success of their 1973 album, Dark Side of the Moon, which made their brand of cosmic rock even more approachable with state-of-the-art production, more focused songwriting, an army of well-time stereophonic sound effects, and touches of saxophone and soulful female backup vocals.

Dark Side of the Moon finally broke the Pink Floyd as superstars in the United States, where it made #1. More astonishingly, it made them one of the biggest-selling acts of all time.

Dark Side of the Moon spent an incomprehensible 741 weeks on the Billboard album chart. Additionally, the primarily instrumental textures of the songs helped make Dark Side of the Moon easily translatable on an international level, and the record became (and still is) one of the most popular rock albums worldwide.

It was also an extremely hard act to follow, although the follow-up, Wish You Were Here (1975), also made #1, highlighted by a tribute of sorts to the long-departed Barrett, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." Dark Side of the Moon had been dominated by lyrical themes of insecurity, fear, and the cold sterility of modern life; Wish You Were Here and Animals (1977) developed these morose themes even more explicitly. By this time Waters was taking a firm hand over Pink Floyd's lyrical and musical vision, which was consolidated by The Wall (1979).

The bleak, overambitious double concept album concerned itself with the material and emotional walls modern humans build around themselves for survival. The Wall was a huge success (even by Pink Floyd's standards), in part because the music was losing some of its heavy-duty electronic textures in favor of more approachable pop elements. Although Pink Floyd had rarely even released singles since the late '60s, one of the tracks, "Another Brick in the Wall," became a transatlantic #1. The band had been launching increasingly elaborate stage shows throughout the '70s, but the touring production of The Wall, featuring a construction of an actual wall during the band's performance, was the most excessive yet.

In the 1980s, the group began to unravel. Each of the four had done some side and solo projects in the past; more troublingly, Waters was asserting control of the band's musical and lyrical identity. That wouldn't have been such a problem had The Final Cut (1983) been such an unimpressive effort, with little of the electronic innovation so typical of their previous work. Shortly afterward, the band split up--for a while. In 1986, Waters was suing Gilmour and Mason to dissolve the group's partnership (Wright had lost full membership status entirely); Waters lost, leaving a Roger-less Pink Floyd to get a Top Five album with Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987. In an irony that was nothing less than cosmic, about 20 years after Pink Floyd shed its original leader to resume its career with great commercial success, they would do the same again to his successor. Waters released ambitious solo albums to nothing more than moderate sales and attention, while he watched his former colleagues (with Wright back in tow) rescale the charts.

The band spent three weeks rehearsing in a hangar at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, California, before opening on 29 March 1994 in Miami with an almost identical crew to that used for their Momentary Lapse of Reason tour. They played a mixture of Pink Floyd favourites, but later changed their setlist to include The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.. The band also renewed their acquaintance with Peter Wynne Willson. Waters declined the band's invitation to join them as the tour reached Europe, later expressing his annoyance that some Pink Floyd songs were again being performed in large venues. A 1,200 capacity stand collapsed at Earls Court during the European leg of the tour, but with no serious injuries, and the performance was rescheduled.

The tour ended on 29 October and was the group's final tour. A live album Pulse and a concert video, also called Pulse, were released in 1995. This would also be the last appearance of the band before the one-off reunion in 2005 during Live 8 and their performances of "Fat Old Sun" and "The Great Gig in the Sky" at the funeral of their manager Steve O'Rourke .

In the summer of 1996, reported Syd Barrett was lying ill in a Cambridge hospital, unable or unwilling to regulate his diabetic condition.

Resurgence, Grief & Renowned (Present)

