Posts Tagged ‘Nick Mason’

The Later Years box set

Later this year, Pink Floyd will release “The Later Years”. Due November 29th, the massive box set collects the iconic rockers’ post-Roger Waters work, including rare live recordings and previously unreleased tracks. As the title suggests, this version of High Hopes is an early version of the song and features an electric guitar solo and slightly different lyrics.

Today we get to hear one of those unreleased offerings, as Pink Floyd have shared an early demo version of “High Hopes” off 1994’sThe Division Bell. “High Hopes” originally closed out The Division Bell, and actually features the title lyric. This newly revealed demo version of the track has some distinct differences in the level mixing, with David Gilmour’s vocals riding high alongside the ringing piano. Most notably, drums appear to be almost entirely absent, interestingly giving it a heavier, more ominous feel.

Among the other highlights featured The Later Years is a new version of 1987’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason. It utilizes freshly restored keyboard tracks from Richard Wright and completely new drums from Nick Mason. The box is filled out with a number of live albums, concert films, and more previously unreleased rarities.

Included on ‘The Later Years’, a 16-disc box set (5xCDs, 6xBlu-Rays, 5xDVDs) covering the material created by David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright from 1987 onwards, with unreleased audio and audiovisual material, including the 1989 Venice and 1990 Knebworth concerts, as well as updated, restored and remixed audio and video, 2 x 7” singles, 60-page hardback Photo Book, 40-page hardback Credits Book, Lyrics Book, 3 x reproduction tour programmes, card envelope containing collectible memorabilia, plus Blu-rays and DVDs in individual wallets. Release date is 29th November 2019, with a 12-track ‘Highlights’ package (2-LP or 1-CD) available on the same day.

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Warner Music Group in association with Pink Floyd Records is releasing a 25th anniversary edition of ‘The Division Bell’, the band’s 1994 multi-million selling album that included the Grammy Award winning track “Marooned” (Best Rock Instrumental Performance) on June 7th. This Limited Edition 25th anniversary edition will be available on translucent blue vinyl (echoing the original limited blue vinyl release in 1994).

‘The Division Bell’ was the last studio album to be recorded by the band: David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright. The album debuted at No 1 in the UK, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, staying at the top of the US charts for 4 weeks; it also went to No 1 in six other countries and, to date, has reached total album sales of over 12 million. The album was recorded by the band at Astoria and Britannia Row Studios with the majority of the lyrics being written by Polly Samson and David Gilmour. ‘The Division Bell’ contains Pink Floyd’s only Grammy-awarded track, the instrumental ‘Marooned’. A video for Marooned was made for the 20th Anniversary Immersion release of the album and has now had almost 25 million views

‘The Division Bell’ sleeve artwork was the first Pink Floyd image to be featured on a Royal Mail stamp, in an issue of ‘Classic Album Covers’. The iconic album artwork of the two huge metal heads in profile talking to each other (and in turn, creating a third forward-facing head) was provided by long-time Floyd collaborator Storm Thorgerson.

The album was remastered for the release in 2014 by James Guthrie, Joel Plante and Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab from the original analogue tapes. Bob Ezrin and David Gilmour produced the original album, with orchestral arrangements by the late Michael Kamen.

Track Listing:
Disc 1 Side 1
Cluster One (Richard Wright, David Gilmour)
What Do You Want From Me (Music: David Gilmour, Richard Wright – Lyrics: Polly Samson, David Gilmour)
Poles Apart (Music: David Gilmour – Lyrics: Polly Samson, David Gilmour, Nick Laird-Clowes)

Disc 1 Side 2
Marooned (Richard Wright, David Gilmour)
A Great Day For Freedom (Music: David Gilmour – Lyrics: Polly Samson , David Gilmour)
Wearing The Inside Out (Music: Richard Wright – Lyrics: Anthony Moore)

Disc 2 Side 1
Take It Back (Music: David Gilmour, Bob Ezrin – Lyrics: Polly Samson, David Gilmour, Nick Laird-Clowes)
Coming Back To Life (David Gilmour)
Keep Talking (Music: David Gilmour, Richard Wright – Lyrics: Polly Samson, David Gilmour)

Disc 2 Side 2
Lost For Words (Music: David Gilmour – Lyrics: Polly Samson, David Gilmour)
High Hopes (Music: David Gilmour – Lyrics: Polly Samson, David Gilmour)

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The legendary Pink Floyd concert at the First International Pop Festival in Rome in May 1968. This well recorded performance captures Roger Waters, Dave Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason in their very early Post-Barrett era; the time when the band was busy trying to reinvent themselves after the crucial split with genius Syd Barrett. This was even before the release of their second album, when Waters and Co. really began to extend the classic three / four minute song format towards longer and more open sound forms. A marvelous track list including seminal compositions and psychedelic manifestos such as Astronomy Domine, Set The Control for the Heart of the Sun andInterstellar Overdrive all great sparks for visionary instrumental progressions and far out improvisations. The album ends with an excerpt of Roger Water’s voice from a radio interview broadcast.

