Pink Floyd

Greatly Appreciated


Pink Floyd  was an English rock band formed in London that was founded in 1965 by students Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright.  David Gilmour joined as a fifth member in December 1967.  Waters became the band’s primary lyricist and, by the mid-1970’s, their dominant songwriter, devising the concepts behind their critically and commercially successful albums The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), The Wall (1979), and The Final Cut (1983).  By 2013, the band had sold more than 250 million records worldwide.  (More from Wikipedia)
Long before Andy Colquhoun joined up, the Deviants were one of the leading “underground rock” bands; their 1967 album Ptooff! is a classic in that little known genre.  The band sprang up in the British psychedelic melange that spawned Pink FloydTomorrow, Hawkwind, and several other like-minded bands; the epicenter for the scene was the UFO Club (pronounced “oo-foe” in an interview of Mick Farren at the club that is on one of their CD’s).
(August 2011)
*       *       *
Some great music came out of that era, without a doubt.  One of the great voices in soul musicLou Rawls had his biggest hit song with the disco-flavored “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine”.  He was hardly the only 1970’s artist to retool their sound to a disco feel:  The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Diana RossBlondieand even Pink Floyd are examples, but no one made it bigger than the Bee Gees in their Saturday Night Fever heyday. 
 (March 2012)
*       *       *
Pink Floyd’s debut LP The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is worth about twice as much in mono as in stereo, because the original UK release was only in mono, and it was mixed differently from the stereo albums.  I had a chance to buy Piper for 99 cents at the Record Bar in Raleigh and didn’t get it – can’t win them all!  I did pick up a copy later; and, of course, it went through Hurricane Katrina.  The album looks a little like a Pringle’s potato chip now; but amazingly, it still plays almost perfectly, except for a little warble on “See Emily Play”. 
 (April 2012)
*       *       *
Basically, all I remember about the 1980’s band Steel Breeze is their name; the name is taken from a lyric in a Pink Floyd song, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”.  (The song and the album from which it is taken, Wish You Were Here are dedicated to their troubled original bandleader Syd Barrett).  I remember an interview with Steel Breeze one time (it must have been on MTV) where they were asked about their name; and they rather sheepishly said that they were really enamored with Pink Floyd at the time, making it clear that by then, they wish they had chosen another name. 
(July 2012)
*       *       *
Even progressive rock bands whose albums sold well from the beginning often didn’t reach their creative peak for awhile.  The magnum opus for Emerson, Lake and Palmer, “Karn Evil 9 was on their fifth album, Brain Salad Surgery.  Jethro Tull’s classic album Aqualung was their fourth album.  This also applies for several rock bands of the same time period that do not truly fit the progressive rock category.  It was Queen’s fourth album, A Night at the Opera that included their unforgettable “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  Canadian hard rockers Rush came up with 2112 as their fourth album (that title is exactly 100 years from now, as it happens).  The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd’s space-rock masterpiece that took up near permanent residency on the Billboard album charts – was the band’s eighth album.  With Trillion though, the band was never given the opportunity to develop an audience or to refine their sound. 
Without question, Patrick Leonard is the most prominent ex-bandmember of Trillion and is primarily known as a keyboard player, producer and songwriter in the early part of Madonna’s career.  He also produced an album by former Pink Floyd front man Roger WatersAmused to Death (1992).  Patrick Leonard also co-wrote – with David Gilmour – one of the songs from the Pink Floyd album (their first without Roger Waters), A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987).  
(October 2012)
*       *       *
In 1966, the Farfisa Organ was even more prominent in the hit song “Double Shot (of My Baby’s Love)” by the Swingin’ Medallions (who were from South Carolina).  That lovely organ that you hear in Percy Sledge’s immortal 1966 hit “When a Man Loves a Woman” is a Farfisa, and Sly Stone of Sly and the Family Stone was playing one at his landmark Woodstock performance in 1969.  Richard Wrights Farfisa Organ was a key element on many of the early Pink Floyd albums, particularly The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Ummagumma, but also including The Dark Side of the Moon.  Elton John was able to get a different sound entirely from a Farfisa Organ on his hit “Crocodile Rock”. 
(December 2012)
*       *       *
The Skywalkers learned about the 1960’s music scene through early Pink Floyd albums and the Soft Machine, and no doubt the rich musical heritage in their home country.  Their musical vision was to fuse garage and psychedelic music together, but always with a pop sensibility; as they put it in the interview:  “We like psychedelic music but it has to have a pop character as well.  Think of bands like the Electric Prunes, Love and Strawberry Alarm ClockTomorrow.  Our favorite years in music are 1966 and 1967, where garage and psychedelic music just came together.  Our favourite subgenre is Baroque Pop with artists like Billy NichollsSagittariusthe Millenniumand of course the Zombies.”  I would add to that list a rather under-appreciated American band called the Left Banke, who had a lovely hit song in 1967, “Walk Away Renee”. 
The charming liner notes are entitled “The Skywalkers ABC”, and it still took me a while to realize that they were in alphabetical order.  It wasn’t just a list of “thank you’s” either; they included some commentary with their influences.  They include a lot of familiar bands and artists (at least to me) – Brian Wilson (“for his amazing ballads”), the Electric Prunes (“they got us to the world on time”), Syd Barrett (“for leading us into the sixties”), the Zombies (“the greatest ever”), Q65 (“and other Dutch freakbeat groups”) – but others that I don’t know at all, like Ola & the Janglers and Jan Breimer.  Their “X” item was “Careful with that X, Eugene!”, a take-off on an early Pink Floyd hit, “Careful with that Axe, Eugene”.  But the list started with Aliens (“what’s taking them so long”) and also includes the Monkey (“[Jacco Gardner]’s favorite dance move”), the Twist (“[Hugo van de Poel]’s favorite dance move”), their photographer Luuk Muller (“for making us look good”), their organ brand Philicorda (“the greatest instrument around”), the Universe (“the greatest place around”), and “You, for buying this record”. 
Since Year One came out, Jacco Gardner has been busy.  He has released several more singles and has a lot of YouTube videos in a somewhat different direction than his work with the Skywalkers.  The online Quip magazine has this description:  “His echo-washed sound recalls the psychedelic and lushly orchestral vibe of the Beatles’ Revolver or Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd, interspersed with the peppy, sardonic jabs of more modern fare like the Shins.” 
(January 2013)
*       *       *

