If there is one thing that Pink Floyd is known for – in addition to its work on the frontiers of progressive rock – it’s the band’s ability to put on one hell of a show. Whether it is trippy colors or lights, animation, planes soaring above the arena before crashing, a gigantic inflatable pig floating above the audience or a gigantic wall rising from the stage, the band from London has no shortage of show-stopping gimmicks.
Now with more than five decades of amazing music and outstanding performances to their name, the band has finally concluded their music making career, with their last studio album, The Endless River, released in November 2014. The album debuted at number one in multiple countries and was well-received in multiple markets. It is no wonder that Pink Floyd tickets for their tours and other performances sold out faster than you can imagine!
Formation of the Band
Around 1964, the original members of Pink Floyd, except Syd Barrett, were all studying architecture at Regent Street Polytechnic School in London. After Barrett joined the group, they named it Pink Floyd after a blues record by artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. From then onwards, they started playing R&B based songs for their schoolmates. By 1967, their sound had developed a distinct feel – an unmistakable psychedelic sound, with long and loud compositions that had a hint of hard rock, country, folk and electronic music. It wasn’t long after this that the newly formed band became a big sensation in the underground music scene in London.
Soon, a lecturer from the London School of Economics, Peter Jenner, noticed them. Along with his business partner, Andrew King, he decided to become the manager of the group. Even though the pair had little experience in the music business, they used King’s inheritance to purchase some new instruments and equipment for the band.
With the support of King and Jenner, the band started to perform regularly at various small venues. The social connections of their managers helped them get a lot of performances in this early part of their career.
It was in 1967 that Pink Floyd began to attract the attention of the music industry and managed to get a contract with EMI, which released some of the band’s earlier music on its Columbia label. Soon, the band’s songs began to chart well in the UK, adding to their fame.
Breakthrough with The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Pink Floyd released its first album in August 1967 under the EMI-Columbia label. The album performed well and peaked at number 6 in the UK, spending 14 weeks on the charts. Pink Floyd started drawing large crowds at the local UFO Club where they had been performing for some time now. Barrett, however, was breaking down with serious LSD consumption problems, causing trouble for the band at these early stages. He started to become increasingly withdrawn and erratic, leading the band members to add another musician to the group, as a replacement for Barrett.
Gilmour and International Success
In December of 1967, the group added guitarist David Gilmour to its lineup. Even though Barrett was kept a part of the band with a decreased role, he eventually left the band when working with him became too difficult for everyone else. He formally parted ways with the group in 1968.
Atom Heart Mother
After facing a lot of difficulties in writing the lyrical content and producing the songs, Pink Floyd finally put out a hit album in October 1970, called Atom Heart Mother. Even though Roger Waters and Gilmour were both very critical of this work, with the latter even calling it “a load of rubbish”, the album became the band’s first number one album.
Soon work began on the band’s new album, The Dark Side of the Moon. The famous title is a reference to lunacy, rather than astronomy. The iconic prism design on the cover was designed by Hipgnosis and included George Hardie’s refracting prism design. The lyrical content of this album was written solely by Waters.
Released in March 1973, as an LP, The Dark Side of the Moon became an instant success throughout the country and beyond. The tracks on this LP earned a highly positive response from critics as well with Rolling Stone’s Loyd Grossman describing it as "a fine album with a textural and conceptual richness that not only invites, but demands involvement.”
The album is also one of the band’s most commercially successful works in the US, peaking at number 1 on the Billboard charts and remaining on the charts for more than fourteen years. The album is now classified as the world’s third best-selling album, and the 21st best-selling album of all time in the US.
Further albums such as Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Final Cut, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell were all massive successes, causing the band to become a household name all over the world.
Reunion and Final Album
The band reunited for the first time after 24 years, at the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park in London. Following the charity concert, rumors about an expected reunion began to circulate, though all band members denied them.
Following the deaths of Barrett and Wright in 2006 and 2008 respectively, Gilmour and Mason began working on a final album, called The Endless River. The final album was meant to be a tribute to Wright and was released in July 2014. The album became the most pre-ordered album of all time on Amazon UK and opened at number one in multiple countries across the world. The vinyl addition of the album became the fastest-selling vinyl release in the UK in 2014. Talking about this album and the band’s possible future plans, Gilmour said, "I think we have successfully commandeered the best of what there is ... It's a shame, but this is the end.”
The Musical Style of Pink Floyd
Being one of the most iconic bands of all time, Pink Floyd redefined the sound of psychedelic rock and progressive rock. The band is considered to be the first psychedelic rock group of the UK. Speaking about their early music, Rolling Stone reported that “by 1967, they had developed an unmistakably psychedelic sound, performing long, loud suitelike compositions that touched on hard rock, blues, country, folk, and electronic music."
David Gilmour’s guitar work was one of the most distinctive factors in the band’s sound, with Gilmour ranking at number 14 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
Various themes were explored in the lyrical content of the band, ranging from disillusionment, absence to exploitation, oppression, war, insanity and alienation.
In addition to the music, the overall performance structure of the band was mind-blowing, to say the least. Their live performances were some of the most lavish stage shows ever, with the band setting high standards in terms of sound quality and use of innovative sound effects.
Awards and Influences
Pink Floyd is classified as one of the most commercially successful rock bands of all time. With more than 250 million records sold all over the world, the band is without doubt one of the most influential groups of our time. They have been ranked at number 8 on MSNBC’s list for “The 10 Best Rock Bands Ever” and have been named by Q as the biggest band of all time.
The group has also won countless awards during their career. Their audio engineer James Guthrie won a Grammy Award in 1981 for his contributions to The Wall. Roger Waters grabbed the BAFTA for Best Original Song Written for a Film for “Another Brick in the Wall” from The Wall film in 1983. The band got a Grammy Award for the ‘Best Rock Instrumental Performance’ for “Marooned” in 1995 and was awarded the Polar Music Prize by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, for its contributions to the world of modern music. They were inducted in the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2010.
Pink Floyd Tour Tickets
Pink Floyd tour tickets have always been the hottest selling commodity in the music world. Fans of the band would be pleased to know the band is currently having the ‘Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains’. The exhibition previously opened at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum earlier in 2017 and is now open at Rome’s Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma (MACRO), since 19th January 2018. The exhibition is a continuing celebration of the remaining members of the band and is produced and promoted across the world by Michael Cohl of Concert Productions.