Side A:
1. Astronomy Domine
2. Interstellar Overdrive
Side B:
1. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
2. Roger Waters Interview

LP – Limited Edition of 500 Copies on Green Vinyl.

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Pink Floyd released Animals on 23rd January 1977. Although it was the seminal band’s tenth studio album, it remains one of their most famous for its Orwellian socio-political critique, an iconic cover and early prog inclinations.

Animals also marked the beginnings of dissent within the band over a chief songwriter. Three years after it’s release keyboardist Richard Wright would leave the band and The Wall would be hit shelves, casting a gargantuan shadow across the humble forerunner. Steeped in woeful political distaste and harder rock breakdowns, Animals rates as highly as Pink Floyd’s most well-known albums for more intrepid fans, but it’s recording process was one of the shakiest they ever accomplished. Here’s five things you didn’t know about the birthday record and it’s mascot, Algie the pig.

Animals is a concept album, based on the flaws of capitalism. Various castes in society are represented as different types of animals (Dogs as the businessmen, sheep as the powerless pawns, and pigs as the ruthless leaders). Although this album mainly attacks capitalism, several components are similar to George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm”: In the book various animals (mainly pigs, sheep, dogs, etc.) represent different roles assumed by individuals in a communist society.

A bracing reinvention of the Orwell theme from ‘Animal Farm,’ ‘Animals’ found Pink Floyd pushing back – and hard – against the looming, punk-driven idea that they had grown soft into middle age. At the time, this searing commentary on societal decay in the late-’70s couldn’t have seemed more different from its predecessors. Today, it’s clear that ‘Animals’ represents the first stirrings of Waters‘ more political bent (one that would dominate his recordings past his association with the group he co-founded), even as it finds Richard Wright making his last important contributions of the Waters era.

Behind Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall towers Animals, as the third iconic Pink Floyd record but feels more important than ever. Oddly the cover’s concept was conceived by Roger Waters himself. This being said, Floyd approached long time collaborators Hipgnosis to make the final product happen.

While Hipgnosis were originally approached by Floyd in 1968 to design the artwork for their second album A Saucerful of Secrets, it was the album cover for Dark Side of The Moon in 1973 which shot the design group to international fame. Hipgnosis’ surreal photographic style used old school film manipulation techniques such as multiple exposures, mechanical cut-and-pasting and general darkroom wizardry, which served as a precursor to modern, digital forms of photo manipulation. Manual photoshop, if you will.

Animals’ best track “Dogs” delivers even more incredible guitar work from Dave Gilmour, who makes his instrument cry and cackle, moan and mock, surge and slice. But this 17-minute leviathan is a brilliant collaboration between Floyd’s members – not just co-writers Waters and Gilmour (who each sing lead for a while), but also Mason (who pounds and cracks his way through the song’s changing tempos) and Wright (who plays no less than five different keyboards to bring a variety of textures to the epic). As lyricist, Waters is in full-on deride mode, as he writes about Machiavellian menace, but the writing is so crisp and clever (“And it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around”), the scoffing becomes sport.

The Pig, While Hipgnosis may have been a pioneer of collage techniques, there was no photo trickery involved in the cover of AnimalsFloyd commissioned German company Ballon Fabrik and Australian artist Jeffrey Shaw to collaborate on the construction of the 12 meter long piggy, which was manoeuvred into position on December 2nd 1966.

The pig has gone on to serve as a motif for political vitriol, English rock and everything Pink Floyd. It appeared in the backdrop of a shot in Alfonso Cuarón’s thriller Children of Men which imagines a dystopian England similar to Animals’ vision of the future . Danny Boyle made a more lighthearted reference to the porcine balloon in his short Isle of Wonder for London’s 2012 Olympics.

The Studio, Previously to 1975, Floyd had struck a deal with EMI which allowed them unlimited recording time in return for reduced earnings from sales. When this deal expired the band bought a three story block in North London and made it their own. Britannia Row Studios was largely comprised of church halls, and Animals was the first album recorded there after it’s renovation. Pink Floyd went on to record The Wall in the same location, the echoing school chorus of “Another Brick In The Wall” owing it’s sound to the towering studio.