Saturday 2 July 2005 the classic line-up of Pink Floyd performed together on stage for the first time in over 24 years at the Live 8concert. The reunion had been arranged by Live 8 organiser Bob Geldof who had called Mason, earlier in the year to discuss the band reuniting for the event. Geldof asked Gilmour, who turned down the offer, and then asked Mason to intercede on his behalf. Mason declined, but contacted Waters who was immediately enthusiastic. Waters then called Geldof to discuss the event, which was at that time only a month away. About two weeks later Waters called Gilmour, their first conversation for about two years, and the next day the latter agreed. Wright was contacted and immediately agreed. Statements were issued to the press which stressed the unimportance of the band's problems, compared to the context of the Live 8 event. The set-list was planned at the Connaught Hotel in London, followed by three days of rehearsals at Black Island Studios. The sessions were troublesome, with minor disagreements over the style and pace of the songs they were practising. Waters wanted to use the occasion to expand the concepts he had designed, whereas Gilmour wanted to perform the songs in exactly the way the audience would expect. The final set-list and running order was decided on the eve of the concert. Gilmour and Waters shared lead vocals.
At the start of their performance, during "Wish You Were Here", Waters told the audience: "It's actually quite emotional, standing up here with these three guys after all these years, standing to be counted with the rest of you. Anyway, we're doing this for everyone who's not here, and particularly of course for Syd." At the end of their performance Gilmour thanked the audience and started to walk off the stage but Waters called him back and the band shared a group hug. Images of that hug were a favourite amongst Sunday newspapers after Live 8.Two years after their one-off reunion Waters remarked, "I don't think any of us came out of the years from 1985 with any credit ... It was a bad, negative time. And I regret my part in that negativity." In the week following their performance there was a revival of interest in Pink Floyd. According to HMV, in the week following sales of Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd rose by 1,343 per cent, while Amazon.com reported a significant increase in sales of The Wall. Gilmour subsequently declared that he would donate his share of profits from this sales boom to charity and urged other artists and record companies profiting from Live 8 to do the same.

After the show Gilmour confirmed that he and Waters were on "pretty amicable terms" The band turned down a £136 million (then about $250 million) deal for a final tour. Waters did not rule out further performances, but only for a special occasion. In a 2006 interview with La Repubblica Gilmour stated that he wished to focus on solo projects and his family, and that his appearance at Live 8 was to help reconcile his differences with Waters.In a 2006 interview Mason stated that Pink Floyd would be willing to perform for a concert that would support peace between Israel and Palestine. Speaking of Pink Floyd's future Gilmour stated in 2006 "who knows". David Gilmour released his third solo record, On an Island, on 6 March 2006—his 60th birthday. He began a tour of small concert venues in Europe, Canada and the US, with contributions from Wright and other musicians from the post-Waters Pink Floyd tours. Mason joined Gilmour and Wright for the final night of the tour and played on selected dates on Waters' 2006 Europe and U.S. tour "The Dark Side of the Moon Live". Gilmour, Wright, and Mason's encore performances of "Wish You Were Here" and "Comfortably Numb" marked the first performance by Pink Floyd since Live 8.

Syd Barrett died on 7 July 2006 at his home in Cambridgeshire aged 60.He was interred at Cambridge Crematorium on 18 July 2006. No Pink Floyd members attended. After Barrett's death Wright said, "The band are very naturally upset and sad to hear of Syd Barrett's death. Syd was the guiding light of the early band line-up and leaves a legacy which continues to inspire." Although Barrett had faded into obscurity over the previous 35 years, he was lauded in the national press for his contributions to music. He left over £1.25M in his will, to be divided among his immediate family, and some of his possessions and artwork were auctioned.

In September 2005 Waters released
Ça Ira, an opera in three acts to a French libretto, based on the historical subject of the French Revolution. Reviews were complimentary; Rolling Stone wrote, "the opera does reflect some of the man's long-term obsessions with war and peace, love and loss". 2007 saw the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd's signing to EMI and the 40th anniversary of the release of their debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. 2007 saw the release of Oh, by the Way, a limited edition box set containing all of their studio albums.

On 10 May 2007 Waters and Pink Floyd performed separately at the Syd Barrett tribute concert at the Barbican Centre in London. The band performed some of Barrett's hits, such as "Bike" and "Arnold Layne", at the event which was organised by Joe Boyd and Nick Laird-Clowes. In a January 2007 interview Waters suggested he had become more open to a Pink Floyd reunion: "I would have no problem if the rest of them wanted to get together. It wouldn’t even have to be to save the world. It could be just because it would be fun. And people would love it." Later that year Gilmour stated: "I can’t see why I would want to be going back to that old thing. It’s very retrogressive. I want to look forward, and looking back isn’t my joy."In a May 2008 interview for BBC 6Music, David Gilmour hinted that he would
be in favour of another one-off show, but ruled out a full tour. Speaking to Associated Press to promote the release of his new live album, David Gilmour stated that a reunion would not happen. Gilmour said: "The rehearsals were less enjoyable. The rehearsals convinced me it wasn't something I wanted to be doing a lot of ... There have been all sorts of farewell moments in people's lives and careers which they have then rescinded, but I think I can fairly categorically say that there won't be a tour or an album again that I take part in. It isn't to do with animosity or anything like that. It's just that I've done that. I've been there, I've done it."