The concert event The Wall – Live in Berlin, a July 1990 performance of the 1980 Pink Floyd album The Wall took place at the site of the Berlin Wall that had come down eight months previously.  The concert was organized by Roger Waters, who had been the frontman for the band during their hitmaking period in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, though he left Pink Floyd in 1985 over creative differences and attempted to prevent the other bandmembers from continuing to use the name (they settled out of court in 1987). 


Roger Waters had said during an interview in July 1989 that the only way he would perform The Wall live again was “if the Berlin Wall came down” – and four months later, it did.  Attendance at the concert site itself was a record-breaking 450,000, and it was also broadcast live worldwide.  Scorpions opened the concert with “In the Flesh” and also performed on three other songs.  Guest artists included Cyndi LauperMarianne FaithfullThomas DolbySinéad O’ConnorJoni MitchellVan MorrisonBryan Adams, and Levon Helm and Garth Hudson of the Band.  Tim CurryAlbert FinneyUte Lemperand Jerry Hall are actors who also performed, mostly during “the Trial” sequence toward the end.  As the concert was performed, a gigantic wall (550 feet long and 82 feet high) that appeared to be made of large styrofoam blocks was completed; at the end of the trial, the judge declared:  “Tear down the Wall!”, and the wall was pushed over, row by row. 


*       *       *


Meic Stevens is a national hero in Wales who began writing and recording songs in 1967 in the Welsh language in an attempt to create a body of pop music for the nation.  He is often referred to as “the Welsh Dylan” and is also compared with Syd Barrett, the original frontman for Pink Floyd and the mastermind behind their debut album and one of the great albums of British rock, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.  