While singer and guitarist David Gilmour is only credited for the music of one track, the epic “Dogs” (previously known as “You Gotta Be Crazy”), this song and “Raving and Drooling”, a Waters song which would later become “Sheep”, were created at the same time as “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, and originally destined for Wish You Were Here. Their creation process was similar to the method the band used during the late sixties and early seventies. They would adapt and expand their compositions by performing them live, and later in the studio find a more coherent form and concept for the whole album, with Waters writing the lyrics. Animals was the last Pink Floyd album created in this way, as the subsequent The Wall and The Final Cut, were primarily conceived by Waters and worked out in the studio with some input from Gilmour. Although Rick Wright admittedly did not contribute much compositionally, he had some influence on the arrangement of the songs, including solo playing on “Dogs” and “Sheep”. As with “Welcome to the Machine” and “Wish You Were Here” , Waters wrote “Pigs on the Wing” and “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” to tie together the other songs in the album’s concept. His dominance in the writing credits and the discrepancy with the actual creation process is directly related to the increasing tensions within the band.

Animals began to be formulated 20 years after George Orwell published the canonical Animal Farm, a political allegory of the Russian revolution and Stalinist era of the soviet union.

Pink Floyd’s album borrowed heavily from the ruleset of Orwell’s fable, and each song’s title represents an element, or animal, within the capitalist British regime of their time.

The album is bookended by parts one and two of Pigs on the Wing, a short intro and outro on a record otherwise dominated by immensely long jams. Dogs represents the businessmen, deceptive, vicious but ultimately lonely. The narrative within the lyrics tells of two dogs, one younger and one older, coming to realise the doomed reality of their own existence, while the young is encouraged to break the mould and dissent from his fate.

As with Animal Farm, Pigs (Three Different Ones) represents the flawed, gluttonous personalities which sit at the top of society’s ladder despite their horrific traits. The Sheep suffer under the power of pigs and dogs, mindlessly following suit with the herd around them. Parts 1 and 2 were linked by a guitar bridge performed by Snowy White (subsequently available on White’s 1996 album “Goldtop: Groups & Sessions”),

The anti-establishmentarian soul of Animals has never been as relevant as it is today. If you need some proof, here’s a video Roger Waters posted which depicts him playing Pigslive to 300,000 screaming fans in Mexico City:

For many fans, Animals represents the turning point at which Roger Waters took the reigns of Pink Floyd. The entire album save for Dogs, which was co-written by David Gilmour, was written by Waters.

Speaking to Mojo Magazine in 2008, Gilmour had the following to say.

Roger’s thing is to dominate, but I am happy to stand up for myself and argue vociferously as to the merits of different pieces of music, which is what I did on Animals. I didn’t feel remotely squeezed out of that album. Ninety per cent of the song “Dogs” was mine. That song was almost the whole of one side, so that’s half of Animals.”

Animals was almost a fully-realised artistic vision for Waters, but the control didn’t end there. When work on the album ceased, Waters pitched the concept of The Wall to his band mates, who were initially cautious but agreed to follow Waters once again.

In 1985 Waters left Pink Floyd, eventually calling them a “spent force” and splitting the band in their separate directions.

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The giant, helium-filled pig seen on the cover was actually flown over Battersea Power Station for the photo shoot (under the direction of Storm Thorgerson). On the first day of shooting, a marksman was on hand in case the pig broke free. However, according to Thorgerson, this was considered an “insurance problem”, and he was not hired for the second day of shooting. Ironically, on December 3rd, 1976, during the second day, a gust of wind broke the pig free of its moorings. Because there was no one to shoot the pig down, it sailed away into the morning sky. A passenger plane reported seeing the pig, causing all the flights at London Heathrow Airport to be delayed. A police helicopter was sent up to track the pig, but was forced to return after following the pig to an altitude of 5,000 feet. A warning was sent out to pilots that a giant, flying pink pig was loose in the area. The CAA lost radar contact on the pig near Chatham in Kent, at a height of 18,000 feet and flying East. It finally landed in a farmer’s field, without much damage.

Scream Thy Last Scream” is a song by Pink Floyd, written by frontman Syd Barrett and scheduled to be the band’s next single after “See Emily Play” , Its first official release was on The Early Years 1965-1972 box set in November 2016. The song features several changes in tempo, a sped-up double-tracked vocal part by Barrett, while drummer Nick Mason simultaneously sings the normal part (one of only 4 moments he ever sang on a Floyd record),a range of bells, crowd noises, an instrumental section that continually increases in speed featuring wah-wah guitar solos and keyboards, and surreal lyrics. Barrett is only clearly audible on one line in the song, “she’ll be scrubbing bubbles on all fours”

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“Scream Thy Last Scream’ has lead vocals by Nick Mason,” noted David Gilmour in 2002. “We did actually perform that one a few times in my very early years with Pink Floyd. I don’t know if they ‘Scream Thy Last Scream’ and ‘Vegetable Man’ were ever finally mixed.