Richard Wright died of cancer on 15 September 2008 aged 65 He was praised by his surviving band mates for his influence on the overall sound of Pink Floyd.
On 10 July 2010 Roger Waters and David Gilmour performed together at a charity event for the Hoping Foundation. The event took place at Kiddington Hall in Oxfordshire, England. The pair played to an audience of approximately 200. The event raised money for Palestinian children in order to give them a better life. Gilmour played this event in 2009 when he performed alongside Kate Moss. In return for Waters' appearance at the event, Gilmour agreed to perform "Comfortably Numb" at one of Waters' upcoming performances of The Wall.

On 4 January 2011 Pink Floyd signed a five year record deal with EMI, ending the legal dispute regarding how their material is distributed in the era of individual track downloads. They defended their vision to keep their albums as a cohesive unit and not just individual tracks.
On 12 May 2011 at the O2 Arena in London, David Gilmour made good on his promise to play "Comfortably Numb" at one of Roger Waters' performances of The Wall. Gilmour sang the first and second chorus, accidentally juxtaposing the last few lines with the second, and played the two guitar solos. After the wall fell down near the end of the show Waters said to the crowd, "We've done it today. So please welcome David Gilmour! By a strange and happy extraordinary coincidence, there is another remnant of our old band here tonight. Please welcome, Mr. Nick Mason!" Gilmour and Mason, with respectively a mandolin and a tambourine, joined Waters and the rest of his band for "Outside The Wall", effectively representing a full reunion of all living Pink Floyd members.It was the first time since Live 8 that the three members shared the same stage and the first time that the line-up from the album The Final Cut appeared in concert.
On 26 September 2011, Pink Floyd and EMI launched an exhaustive re-release campaign under the title Why Pink Floyd...? which reissues the band's back catalogue in newlyremastered versions, including special "Immersion" multi-disc multi-format editions. All albums have been remastered by James Guthrie, the co-producer of The Wall.


Influence and awards

Pink Floyd's classic line-up. Clockwise (from top left): Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick MasoPink Floyd are one of the most commercially successful and influential rock music groups of all time. They have sold over 200 million albums worldwide, including 74.5 million certified units in the United States of which 37.2 million albums have been sold since 1991.
Pink Floyd ranked number 51 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time", with David Gilmour ranking 14th in the greatest guitarists list. Largely due to the success of their albums the band was ranked No. 3 in Colin Larkin’s the 'Top 50 Artists Of All Time', a ranking based on the cumulative votes for each artist’s albums that appear in the All Time Top 1000 Albums.
The Sunday Times Rich List Music Millionaires 2011 ranked Waters at No.22 with an estimated wealth of £105m, Gilmour at No.27 with £85m and Mason at No.41 with £50m. Numerous artists have been influenced by Pink Floyd's work: David Bowie has called Syd Barrett a major inspiration; A teenage The Edge(of U2 fame) bought his first delay pedal after hearing the opening to Animals; and the Pet Shop Boys paid homage to The Wall during a performance in Boston; Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery has cited Wish You Were Here as a major inspiration; and many other bands, such as the Foo Fighters, Dream Theater, My Chemical Romance, Porcupine Tree, The Mars Volta, Tool, Queensryche, 30 Seconds to Mars,Scissor Sisters, Rush, Radiohead, Gorillaz, Mudvayne, Nine Inch Nails, Primus and the Smashing Pumpkins, some of whom have recorded Pink Floyd covers, have been influenced by them. As mentioned above, in 1976 the band negatively became an influence on the English Punk Rock movement, and even on the recruitment of Johnny Rotten to the Sex Pistols, being one of those groups against which the movement was a furious stylistic reaction.
Floyd played an unwitting role in Chelsea bondage-boutique owner Malcolm McLaren's discovery of the notorious Johnny Rotten ...[McLaren recruited] the Sex Pistols' lead singer largely on the strength of Rotten's "sadistically mutilated" Pink Floyd T-shirt with the words "I hate" scribbled in a Biro trembling with furious loathing above the Dodo's moniker.

Pink Floyd have been nominated for and won multiple awards. Technical awards include a "Best Engineered Non-Classical Album" Grammy in 1980 for The Wall and BAFTAsaward for 'Best Original Song' (awarded to Waters) and 'Best Sound' (awarded to James Guthrie, Eddy Joseph, Clive Winter, Graham Hartstone and Nicholas Le Messurier) in 1982 for The Wall film. A Grammy came to them in 1995 for "Rock Instrumental Performance" on "Marooned". In 2008 Pink Floyd were awarded the Polar Music Prize for their contribution to contemporary music; Waters and Mason accepted the prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 17 January 1996, the UK Music Hall of Fame on 16 November 2005 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2010.