(April 2013)


*       *       *


I have had the idea for a “might-have-been” post about rock and roll for most of the year; this is a mistake that I will not make again, I assure you!  I had no conception that the post would be this gargantuan when I started out, and this is likely due in no small part to having thought it through for several months.  There are several other examples that I had intended to include – the troubled life of the original frontman for Pink FloydSyd Barrett, and the San Francisco psychedelic band It’s a Beautiful Day that had a gorgeous hit in 1969, “White Bird” – plus others that have no doubt slipped my mind.  In the future, when I have a lot to say about a particular rocker, I will take them one at a time – as I did with the long discussion on Link Wray’s classic instrumental Rumble in the UARB post on Link Protrudi & the Jaymen.  


(June 2013/2)


*       *       *


The Klubs returned to Liverpool and took part in the Kaleidoscope ’68 festival there alongside big names like Pink Floyd and the Move (a leading 1960’s British band that took the name the Electric Light Orchestra in 1972).  According to an article in the Liverpool Echo, however, the Klubs “stole the whole show . . . with painted faces and setting off fireworks that stunned the whole audience”.  The response was so overwhelming that the Klubs were brought back for a second appearance the next day. 


(July 2013)


*       *       *


All I knew about Vera Lynn, an enormously popular English singer during World War II was the reference to her in the song “Vera” from the 1979 Pink Floyd album, The Wall.  Thus, I was astounded (along with the rest of the world, I think including Vera Lynn herself) when a retrospective of her work that was released in 2009We’ll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn reached the top of the British charts.  At age 92, she is the oldest person ever to achieve that feat in Great Britain


(October 2013)


*       *       *


The manager of Chimera (and possibly the producer for at least some of the recording sessions) is none other than Nick Mason, the drummer for Pink Floyd and the only bandmember who has appeared on all of the PF albums.  Mason also sat in as drummer on “The Grail.  His bandmate in Pink FloydRichard Wright played keyboards on “Lady with Bullets in Her Hair”.  Even one of Pink Floyd’s roadies, Alan Styles played saxophone on one track.  Francesca Garnett and Lisa Bankoff had boldly gone backstage at a music festival where Pink Floyd was performing, introducing themselves to Nick Mason and telling him that they were songwriters. 


(November 2013)


*       *       *


Mick Farren’s early writing was for one of the first underground newspapers, International Times (later called IT after threats of litigation by The Times of London); he wrote articles for the newspaper and also edited IT for a period of time.  The newspaper was founded in November 1966 and was a mixture of rock music promotion, polemical journalism, and scandalous humor.  The London police repeatedly raided the newspaper’s office in an attempt to shut them down; IT responded by hosting a benefit rock concert called The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream in April 1967 featuring Pink Floydthe Pretty ThingsSavoy Brownthe Crazy World of Arthur BrownSoft Machine, and the Move.


On two of his albums, there is a short interview with Mick Farren at the UFO Club, a legendary London scene where some of the earliest psychedelic rock bands like Pink Floyd and Soft Machine held court; it was only open for about a year in 1966-1967.  In the interview, Farren basically states that he is not a Marxist – he is simply stating that the society isn’t working, and that he is trying to create a world where “people can freely enjoy themselves”, but adds that “that is where the trouble started”. 

*       *       *

Allmusic states the musical and historical importance of Ptooff! well in their entry by Dave Thompson:  “Talk today about Britain’s psychedelic psyxties, and it’s the light whimsy of Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd, the gentle introspection of the Village Green Kinks, Sgt. Pepperand ‘My White Bicycle [by Tomorrow] which hog the headlines.  People have forgotten there was an underbelly as well, a seething mass of discontent and rancor which would eventually produce the likes of Hawkwind, the Pink Fairies, and the Edgar Broughton Band. . . .


“But the deranged psilocybic rewrite of ‘Gloria’ which opens the album, ‘I’m Coming Home’, still sets a frightening scene, a world in which Top 40 pop itself is horribly skewed, and the sound of the Deviants grinding out their misshapen R&B classics is the last sound you will hear.  Move on to ‘Garbage’, and though the Deviants’ debt to both period [Frank] Zappa and [the] Fugs is unmistakable, still there’s a purity to the paranoia.


Ptooff! was conceived at a time when there genuinely was a generation gap, and hippies were a legitimate target for any right-wing bully boy with a policeman’s hat and a truncheon.  IT and Oz, the two underground magazines which did most to support the Deviants ([Mick] Farren wrote for both), were both publicly busted during the band’s lifespan, and that fear permeates this disc; fear, and vicious defiance.”