  • Nick Mason – lead vocals, drums
  • Syd Barrett – guitar, sped-up double-tracked vocals, vocals (one line)
  • Richard Wright – keyboards
  • Roger Waters – bass guitar

Wish You Were Here is the ninth studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd. It was first released on 12th September 1975 in the United Kingdom by Harvest Records.

It debuted at No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, and has been tabbed by both Gilmour and Wright as their favourite Pink Floyd album. Still, ‘Wish You Were Here’ was no ‘Dark Side of the Moon’; it never could be. And that – as much as anything seems to have relegated this 1975 follow-up to a life of perpetual underrated status. It’s a pity. There isn’t a more conceptually concise Pink Floyd album, nor one as musically inviting. Even as Dave Gilmour and, in particular, Richard Wright pushed the work into deeper, more progressive musical themes, they helped fashion the last truly collaborative studio project between Roger Waters and his increasingly disgruntled bandmates.

Inspired by material the group composed while performing in Europe, During 1974, Pink Floyd sketched out three new compositions, “Raving and Drooling”, “You Gotta Be Crazy” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”. These songs were performed during a series of concerts in France and England, the band’s first tour since 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon.

The album was recorded in numerous sessions at Abbey Road Studios in London. Two of its songs criticise the music business, another expresses alienation, and the multi-part composition “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a tribute to Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, who had left seven years earlier due to mental health problems. The band used studio effects and synthesizers, and brought in guest singers: Roy Harper, who provided the lead vocals on “Have a Cigar”, and Venetta Fields, who added backing vocals to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”. After several weeks, Waters began to visualise another concept. The three new compositions from 1974’s tour were at least a starting point for a new album, and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” seemed a reasonable choice as a centrepiece for the new work. Mostly an instrumental twenty-minute-plus piece similar to “Echoes”, the opening four-note guitar phrase reminded Waters of the lingering ghost of former band-member Syd Barrett. Gilmour had composed the phrase entirely by accident, but was encouraged by Waters‘ positive response. Waters wanted to split “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, and sandwich two new songs between its two halves.

The album begins with a long instrumental preamble and segues into the lyrics for “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, a tribute to Syd Barrett, whose mental breakdown had forced him to leave the group seven years earlier. Barrett is fondly recalled with lines such as “Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun” and “You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon”.

Wish You Were Here is also a critique of the music business. “Shine On” crosses seamlessly into “Welcome to the Machine”, a song that begins with an opening door (described by Waters as a symbol of musical discovery and progress betrayed by a music industry more interested in greed and success) and ends with a party, the latter epitomising “the lack of contact and real feelings between people”. Similarly, “Have a Cigar” scorns record industry “fat-cats” with the lyrics repeating a stream of cliches heard by rising new-comers in the industry, and including the question “by the way, which one’s Pink?” asked of the band on at least one occasion. The lyrics of the next song, “Wish You Were Here”, relate both to Barrett’s condition, and to the dichotomy of Waters’ character, with greed and ambition battling with compassion and idealism. The album closes with a reprise of “Shine On” and further instrumental excursions.

Wish You Were Here topped the charts in the United Kingdom and the United States, and Harvest Records‘ parent company EMI was unable to print enough copies to meet demand. Although it initially received mixed reviews from critics, the album went on to receive critical acclaim,

Everyone wanted a piece of Pink Floyd after ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ sold a gazillion copies , especially the shady music-industry types Waters never trusted. ‘Have a Cigar’ is all about those clueless suits. “By the way, which one’s Pink?” sings guest Roy Harper, a British folkie, summing up the era.

‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’ was originally released as a two-song, eight-part, 26-minute suite on the band’s follow-up to the mega-popular ‘The Dark Side of the Moon.’ And like several Floyd projects from the period, the song references former bandmate Syd Barrett’s descent into mental illness. It’s an epic piece, the bookends to one of the group’s most durable LPs.

The members of Pink Floyd were still friendly with Syd Barrett after he left the group in 1968. He even showed up in the studio, somewhat unrecognizable, while they were recording of their ninth album. ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ touched on the mental illness that crippled Barrett, but ‘Wish You Were Here’ was an album-length tribute to both his genius and madness. The title track ties Barrett’s plight to Waters‘ own distancing from society.

