No posts this weekend, so this one is going up early.
Pink Floyd is a hard band to sum in in three paragraphs. One can make the case that three very different bands have performed under that name: the original band led by Syd Barrett, the later Roger Waters-led effort that produced the band’s most memorable albums, and the post-Waters David Gilmour Pink Floyd which stayed Prog to a great extent but which had a wholly different sound. One funny thing is that pretty much nobody has ever managed to duplicate the sound of any of the three Pink Floyds, and there are those who have tried – Queensryche comes immediately to mind as the most successful attempt – to ape this very influential act.
One of the reasons that Floyd remians so distinct is that they didn’t craft songs so much as whole albums, and consuming radio staples like ‘Money’ or ‘Comfortably Numb’ is a totally different experience than sitting down to listen to The Wall, Wish You Were Here or Dark Side of the Moon in their entirety. The last of these was so successful that it stayed on the sales charts for over fourteen years, and was only removed from that list when the rules changed. To this day, no other album is as thematically cohesive and complete as Dark Side.
The early Floyd albums The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets predate their best known work, but would introduce science-fictional themes in tracks like ‘Astronomy Domine’, ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ and ‘Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun’ that the band would revisit in later years to a lesser extent. Such concepts would be widely adopted by acts as diverse as Blue Oyster Cult and David Bowie, and would launch a movement within Prog that would eventually become an entire branch of its own. Space Rock would be very much the child of Pink Floyd.