*       *       *


Standout songs on Think Pink include “Ten Thousand Words in a Cardboard Box”, “The Coming of the Other One” and “The Sparrow Is a Sign.  Dean McFarlane in his Allmusic review also gives Think Pink four stars and writes:  “Think Pink is an incredibly varied album with no two songs resembling each other, but then one assumes an acid masterpiece like ‘Ten Thousand Words in a Cardboard Box’ will stay on high rotation for at least a week on the stereos of most psychedelia fans, so overall album flow may not be such an issue.  This is pure psychedelic acid rock of the highest order.  If one can imagine a fusion of the Incredible String BandDeviantsearly Pink Floydand a fair dose of Twinkheredity as a member of Tomorrow and the Pretty Things, you get an idea of what he was up to.  Not known for doing things in halves, he shows little restraint in the assembly of a group designed to tear the roof off the psychedelic scene.”

(March 2014/1)
*       *       *

While they never quite reached those heights again, their later albums explored Gordon Ganos upbringing as the son of a Baptist minister.  James Christopher Monger writes in Allmusic of their second album (released in 1984):  “After the surprise success of their landmark debut, Violent Femmes could have just released another collection of teen-rage punk songs disguised as folk, and coasted into the modern rock spotlight alongside contemporaries like the Modern Lovers and Talking Heads.  Instead they made Hallowed Ground, a hellfire-and-brimstone-beaten exorcism that both enraged and enthralled critics and fans alike.  Like Roger Waters purging himself of the memories of his father’s death through [the Pink Floyd albums] The Wall and The Final Cut, bandleader Gordon Gano uses the record to expel his love/hate relationship with religion, and the results are alternately breathtaking and terrifying.”  


(November 2014)


*       *       *


Jack Irons left Eleven after their second album to play drums for Pearl Jam but later returned to the band.  Both Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider were involved in Jack Irons’ solo album, Attention Dimension (2004); Shneider played electric bass and piano on “Hearing it Doubled” and keyboards on Jack Irons’ cover of the Pink Floyd song “Shine on, You Crazy Diamond”. 


(April 2015/1)


*       *       *


Before Amanda Jones was formed, Amanda Brix and fellow Lame Flame Iris Berry started a band called Pink Sabbath.  A website called says that they are not a Pink Floyd or Black Sabbath cover band; that might be true of another band called Pink Sabbath that is still active.  
(December 2015)
*       *       *
People bought more albums in the 1970’s than at any time before or since. For what it’s worth, 6 of the 10 biggest selling albums of all time were released during the 1970’s – in order, they are The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd; Bat out of Hell by Meat Loaf; Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) by the Eagles; the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack (featuring the Bee Gees and others); Rumours by Fleetwood Mac; and Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin. However you might feel about these chestnuts, it is hard to imagine a more varied group of albums. Thriller by Michael Jackson (1983) remains Number One, but I was certainly surprised to see Back in Black (1980) by AC/DC in second place.
(December 2016)
* * *
Mike Stax’s exhaustively researched article over four issues in Ugly Things on the Misunderstood led to the publication of a book on the band called Like, Misunderstood that was co-written with the band’s lead singer Rick Brown; as quoted in the Union Tribune article, Stax says:  “They came pretty close to making it in London, they got a deal with Fontana Records, had a single out and had media (coverage).  Then, the [U.S. military] draft claimed the lead singer, and they were finished overnight, just as they were on the verge of success.  They would have been the first psychedelic band, with an album out before before [Jimi] Hendrix and Pink Floyd.  They were cheated.  Their music was world-class.” 
(September 2017)
*       *       *
Arnold Layne” b/w “Candy and a Currant Bun” is the first single by Pink Floyd (from 1967), with both sides being written by Syd Barrett.  The SS-20 version of Arnold Layne was recorded especially for a Syd Barrett tribute album, Beyond the Wildwood (1987), and it also appears on the second album by SS-20Son of Fantasy (1987), where the lead vocalist’s name is shown as Madeleine Ridgey.
(December 2017)
Last edited: April 7, 2021