The band played much of Wish You Were Here on 5th July 1975 at the Knebworth music festival. Roy Harper, was also performing at the same event, on discovering that his stage costume was missing, proceeded to destroy one of Pink Floyd’s vans, injuring himself in the process. This delayed the normal setup procedure of the band’s sound system. As a pair of World War II Spitfire aircraft had been booked to fly over the crowd during their entrance, the band were not able to delay their set. The result was that a power supply ssue pushed Wright’s keyboards completely out of tune, damaging the band’s performance. At one point he left the stage, but the band were able to continue with a less sensitive keyboard, a piano and a simpler light show. Following a brief intermission, they returned to perform The Dark Side of the Moon, but critics displeased about being denied access backstage savaged the performance

The Wish You Were Here – Immersion Box Set includes the new stereo digital remaster (2011) by James Guthrie on CD, an unreleased 5.1 Surround Mix (2009) by James Guthrie on DVD and Blu-ray, a Quad Mix (which had been released only on vinyl LP and 8-track tape) on DVD, as well as the original stereo mix (1975) on DVD and Blu-ray

Pink Floyd

  • David Gilmour – vocals, guitars, lap steel guitar, EMS Synthi AKS, tape effects, additional bass
  • Roger Waters – vocals, bass guitar, EMS VCS 3, guitar, tape effects
  • Nick Mason – drums, percussion, tape effects
  • Richard Wright – Hammond C-3 organ, ARP String Ensemble V, Minimoog, Steinway piano, EMS VCS 3, Hohner Clavinet D6, Wurlitzer EP-200 electric piano, backing vocals

Additional musicians

  • Dick Parry – tenor and baritone saxophone on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”
  • Roy Harper – lead vocals on “Have a Cigar”
  • Venetta Fields – backing vocals on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”
  • Carlena Williams – backing vocals on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”

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Following up a hit record is no mean feat for any band, and even under the best of circumstances, Pink Floyd might have found it all but impossible to come back from the massive success of Dark Side of the Moon.

Unfortunately, when the band returned to the studio in January 1975, conditions were far from favorable in the band for a variety of reasons — not the least of which was the fact that, as they adjusted to life after a worldwide smash record, the members of the band found themselves more disoriented than fulfilled. Compounding the problem was a growing disconnection between bassist Roger Waters and the rest of Pink Floyd, particularly guitarist David Gilmour.

“We were all having to assess what we were in this business for,” Gilmour said in the 2012 documentary The Story of Wish You Were Here. “Whether we were artists or businessmen. Having achieved the sort of success and money out of it all, it could fulfill anyone’s wildest teenage dreams, why we would still continue to want to do it? Roger has said he thinks we may have been finished at that point, and he may have been right.”

 

It also didn’t help that, as drummer Nick Mason said in a separate interview filmed for the movie, the band didn’t exactly have a ton of material stored up for their next album. After spending years rotating through the industry’s tour-and-record cycle, they hunkered down on their Dark Side follow-up basically bereft of material — and some of the songs they had written ended up being thrown out of the running order.

The songs in question, “Raving and Drooling” and “You Gotta Be Crazy,” were excised from the album after a fight between Waters and Gilmour, prompted because Waters felt the songs they had didn’t hold together as a cohesive whole. In his view, it was better to expand one particular track — titled “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” — into a bookend that essentially enveloped the rest of the record. As Waters later revealed, the piece was largely inspired by his heartbreak over the self-imposed exile of the band’s founding guitarist and first leader, Syd Barrett.

“I’ve never read an intelligent piece on Syd Barrett in any magazine, never,” Waters is quoted as saying in Mark Blake’s book Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd. “I wrote and rewrote and rewrote and rewrote that lyric because I wanted it to be as close as possible to what I felt. There’s a truthful feeling in that piece. That sort of indefinable, inevitable melancholy about the disappearance of Syd. He’s withdrawn so far away that he’s no longer there.”

Waters’ feelings regarding Barrett’s absence could have been applied, to some degree, to the rest of Pink Floyd. “No one was really looking anyone in the eye,” he complained. “It was all very mechanical.”

“It was disengagement,” concurred Gilmour. “It was not being willing to apply yourself sufficiently. Lots of moments when any one of us might have been much more interested in thinking about what we were doing that weekend […] The concentrated activity was rather diluted, and I’m sure for a very pushing, driving sort of person like Roger, it was more frustrating than it was for anyone else — although it was very frustrating for all of us, I suspect.”