Live performances

Main article: Pink Floyd live performances

Pink Floyd are regarded as pioneers in the live music experience and were renowned for their lavish stage shows, in which the performers themselves were almost secondary. Pink Floyd also set high standards in sound quality, making use of innovative sound effects and quadraphonic speaker systems. From their earliest days they were well known for their use of visual effects, which accompanied the psychedelic rock pieces performed at venues such as the UFO Club in London. The quality of their live performances, even when pre-recorded, was considered by the band to be extremely important; they boycotted the press release of The Dark Side of the Moon as they felt presenting the album through a poor-quality PA system was not good enough. The album had been composed and refined mostly while the band toured the UK, Japan, North America, and Europe. An inflatable floating pig named "Algie" became the inspiration for a number of pig themes used throughout the "In the Flesh Tour", which began in Dortmund and continued through Europe to the UK, and then the US.
Although Pink Floyd were experienced live performers the behaviour of the audience on their "In the Flesh" tour, and the sizes of the venues they played, were a powerful influence on their concept album The Wall. The subsequent "The Wall Tour" featured a 40 feet (12 m) high wall, built from cardboard bricks, constructed between the band and the audience. Animations were projected onto the wall, and gaps allowed the audience to view various scenes in the story. Several characters from the story were realised as giant inflatables. One of the more notable elements of the tour was the performance of "Comfortably Numb". While Waters sang his opening verse, Gilmour waited for his cue on top of the wall in darkness. When it came, bright blue and white lights would suddenly illuminate him. Gilmour stood on a flight case on castors, a dangerous set-up supported from behind by a technician, both supported by a tall hydraulic platform.

In 1987 Pink Floyd embarked on their A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour. Starting in Ottawa on 9 September they spent about two years touring the US, Japan, Europe, and Central Asia. In Venice, Italy, the band played to an audience of 200,000 fans at the Piazza San Marco. The resulting storm of protest over the city's lack of toilet provision, first aid, and accommodation resulted in the resignation of Mayor Antonio Casellati and his government. At the end of the tour Pink Floyd released Delicate Sound of Thunder, and in 1989 released the Delicate Sound of Thunder concert video.

During the band's "Division Bell" tour, an unidentified person using the name Publius posted a message on an internet newsgroup, inviting fans to solve a riddle supposedly concealed in the new album. The veracity of the user was demonstrated when white lights in front of the stage at the Pink Floyd concert in East Rutherford spelled out the words Enigma Publius. During a televised concert at Earls Court in October 1994 the word enigma was projected in large letters on to the backdrop of the stage. Mason later acknowledged that the Publius Enigma did exist, and that it had been instigated by the record company rather than the band. As of 2012 the puzzle remains unsolved.


Main article: Pink Floyd discography
Date of releaseTitleBillboard peakRIAA cert.Label
4 August 1967The Piper at the Gates of Dawn131Columbia/EMI (UK)
Tower/Capitol (US)
28 June 1968A Saucerful of Secrets
13 June 1969Soundtrack from the Film More153
7 November 1969Ummagumma74PlatinumHarvest/EMI
2 October 1970Atom Heart Mother55Gold
5 November 1971Meddle702x Platinum
2 June 1972Obscured by Clouds46Gold
23 March 1973The Dark Side of the Moon115x Platinum
12 September 1975Wish You Were Here16× PlatinumHarvest/EMI
21 January 1977Animals34x Platinum
30 November 1979The Wall123x Platinum
21 March 1983The Final Cut62x Platinum
7 September 1987A Momentary Lapse of Reason34x PlatinumEMI
28 March 1994The Division Bell13x Platinum

Band members Former members
Syd Barrett – lead vocals, lead guitar (1965–1968)
David Gilmour – lead vocals, lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, special effects (December 1967–1996, 2005)
Bob Klose – guitars (1965)
Nick Mason – drums, percussion, programming (1965–1996, 2005)
Roger Waters – lead vocals, bass guitar, guitars, percussion, programming (1965–1985, 2005)
Richard Wright – keyboards, vocals (occasionally lead), organ, piano, synthesisers, mellotron (1965–1979, 1987–1996, 2005)



More detailed information and others about Pink Floyd in http://www.pinkfloyd.com/

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