Thus preoccupied by feelings of alienation and disillusionment, the members of the group — primarily pulled along by Waters — cobbled together a set of songs built around absence, starting with the withdrawal of their friend Barrett and spilling over into the creeping disappointment they’d found with one another and in the industry they’d enriched with Dark Side of the Moon. In the midst of the recording, Barrett himself made an unannounced appearance in the studio, looking so different that the members of the band initially failed to recognize him.

Drummer Nick Mason, for one, later remembered Barrett looking like a “large, fat bloke with a shaven head, wearing a decrepit old tan mac and carrying a plastic shopping bag,” while keyboard player Rick Wright recalled a sad denouement to their former leader’s surprise visit: “Syd stood up and said, ‘Right, when do I put the guitar on?’ And, of course, he didn’t have a guitar with him. We said, ‘Sorry, Syd, the guitar’s all done.’”

Such was the band’s disconnect that one song on the album, titled “Have a Cigar,” ultimately ended up being sung by someone outside the lineup. After Waters and Gilmour tried and failed to lend the requisite degree of vocal snark to their sarcastic ode to music business cynicism, they ended up turning to singer songwriter Roy Harper, who was sharing the studio with them and happened to be in the room one day while they struggled to find a solution.

Roger can write songs but he’s never going to be in the top one hundred as a rock singer,” observed Harper. “He tries hard, he’s a good lad. Anyway, neither of them could get up there. I just stood at the back, leaning against a machine and laughing. I said, ‘I’ll sing it for you,’ and someone said, ‘OK,’ and I said, ‘For a price.

Recording finally wrapped in the summer of 1975, and after settling on a typically evocative cover design from legendary artist Storm Thorgerson, the members of Pink Floyd sent their ninth studio LP — titled Wish You Were Here, after a particularly disaffected Gilmour-Waters cowrite — to their label. Scheduled for release on September. 12th, it immediately became one of the most highly anticipated albums of 1975.

Not that Pink Floyd necessarily acted like a band delivering a major piece of product. In fact, their only concession to the promotion machine was a single syndicated live show, recorded at the Los Angeles Sports Arena in the spring of 1975, which was broadcast in an array of major markets ahead of the tour booked to support Wish You Were Here. The sold-out set, which still included “Raving and Drooling” and “You Gotta Be Crazy,” also featured an extended “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” as well as “Have a Cigar,” “Echoes,” and “Dark Side of the Moon” — as well as an expanding roster of special effects that now included expensive and unpredictable pyrotechnics.

In spite of inevitably mixed reviews, Wish You Were Here went on to top the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, and although it couldn’t hope to match the gargantuan sales of Dark Side of the Moon, it enjoyed substantial success in its own right, selling more than six million copies in the U.S. alone. And while the Floyd machine would continue to churn out product on a regular basis in the near future — starting with 1977′s Animals, which included the jettisoned Wish tracks “”Raving and Drooling” and “You Gotta Be Crazy”  the writing was already on the wall for Waters eventual departure from the band. As he pointed out in The Inside Story of Pink Floyd, even the biggest sales figures can’t balance out creative dysfunction.

“The dream,” shrugged Waters, “is that when you are successful, when you’re a star, you’ll be fine, everything will go wonderfully well. That’s the dream — and everybody knows it’s an empty one.”

Pink Floyd at Oakland Coliseum 5/9-10/77 by Randy Tuten & William Bostedt

The 1970’s saw a run of albums released by Pink Floyd  containing songs whose invention, ambition and creativity continues to dazzle and resonate with a global audience by even today standards. The passage of time has done little to diminish the quality of these songs’ and their capacity to astonish, move and enthral.

As one of rock music’s most successful acts, Pink Floyd have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. “Dark Side of the Moon” is third on the list of most albums ever sold, with more than 45 million copies; The Wall sold another 30 million to date—both hit Number 1 on the charts. In all, Pink Floyd have released 14 studio albums, three live albums, three box sets, 26 singles, and 10 music videos. Pink Floyd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and awarded a Grammy in 1995.

Atom Heart Mother Suite (1970) Atom Heart Mother 
Though collaborations between rock bands and orchestras were nothing even in 1970, Floyd’s willfully experimental and typically idiosyncratic approach put them in a field of their own. The title track for their fifth studio album finds Ron Geesin’s bold score for brass, strings and chorus enhancing the surreal and often dream-like quality that so characteristic of this side-long extravaganza.

Echoes (1971) Meddle
With their desire in developing long-form writing well established by 1971, Echoes showcases their refined, consummate grasp of textural detail. From the very first ‘sonar’ ping through to the exultant, radiant climax, via strange alien hinterlands, the piece ripples steadily outwards; a sustained masterclass in controlled tension and triumphant release.

One Of These Days (1971) Meddle
What might otherwise be a nondescript riff is collectively transformed into an elemental howl of rage on this opening track from Meddle. Transposing music concrete techniques onto an unstoppable head-shaking force, torrents of echo-enhanced bass, snarling guitar, propulsive beats and slashing keyboards coalesce into one of most formidable moments in the Pink Floyd canon.

Time (1973) Dark Side Of The Moon
As impressive a piece of musical engineering as the inner workings of the massed clocks which open it. This Dark Side Of The Moon staple sees Gilmour’s impassioned guitar effortlessly falling in slow motion slo-mo into a plangent bed of backing vocals, though it’s Rick Wright’s diffident and unvarnished vocal – ‘hanging on in quiet desperation’ – which deftly steals the show.

Money (1973) Dark Side Of The Moon
Floyd’s affection for experimentation pays off as it seamlessly merges found-sound tape loops with quirky time signatures to fashion this unlikely hit. Dick Parry’s shrill, klaxon-like tenor sax adds another surprising dimension to their palette, but it’s Waters‘ barbed lyric and Gilmour’s exquisitely structured soloing that really hits the jackpot.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1 – 5 (1975) Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd frequently prove dramatic music needn’t be all about fiery grandstanding, and never more so on this emotive two-part epic that bookends Wish You Were Here. Unfolding at a glacial pace, Waters’ meditative lamentation of Syd Barrett’s tragic arc from brilliance to illness smoulders with a fierce, heartfelt intensity. The emotional weight of the tolling four-note motif ushers in one of Gilmour’s more thoughtful excursions.

Wish You Were Here (1975) Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd’s intimate vulnerability remains startling, even at the height of their fame. On the title track of 1975’s Wish You Were, melancholic recognition that something and someone has been irrevocably lost is tempered by the acceptance that time has moved on. Neatly avoiding any showiness, sentimentality or self-pity, this is undoubtedly Pink Floyd at their most poignant.

Sheep (1977) Animals
Emerging from the cosseted glow of Wright’s electric piano, Pink Floyd go for the jugular with their most caustic cut from Animals. Underpinned by Waters‘ glowering bass, Gilmour’s strafing chords graze and bite through Mason’s driving pulse. As the pensive atmosphere bleeds out into the grotesque, distorted psalm, it’s genuinely chilling.

Comfortably Numb (1979) The Wall
Though Waters’ sombre account of an individual’s slide into personal dislocation and isolation is grim and unflinching, Gilmour’s anthemic solo magically transcends the bleak subject matter. Taking on a life of its own in concert, its sonorous tones rally the spirits, articulating the human need to connect with one another.

Waiting For The Worms (1979) The Wall
The unhinged fascistic whine of Roger Waters’ histrionic demagogue brings 1979’s The Wall hurtling towards its chaotic climax. More unsettling however, are the emollient tones voiced by Gilmour – reasonable on the surface, but beneath their respectable veneer just as vile. Juxtaposing sunny harmonies against darker, grinding riffs, Floyd’s brutal, uncompromising psychodrama remains ominously disconcerting.

Ahead of the release of their much-anticipated box set The Early Years 1965 – 1972, Pink Floyd have shared a video for “Grantchester Meadows,” a fingerpicked ode to the English countryside as penned by Roger Waters for the 1969 album Ummagummaa. Pairing old performance footage with contemporary pastoral scenes, the picturesque visual is the definition of bucolic bliss, not to mention the most perfect start to a misty morning.

This special group performance, taped for the BBC, with acoustic guitars and vocals from Roger Waters and David Gilmour, plus additional piano from Richard Wright and taped songbirds, successfully evokes a summer’s day in Grantchester, a small village close to Cambridge, England. Grantchester’s famous former residents include the Edwardian poet Rupert Brooke, who moved there and subsequently wrote a poem of homesickness entitled ‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’. Taken from ‘The Early Years 1965 – 1972’.

The definitive Early Years box set, released 11th November 2016
27 DISC COLLECTION ON CD/DVD/BLU-RAY INCLUDES:

+ Many hours of rare and unreleased music & video
+ 14 Hours of video includes restored footage
+ original 4.0 Quad mixes / BBC sessions/live recordings
+ rare tracks including more than 20 previously unreleased
+ historic TV performances, live concerts and 3 feature films
+ Remixed 5.1 audio for ‘Live At Pompeii’ footage
+ collectable memorabilia
+100+ photos, most previously unseen
+ early singles + B sides on CD & vinyl

* 7 book-style packages, each with multiple discs. 6 are dedicated to a specific period and include related memorabilia and many unseen photos.

* Box bonus package includes collector’s audio and video. Box includes bonus larger replica memorabilia (posters, flyers, etc.) plus 5 x reissued replica 7″ singles, mastered from the original analogue tapes.

ALSO AVAILABLE ON 11TH NOVEMBER 2016:
+ 2-CD/Download/Streaming set – ‘The Early Years – CRE/ATION 1967-1972’

* The 6 year-specific packages will be made available in early 2017. The bonus package and larger memorabilia is exclusive to this box se

Pink Floyd released their historic LP “Dark Side Of The Moon” on March 10th, 1973. It would go on to become the 3rd biggest album ever with over 45 millions sold to date.

In 2013, The Dark Side of the Moon was selected for preservation in the United States National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

It set new standards for recorded music. Happy 43rd Birthday to . It was the Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album The Dark Side of The Moon It remained in the US charts for 741 discontinuous weeks from 1973 to 1988, longer than any other album in history. With an estimated 45 million copies sold, it is Pink Floyd’s most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums worldwide.

No-one in March 1973 could have imagined that an album released in that month would still be thrilling listeners 43 years later, but it’s true.

Pink Floyd, in conjunction with EMI, have undertaken an overhaul of their catalogue, and for the first time, allowed us to see part of their creative process, by compiling a 6-disc box set of ‘Dark Side’ including various multi-channel mixes, much memorabilia and restored screen films from their live show, but, most importantly, a newly-mixed live concert from 1974 and a disc of alternative versions and outtakes.

Generally regarded as Pink Floyd’s masterwork, the qualities of The Dark Side Of The Moon have perhaps been taken for granted in recent years, but a return to it with fresh ears reminds the listener of its strengths. Part of its enduring appeal is the quality of the material, there simply isn’t a bad track on it, with a listening experience greater even than the sum of the parts.

As to its subject matter, Roger Waters said in 2003 that it was “An expression of political, philosophical, humanitarian empathy that was desperate to get out.” He said it was about “all the pressures and difficulties and questions that crop up in one’s life and create anxiety, and the potential you have to solve them or choose the path that you?re going to walk.”

The band initially convened in December 1971 and January 1972 at Decca’s West Hampstead Studios in Broadhurst Gardens, London and then at a warehouse owned by The Rolling Stones at 47 Bermondsey Street, South London. One of the musical elements, to become “Us And Them”, already existed, having begun life as a rejected musical sequence by Richard Wright for Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point. Another, to become Brain Damage, was a piece of Roger Waters‘, created in the writing sessions of the Meddle album in January of that year.

In the pre-Internet age, it wasn’t too commercially suicidal to preview new material before its release, so Floyd were able to knock the album into shape over several months of road work. The first full-length performance was at the Guildhall in Portsmouth, England, on January 21st, 1972, after which almost the entire year was spent with the band performing Dark Side live, interspersed with visits to Abbey Road studios from May onwards to work on individual songs.

With Alan Parsons engineering, the first version of the Dark Side album was mixed in December 1972. On the box set, check out the first mix on CD 6 of The Dark Side Of The Moon, which is quite revealing about the gestation of the final version. Speak To Me as a track was a late addition, the album originally starting only with a backwards piano chord leading straight into Breathe (In The Air). The most obvious change is to The Great Gig In The Sky, which, before the addition of Clare Torry’s vocal performance in January 1973, was comprised mainly of Richard Wright’s organ accompanied by, in concert, taped religious incantations and in the first mix, voices of the Apollo 17 space mission. At the time, it was known as The Mortality Sequence or The Religious Sequence. It shows that all the band’s subsequent decisions on the album were creatively correct, including even the completely redone Travel Sequence, which was replaced by On The Run.

As much of a revelation as the newly-released material and the works in progress is the 1974 live album, compiled from performances at London’s Wembley Empire Pool in November 1974. As opposed to the then-live radio broadcast, mixed by the BBC in real time with an unflattering balance, this sourced the original multitrack tapes and, as mixed by Floyd engineers Andy Jackson and Damon Iddins, shows Floyd at the top of their game, rhythmic, swinging, emotive and punchy. If you can’t afford the box, it’s available as a 2-CD Experience edition alongside the remastered original album.

Perhaps you don’t need a reminder that the album is one of the biggest-selling albums of all time, but it’s not too late to rediscover it. I think you’ll agree that it’s also one of the best.